Stephen Schneider

Associate Professor


Stephen Schneider received his BA from the Australian National University and his MA and PhD from the Pennsylvania State University, where he specialized in rhetoric and composition. After teaching for three years at the University of Alabama, he joined the faculty at UofL. He is the author of You Can’t Padlock an Idea: Rhetorical Education at the Highlander Folk School, 1932-1961, and has published essays in College English, College Composition and Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, and Journal of Advanced Composition.

Dr. Schneider’s research focuses on the relationship between education and social movement rhetoric, and particularly on the question of how social movement participants develop and deploy collective rhetorical actions. In addition to looking at how social movements make specific use of educational programs (such as the workers’ schools established by labor activists or the freedom schools of the civil rights era), his research also examines how social movement rhetoric intersects with the broader political and cultural rhetorics of the New Deal and the American South. He is currently working on a book-length study of the relationship between the Southern Conference for Human Welfare, the New Deal, and civil rights rhetoric.

His other research centers on the role of the public and the public sphere in rhetorical theory, and the ways in which our notions of the public intersect with both deliberative democracy and welfare state economics. He hopes to look at the relationship between collective action, rhetoric, and the economy in a project tentatively titled Publics, Communities, Crowds: Rhetoric and Collective Action in the Age of Debt.

Dr. Schneider regularly teaches courses on the history of rhetoric, the rhetoric of social movements, critical theory, and African American literature.