Hey there. I’m an Associate Professor of technical and scientific writing in the school of Writing, Literature, and Film at Oregon State University where I teach courses in a range of topics, including technical writing, science and environmental writing, the teaching of writing, graduate STEM writing, and rhetoric theory. I have a PhD in rhetoric and composition, with a focus in technical writing, from Purdue University, an MA from Case Western Reserve University, and a BSE from Slippery Rock University. I’m originally from Pittsburgh, PA, but now call Corvallis, OR home. I like biking, being in nature, baking bread, drinking beer, and petrichor.
Most of my research involves rhetorical theory in some form, and these days I’m focusing on environmental concerns, representations of scientific research, and environmental risk and communication. My second book, Geoengineering, Persuasion & the Climate Crisis: A Geologic Rhetoric has recently come out from The University of Alabama Press. It exposes the deeply worrying state of discourse over geoengineering—the intentional manipulation of the earth’s climate as means to halt or reverse global warming. These climate-altering projects, which range from cloud-whitening to carbon dioxide removal and from stratospheric aerosol injection to enhanced weathering, are all technological solutions to more complex geosocial problems. This approach to geo engineering has also led me to reconsider how my own field of technical and professional communication has had a long, complex, and not-always beneficial relationship to risk and how risk has been unfairly placed upon vulnerable people and ecosystems.
My first book, Communicating Mobility and Technology: A Material Rhetoric for Persuasive Transportation, came out in 2017 through Routledge and won the 2018 CCCC best book in technical or scientific communication. Applying kinaesthetic rhetoric, a rhetoric that is sensitive to and developed from the mobile, material context of these technologies, this work illuminates how mobility technologies have always been persuasive wherever and whenever linguistic symbol systems and material interactions enroll us, often unconsciously, into regimes of movement and ways of experiencing the world. In it, I tried to describe how many of the interfaces, infrastructures, and bodily experiences we have via transportation are persuasive. It also describes how with a more kinaesthetic rhetorical frame for mobility, we can design better transportation futures.
I’ve also published research in technical communication and rhetoric journals including Technical Communication Quarterly, the Journal of Business and Technical Communication, the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Communication Design Quarterly, Technical Communication, Rhetoric Review, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Written Communication, College English, the Journal of Science Communication, and a few others. Recently, I’ve tried to emphasize researching and publishing with graduate students, both those in OSU’s Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture MA and the Environmental Arts and Humanities MA. You can find more information about my teaching, research, and service here and can contact me at ehren [dot] pflugfelder [at] oregonstate.edu.