Professor Phyllis Ryder
Associate Professor of Writing
MVC ACAD 111 |(202)242-6667| firstname.lastname@example.org
Phyllis Mentzell Ryder was born in Ouagadougou, Burkina Fasso, and spent most of her childhood in Indonesia. Her parents’ work on social issues, such as public health and population control, taught her about the power of words to effect change. After first earning two master’s degrees in poetry (where she tried to invoke the world that is just out of reach for ordinary prose), she switched to the study of rhetoric, to better understand the power of persuasion, the power to name the world in which we live. She earned her Ph.D. in 1997 from the University of Arizona's program in Rhetoric Composition and the Teaching of English.
Dr. Ryder teaches service-learning courses at GW, in which students partner with local nonprofits. Comparing the writing expectations of academics, public intellectuals, and public activists, she argues, is a valuable strategy for helping writers recognize the power of their writing to invoke the worlds they wish to engage.
She asks students to consider seriously their ethical responsibilities as writers in a multicultural world. Currently, she and her students examine how local community organizations promote civic participation: what does it take to motivate people to work together for change? What forces enable and constrain this work?
Out of her experiences teaching writing for social change, Dr. Ryder wrote a book, Rhetorics for Community Action: Public Writing and Writing Publics (2011). In it she provides a theory of the rhetorics of democracy. Drawing on examples from local DC community organizations, she illustrates the vital moves of public-making: creating a sense of urgency and capacity, within a shared understanding of what the world is and what it should be.
Ph.D., U of Arizona
M.F.A., U of Arizona
MA, Johns Hopkins University
B.A., Goucher College
Rhetorics for Community Action: Public Writing and Writing Publics. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2011.
“Public 2.0: Social Networking, Nonprofits, and the Rhetorical Work of Public-Making” Reflections 9.3 Fall 2010 (accepted for special issue on Civic Engagement and Technology).
”The timing of the research question: First-year writing faculty and instruction librarians' differing perspectives” with Jennifer Nutefall. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 10.3 (July 2010).
“The Serendipitous Research Process” with Jennifer Nutefall. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 36.3. (May 2010): 228-234.
“Rhetorical Publics: Beyond Clarity and Efficiency” Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture 6.1 (2008 ) [Electronic Journal]
“Multicultural Public Spheres and the Rhetorics of Democracy” JAC: Rhetoric, Writing, Culture, Politics 27.3/4 ( 2007): 505-538.
“In(ter)ventions of Global Democracy: An Analysis of the Rhetorics of the A-16 World Bank/IMF Protests in Washington, DC” Rhetoric Review 25.4 (Fall 2006): 408-426.
SELECTED CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
“Publicity and Public-ation: The Marketting of Nonprofits” (working title) Invited keynote speaker at Composition Speaker Series, Virginia Tech University, March 2011
“RefWorks as Pedagogy: Modeling Research as Scholarly Conversation” with Bill Gillis, Submitted for Georgia Info Literacy, Savannah GA October 2010
“Public 2.0: Social Networking, Nonprofits, and the Rhetorical Work of Public-Making," Conference of College Composition and Communication, Louisville, March 2010
“ Sustainable Programs in the Era of Flexibility: A New Writing Program at George Washington University," Conference of College Composition and Communication, San Francisco, March 2009.
--Writing Program Administrators
-- College Composition and Communication
--American Association of University Women
Public writing, rhetorics of democracy, rhetorics of social action and protest, service-learning, information literacy, critical pedagogy