Department of Rhetoric & Writing
Department of Rhetoric & Writing

Joshua Gunn


Affiliate faculty



Dr. Joshua G. Gunn (Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 2002) conducts research at the intersection of rhetorical and cultural studies, currently in pursuit of two, interrelated projects: (1) the integration of psychoanalysis and rhetorical/textual theory; and (2) a demonstration of the relevance and ubiquity of theological forms in public culture and daily life. His latest published research has focused on the role of theological form, from the apocalyptic, occult, and paranormal to the mundane religiosity of the "theory wars" in the humanities. His teaching interests include courses in rhetorical theory and criticism, rhetoric and religion, and rhetoric and popular music. He has recently published a book, Modern Occult Rhetoric: Mass Media and the Drama of Secrecy in the Twentieth Century (2005) with the University of Alabama Press, and has also published in a variety of journals, including The Journal of Communication and Religion, Popular Music and Society, the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Telos, Text and Performance Quarterly, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and Visual Communication.


CMS 390P • Major Figures: Derrida & Lacan

07815 • Spring 2014
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM FAC 9
(also listed as E 387M)

This seminar will contemplate a handful of the most significant contributions Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan have made to contemporary rhetorical theory, including the wide-ranging implications of their distinct but often complimentary critiques of the structure and operations of the sign. Meets with Prof Joshua Gunn’s CMS 390.

Potential Texts:

  • Poe, “The Purloined Letter”
  • Derrida, “Purveyor of Truth,” “Structure Sign and Play,” “Signature Event Context,” and “A Number of Yesses,”
  • Lacan, Seminar on “The Purloined Letter”
  • Selections from Lacan’s Ecrits and Seminar XX
  • Selections from Derrida’s Limited Inc., Of Grammatology, Dissemination, “Ulysses Grammaphone,” Of Hospitality
  • Christian Lundberg’s Lacan in Public (Tuscaloosa: U of AL P, 2012)
  • Philippe Van Haute’s Against Adaptation: Lacan's 'Subversion' of the Subject: A Close Reading (New York: Other Press, 2002).

Probable Requirements:

  • Semi-Weekly Talking Points: Informal notes analyzing/exploring key issues in the readings.
  • Summary/Response Papers: Formal, one-page, single spaced, beautifully polished, and terribly insightful papers that summarize the assigned reading and then “reading” it across another text from the course.
  • Reading Presentation: Formal presentation to class of one of the week’s readings.


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