Brooke Rollins, the director of Lehigh’s First-Year Writing Program, is a rhetoric scholar whose research reimagines some of the rhetorical tradition’s founding and signature texts from contemporary critical perspectives.
Her book, The Ethics of Persuasion: Derrida’s Rhetorical Legacies (Ohio State University Press, 2020), challenges traditional thinking about classical rhetoric as primarily a utilitarian art that was taught and practiced for the purposes of influencing others. In it, she brings the thought of philosopher Jacques Derrida to some of rhetoric’s most esteemed historical texts (by the Sophists, Plato, and Aristotle) in order to tease out an ethical imperative that has traditionally been subsumed by a focus on rhetoric’s persuasive utility.
She is currently writing a manuscript on rhetorical accounts of wagering and gambling, such as J. L. Austin’s frequent use of the phrase “I bet” in How to Do Things with Words and Blaise Pascal’s famed “Wager” in Pensées. In this project, she argues that these theoretical accounts of gambling highlight the elements of risk and futurity inherent to rhetorical theory and practice.
Professor Rollins teaches courses in Rhetoric & Social Justice, The Rhetoric of Humor, Issues in the Teaching of Writing, and Advanced and First-Year Writing.