Risa Applegarth

Risa Applegarth

Email: Risa_Applegarth@uncg.edu
Office: MHRA 3109
Phone: 336-334-3967


Ph.D. University of North Carolina-2009
M.A. University of North Carolina-2005
B.A. Carleton College-2003

Research Interests

Dr. Applegarth’s research and teaching interests include feminist approaches to rhetoric, genre theory, embodied and material rhetorics, contemporary activist movements, and scientific and professional discourse. 

Dr. Applegarth’s current research examines activism, age, and temporality in youth-led social movements from the 1990s to the present. Her book Just Kids: Youth Activism and Rhetorical Agency is forthcoming from the Ohio State University Press. Using qualitative methods, this research investigates how age both facilitates and constrains rhetorical opportunities for young activists. 

Additional recent projects include publications on feminist ethics, archival research, and embodied rhetoric, as well as contributions to the Cape Fear Watershed Project, an NEH-funded interdisciplinary and cross-institutional collaboration spearheaded by Dr. Aaron Allen. 

Dr. Applegarth’s first book, Rhetoric in American Anthropology: Gender, Genre, and Science (Pittsburgh 2014), examines how anthropologists transformed their field from the “welcoming science,” uniquely open to amateurs, women, and people of color, into a professional scientific discipline in the early 20th century. This study recuperates the writings of professional researchers whose experimental genres–folklore collections, ethnographic novels, and autobiographies–reopened debates over how scientific knowledge could be made. This project earned the 2010 James Berlin Memorial Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication, a New Faculty Research Grant and a Summer Excellence Research Grant from UNCG, and the CCCC Outstanding Book Award in 2016.

An affiliated faculty member with the program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Dr. Applegarth teaches graduate and undergraduate courses related to pedagogy, feminist theory, genre, embodied rhetoric, nonfiction narrative and autobiographical writing, environmental writing, and contemporary activism.

Selected Publications

  • Just Kids: Youth Activism and Rhetorical Agency. Ohio State University Press, 2024. 
  • Children Speaking: Agency and Public Memory in the Children’s Peace Statue Project.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 47.1 (Jan. 2017): 1-25.
  • Personal Writing in Professional Spaces: Contesting Exceptionalism in Interwar Women’s Vocational Autobiographies.” College English 77.6 (July 2015): 530-552.
  • Rhetoric in American Anthropology: Gender, Genre, and Science. Composition, Literacy, and Culture Series. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014.
  • “Rhetorical Scarcity: Spatial and Economic Inflections on Genre Change.” College Composition and Communication 63.3 (Feb. 2012): 453-483.
  • “Genre, Location, and Mary Austin’s Ethos.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 41.1 (Jan. 2011): 41-63.

Awards and Honors

  • Outstanding Book Award, CCCC, 2016
  • Mary Settle Sharp Award for Teaching Excellence, UNCG, 2016
  • College of Arts and Sciences Senior Teaching Award, UNCG, 2016
  • Linda Arnold Carlisle Faculty Research Grant, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, UNCG, 2014-2015.
  • Article of the Year Award, Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology, 2013.
  • Summer Excellence Research Award, UNCG, 2010
  • James Berlin Memorial Outstanding Dissertation Award, CCCC, 2010

2016 Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards – Teaching Excellence and O. Max Gardner Awards

2019 Junior Research Excellence Award-Watch the video here


College Composition and Communication 63.3

Article by Risa Applegarth

Women and Rhetoric Between the Wars

Article by Risa Applegarth

Rhetoric in American Anthropolgy

Book by Risa Applegarth