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Nathan Crick

Master's Program Coordinator
Areas of Speciality
  • Humanities & Critical/Cultural Studies
  • Rhetoric and Public Affairs
  • BLTN 209A
Professional Links


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Dr. Crick studies the role of rhetoric in the dynamic relationship between permanence and change. Drawing from knowledge of classical, pragmatic, and continental philosophy, he investigates the rhetorical character of the arts, the sciences, religion, and journalism within specific moments of history characterized by disruptions in the structures of power.  



A native of Massachusetts, Dr. Crick studied environmental science and journalism at UMass before working as a journalist in upper state New York and then a science museum educator in Portland, Oregon. After earning his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, he taught for seven years at LSU before joining Texas A&M in 2013. His early work explored the rhetorical character of American pragmatism and the work of John Dewey, focusing specifically on how a rhetoric informed by the aesthetics, logic, and ethics of pragmatism can enrich democratic practice. Subsequent reading of history led to more specialized works that explored the relationship between rhetoric and power in Classical Greek thought, American Transcendentalism, and the periods of the Italian and Irish Renaissances. These historical inquiries inspired an expanded interest in media ecology, social movements, the rise of fascism, the methods of propaganda, and the practice of democratic pedagogy and self-making. Recent work has explored the contemporary relevance of Machiavelli to modern politics and the rhetorical challenges presented by climate change and technology. Dr. Crick also regularly leads study abroad trips to Italy and Ireland to help students develop a global consciousness and an appreciation for diverse cultures.

Courses Taught

COMM 203: Public Speaking (Honors)
COMM 257: Communication, Religion, and the Arts

COMM 301: Rhetoric in Western Thought
COMM 431: The Rhetoric of Social Movements
COMM 434: Topics in Rhetorical Theory: Rhetoric and Power

COMM 438: Propaganda
COMM 440: Political Communication

COMM 654: Classical Rhetoric (graduate level)
COMM 655: Contemporary Rhetorical Theory (graduate level)

COMM 659: Communication and Citizenship in the Public Sphere (graduate level)

Representative Publications


Crick, Nathan, Editor. The Rhetoric of Fascism. Tuscaloosa: Alabama University Press, 2022.

Fascism has resurfaced as one of the most pressing problems of our time. No longer just confined to the state regimes of the past, fascism thrives today as a globally self-augmenting, self-propagating rhetorical phenomena with a variety of faces and expressions. The Rhetoric of Fascism defines and interprets the common persuasive devices that characterize fascist discourse to understand the nature of its enduring appeal.  By approaching fascism from a rhetorical perspective, this volume complements established political or sociological understandings of fascism as a movement or regime.


Crick, Nathan, Editor. The Rhetoric of Social Movements: Networks, Power, and New Media. New York: Routledge, 2020.

This collection provides an accessible yet rigorous survey of the rhetorical study of historical and contemporary social movements and promotes the study of relations between strategy, symbolic action, and social assemblage. Chapters address the rhetorical tactics that social movements use to gain attention and challenge power; the centrality of traditional and new media in social movements; the operations of power in movement organization, leadership, and local and global networking; and emerging contents and environments for social movements in the twenty-first century. 

Crick, Nathan. Dewey for a New Age of Fascism: Teaching Democratic Habits. State College, PA: Pennsylvania University Press, 2019.

During the rise of fascism in the early twentieth century, American philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey argued that the greatest threat to democracy was not a political regime or even an aggressive foreign power but rather a set of dispositions or attitudes. Though not fascist in and of themselves, these habits of thought—rugged individualism and ideological nationalism—lay the foundation for fascism. In this study, Nathan Crick uses Dewey’s social thought and philosophy of education to provide insight into and resources for transforming our present-day politics.


Crick, Nathan. The Keys of Power: The Rhetoric and Politics of Transcendentalism. Columbia, SC. University of South Carolina Press, 2017.

The Keys of Power crafts a new critical rhetorical history of American Transcendentalists that interprets a selection of their major works between the years 1821 and 1852 as political and ethical responses to the growing crises of their times In The Keys of Power, Crick argues that one of the most enduring legacies of the Transcendentalist movement is the multifaceted understanding of transcendental eloquence as a distinct rhetorical genre concerned primarily and self-consciously with questions of power.


Crick, Nathan. Rhetoric and Power: The Drama of Classical Greece. Columbia, SC. University of South Carolina Press, 2014.

Rhetoric and Power dramatizes the history of rhetoric by explaining its origin and development in classical Greece beginning with the oral displays of Homeric eloquence in a time of kings, following its ascent to power during the age of Pericles and the Sophists, and ending with its transformation into a rational discipline with Aristotle in a time of literacy and empire. Crick advances the thesis that rhetoric is primarily a medium and artistry of power, but that the relationship between rhetoric and power at any point in time is a produce of historical conditions, not the least of which is the development and availability of communication media.


Crick, Nathan. Democracy and Rhetoric: John Dewey on the Arts of Becoming. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2010.

Democracy and Rhetoric articulates from John Dewey’s body of work a philosophy of rhetoric that reveals the necessity for bringing forth a democratic life infused with the spirit of ethics, a method of inquiry, and a sense of beauty. In his rhetorical reading of Dewey, Crick examines the sophistical underpinnings of Dewey’s philosophy and finds it much more informed by notions of radical individuality, aesthetic experience, creative intelligence, and persuasive advocacy as essential to the formation of communities of judgement.


Crick, Nathan. Rhetorical Public Speaking: Civic Engagement in the Digital Age. Routledge, 3rd Edition.

Rhetorical Public Speaking offers students an innovative approach to public speaking by employing the rhetorical canon as a means of constructing artful speech in a multi-mediated environment. It provides a foundation to guide students in understanding, constructing, and delivering messages that address matters of public concern. This edition features contemporary as well as historical examples to highlight key concepts and show how rhetoric works in practice. Each chapter includes speech excerpts, summaries, and exercises for review and retention. Students of public speaking are encouraged to employ their new skills as engaged citizens of society.