Prof. Lisa BlankenshipLisa Blankenship



Location: VC 7-245
Phone: (646) 312-3920

Lisa Blankenship joined the faculty at Baruch in the fall of 2014 after receiving her Ph.D. in English (Rhetoric and Composition) from Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. Her scholarly interests center on rhetorical theory, public sphere rhetoric, rhetorical ethics, and digital rhetoric. 

She just finished a four-year project, a co-edited, born digital book titled “The Rhetoric of Participation: Interrogating Commonplaces in and Beyond the Classroom,” about participation as a graded component of college writing classes, with Paige Banaji, Katherine DeLuca, Lauren Obermark, and Ryan Omizo. The project, forthcoming from the Computers and Composition Digital Press, an imprint of Utah State University Press, examines the function of assessing a traditionally subjective aspect of pedagogy: the ubiquitous “participation grade,” looking at how such assessment plays out in ESL/transnational contexts, hybrid and online courses, and writing programs and writing centers, using a variety of analytical frames such as disability studies, queer theory, feminist theory, and methods from big data analysis.

She currently is in the final stages of a book project about empathy as a rhetorical concept, the first sustained exploration of empathy in rhetorical theory. It examines how writers in public, digital, and transnational locations ethically engage with one another across pronounced differences. The book’s premise is that pathos, or appeals to emotions in the form of stories, forms a vital link between Aristotle’s treatment of rhetoric and poetics and is one of the most powerful forms of persuasion and change. It attempts to theorize what may seem like a commonplace: that an effort to listen to and understand others, especially those very different from us, helps us be more human, more able to react in ethical and rhetorically effective ways, and ultimately helps sustain us in the midst of polarization and, in some cases, deep and traumatic injustice.

She teaches first-year writing courses with themes focused on rhetoric, language, race, whiteness, gender, identity, and digital media, and in fall 2017 developed and taught a special topics course, ENG 3960, on Digital Storytelling. She mentors students at the CUNY Graduate Center who teach in the English Department at Baruch and is one of the faculty coordinators of the Writing Across the Curriculum program. She also directs the First-Year Writing Program at Baruch, where on average 70 adjunct and full-time faculty teach each year, with an enrollment of almost 5,000 annually in two required courses.

The City University of New York