Broadly, I teach and do research in rhetoric and social justice, critical race studies/anti-racism efforts, social and cultural approaches to emerging technology (especially artificial intelligence), religious rhetoric, participatory ethnographic research/documentary methods, research ethics, and rhetorical theory.

This project, not currently under review, analyzes popular YouTube videos to explore the question: how much do different people feel represented by today's voice-driven AI?

Will Penman presenting a 3 minute version of his thesis

My dissertation was a three-year participatory study about white people's anti-racism efforts in the mid-size city of "Splitsville." It documents a rhetorical process of responsive anti-racist engagement and explores three practices that people in the project used to support this process. The dissertation contributes to conversations in rhetorical theory, the study of race and racism, and participatory critical rhetoric. Read the complete dissertation. Since finishing the dissertation, I've adapted these ideas for other groups of people. If you're interested or want to read more, get in touch.

Recent publications include An emerging AI mainstream: Deepening our comparisons of AI frameworks through rhetorical analysis, with my former student Epi Torres, in AI & Society, as well as It is in giving that we receive: Adapting Christian liturgy for antiracist rhetorical work, in the Journal of Communication and Religion. I've also published in Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric on How people make sense of Trump and why it matters for racial justice and Quarterly Journal of Speech from Chapter 8 of my dissertation, A rhetorical, field-based critique of ethical accountability.

Explore videos of presentations I've given at RSA, NCA, CCCC, and other conferences.

As part of my desire to draw people into my research projects and make a significant social impact, I've created several open web projects, including a collaborative grant-funded infographic on 4 tips for project-based learning with teens.