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Robert Rowland

Primary office:
Office: 116D Bailey Hall


Dr. Rowland's major teaching and research interests are in rhetorical criticism, argumentation, and the public sphere. Dr. Rowland and his debate colleague were the 1976 National Debate Champions for KU. He is a former director of forensics at KU and at Baylor University. Dr. Rowland received the Louise Byrd Award for Graduate Teaching at the Doctoral Hooding ceremony May 2000. He also is a recipient of the William T. Kemper Teaching Fellowship and the Bernard Fink Award for outstanding teaching, and is a two-time HOPE Award finalist. He also has received an Outstanding Service Award from the Kansas Bar Association based on his work in Continuing Legal Education on legal advocacy. In November 2006, he was honored by the National Communication Association with the Donald H. Ecroyd Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education.   The same organization honored him in 2011 with the Douglas W. Ehninger Rhetorical Scholar Award.  He is one of two people in the discipline to be honored with lifetime awards for scholarship and teaching.   His co-authored book with David Frank, Shared Land/Conflicting Identity (Michigan State University Press) in 2002 was honored in 2003 with the Kohrs-Campbell prize in rhetorical criticism. A recent survey of journals ranked him among the fifty most published scholars in the discipline.

Selected Publications

Recent Publications

“The First 2012 Presidential Campaign Debate:  The Decline of Reason in Presidential Debates,”  Communication Studies, 64 (2013), 528-547. 

“The Rhetorical Constraints Limiting President Obama’s Domestic Policy Advocacy,” in The Making of Barack Obama:  The Politics of Persuasion, Eds.  Matthew Abraham and Erec Smith (Anderson, SC: Parlor Press, 2013), 17-51.

“Situated Ideological Allegory and Battlestar Galactica,” Western Journal of Communication, 76 (2012): 536-551, second author with Mike Milford

 “Spheres of Argument: 30 Years of Influence,” Argumentation and Advocacy, 48 (Spring 2012), 195-197.

“Pragmatic Reason and Brain Science,” Argumentation and Advocacy, 48 (Winter 2012), 181-183.

" Reagan at Westminster:  Foreshadowing the End of the Cold War", first author with John Jones, College Station, Texas A & M University Press, 2010.

“Barack Obama and the Revitalization of Public Reason,” Rhetoric and Public Affairs, 14 (2011): 693-725.

“One Dream:  Barack Obama, Race, and the American Dream,” Rhetoric and Public Affairs, 14 (2011):  125-154, first author with John Jones.
“Mythic Rhetoric and Rectification in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,”   Communication Studies, 62 (2011): 41-57.

“The Fierce Urgency of Now” Barack Obama and the 2008 Presidential Election,” American Behavioral Scientist. 54 (2010):  203-221.

"Menachem Begin and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” in Encyclopedia of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Ed. Cheryl A. Rubenberg (Boulder:  Lynne Rienner, 2010): 175-177.

“Standards for Tenure and Promotion in Debate,” in Navigating Opportunity:  Policy Debate in the 21st Century, ed. Allan D. Louden (New York:  International Debate Education Association, 2010):  67-92, first author with R. Jarrod Atchison, Derek Buescher and the members of the Working Group Report on Tenure and Promotion.

“The Enlightenment Roots of Obama’s New Politics,” in The Functions of Argument and Social Context:  Selected Papers from the 16th Biennial Conference on Argumentation, Ed Dennis S. Gouran (Washington, NCA, 2010), 426-432.

Research in Progress

“Conflicting Rhetorical Trajectories in Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address,” second author with John Jones, submitted to Presidential Studies Quarterly.

“Dueling Visions of Israel and the World:  Netanyahu and Obama at AIPAC,” under review for a book on Israeli/Palestinian rhetoric.

 “Health Care Reform and the Status of the Public Sphere,” in press in International Society for the Study of Argument (ISSA)  proceedings.

Obama’s Three Gifts:  The Rhetorical Education of Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Campaign, a draft book on the rhetoric of the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.

“Purpose, Evidence, and Pedagogy in Rhetorical Criticism,” in press in Rhetorics and Effects: Past, Present and Future, Amos Kiewe and Davis Houck, eds., University of South Carolina Press. 

 “Reagan and the Evil Empire,” with John Jones, submitted  as a book chapter for a Michigan State University Press book on the Reagan presidency.


Hall Center for the Humanities Lecture Series ,"From Hope to Audacity: The Evolution of President Barack Obama's Rhetoric and the 2012 Presidential Campaign" (October 2012)

Dole Institute of Politics Lecture, "Reagan at Westminster"



Reagan's Centennial Lecture on Reagan's Rhetorical Legacy (USC) February, 2011









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