Dave Tell

Primary office:
Office: 116M Bailey Hall


Dr. Tell's work focuses on the intersections of rhetorical theory and cultural politics. His 2012 book Confessional Crises: Confession and Cultural Politics in Twentieth-Century America (Penn State Press) explains how the genre of confession has shaped (and been shaped by) some of the twentieth century's most intractable issues: sexuality, class, race, violence, religion, and democracy. Dr. Tell teaches undergraduate courses in the history and theory of rhetoric and in American public discourse. At the graduate level, Dr. Tell offers courses in contemporary theory, the latter thought of Michel Foucault (1969-1984), rhetoric and spatial theory, public sphere theory, and public address. His work has been published in a number of national journals, including the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Philosophy and Rhetoric, Communication Studies,and Rhetorica.

Selected Publications

Recent Publications

  • Tell, Dave. Confessional Crises: Confession and Cultural Politics in Twentieth-Century America (State College: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012): under contract.
  • Tell, Dave. “Burke and Jameson: Reflections on Language, Ideology, and Criticism.” In Burke in the Archives: Using the Past to Transform the Future of Burkean Studies, eds. Jessica Enoch and Dana Anderson (Columbia: The University of South Carolina Press), forthcoming.
  • Tell, Dave. “Rhetoric and Power: An Inquiry Into Foucault’s Critique of Confession.” Philosophy & Rhetoric 43.2 (Spring 2010): 95-117. Lead Article
  • Tell, Dave. “Augustine and the ‘Chair of Lies’: Rhetoric in The Confessions.” Rhetorica 28.4 (2010): 384-407.
  • Tell, Dave. “Stanton’s ‘Solitude of Self’ as Public Confession.” Communication Studies 61.2 (April-June 2010): 172-183.
  • Tell, David. “Rousseau, Rhetoric, and the Promise of Contractual Politics.” In The Responsibilities of Rhetoric, eds. Michelle Smith and Barbara Warnick (Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 2010), 25-36.

Ongoing Research

  • Foucault
  • Confession
  • Contemporary theory
  • Rhetorics of space/place

KU Today
Departmental Awards

Communication Studies Department Awarded Inaugural Chancellor's Doctoral Fellowship!
More Info

Scenes from the MLK Day March Across Campus and Musical Celebration that took place today. @KUprovost @KUCollegehttps://t.co/BjnVFgjqcs

Home to 50+ departments, centers, and programs, the School of the Arts, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration
KU offers courses in 40 languages
No. 1 ranking in city management and urban policy —U.S. News and World Report
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times