Ph.D. Syracuse University
M.A. Virginia Commonwealth University
B.A. Virginia Commonwealth University


On Research and Teaching:

I am an interdisciplinary scholar trained in Rhetoric and Composition Studies and specializing in Cultural Rhetorics, African American and feminist rhetorics, Black women’s intellectual histories and writing traditions, and the memoir. My first book, Rhetorical Healing: The Reeducation of Contemporary Black Womanhood (SUNY 2016)is a feminist critique of the discourses and strategies within Black women’s wellness culture throughout the last thirty years. The book contextualizes reeducation campaigns writers have carried out within self-help books, inspirational literature, and plays and films directed towards women and unearths the complex arguments and pedagogies used to restore communities to idealized states of wellness. I am currently working on projects that examine freedom of speech controversies among contemporary Black women intellectuals and healing practices within memoirs. My published work appears in such venues as Rhetoric Review, Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture, Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society, and Rhetoric Society Quarterly.



  • Review: Elaine Richardson for Peitho.

Selected Articles, Chapters, and Reviews:

  • “Fighting Words: A Review of Vincent Lloyd’s Black Dignity: The Struggle Against Domination.” Journal for the History of Rhetoric 26.1. (2023)
  • “Necessary Adjustments: Black Women’s Rhetorical Impatience.” (2020) Rhetoric Review. 39.3. 269-286.
  • “A Tightrope of Perfection: The Rhetoric and Risk of Black Women’s Intellectualism on Display in Television and Social Media.” (2018) Rhetoric Society Quarterly. 48.2, 139-160.
  • "A Note to Nicole on Becoming Tax-Free.” Stories from the Front of the Room: How Higher Education Faculty of Color Overcome Challenges and Thrive in the Academy. Eds. Michelle Harris, Sherrill L. Sellers, Orly Clerge, and Frederick W. Gooding, Jr. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2017.
  • “Review of Elaine Richardson’s PHD to Ph.D: How Education Saved My Life.” (2015) Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society.   
  • “Take Your Place: Rhetorical Healing and Black Womanhood in Tyler Perry’s Films.” (2014) Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 39.4. 999-1021.
  • “I’ll Teach You to See Again: Rhetorical Healing as Reeducation in Iyanla Vanzant’s Self-Help Books.” (2013) Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture. 15.
  • “Firing Mama’s Gun: The Rhetorical Campaign in Geneva Smitherman’s 1971-1973 Essays.” (2012) Rhetoric Review. 31.2. 130-147.

Recent Presentations, Invited Lectures, and Keynote Addresses

  • “Between Getting Free and Living Free: DJing Black Rhetorics.” Cultural Rhetorics Panel. Stanford University. Online. May 2022
  • “I’mma Take My Time: Black Maternal Rhetorics of Impatience.” St. Johns University Cultural Rhetoric Symposium. Online. April 2022.
  • “How Long?: Why Rhetoricians Must Study Fatigue.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Online. March 2022.
  • “On Urgency, Rhetoric, and the Work of Black Survival.” Camp Rhetoric. Pennsylvania State University, February 26, 2021.
  • “On (In)Hospitality: Recruiting and Retaining Students of Color. Rhetoric Society of America Remote. Online Webinar. August 21, 2020.
  • “Toni Morrison: Writing and Healing Revolutionary.” “Remembering the Revolutionary Panel. Fall for the Book Literary Festival. Online Panel. October 13, 2020. Web. (available on youtube).
  • “On Conditions and Consequences: Contextualizing the Risks of Black Womanhood and Cancel Culture.” “Calling In, Calling Out. What Difference Does it Make?: ‘Free’ Expression in the Academy.” Pen America Forum. Online Panel. September 30, 2020.
  • “On Memoir and Burden.” Life Writing Roundtable. Conference on College Composition and Communication. Pittsburgh, PA. March 2019. 
  • “What We Can’t Afford. On the Rhetoric and Risk of Impatience.” National Women’s Studies Association Conference. Baltimore, MD. Nov. 2017
  • “What We Don’t Have Time For: Case Studies in the Rewards, Rhetorics, and Risks of Black Women’s Impatience.” #SayHerName, #BlackGirlMagic: 21st Century Black Women’s Rhetorical Practices. Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference. Dayton, OH. Oct. 2017.
  • “#BlackRhetoricsMatter: The Future of African American Rhetorics.” Rhetoric Society of America. Atlanta, GA. March 2016.
  • “I Apologize’: Promiscuous Audiences, Surveillance, and the Risks of Televised and Online Black Feminist Discourse.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Tampa, FL. May 2015.
  • “Call a Thing a Thing’: The Paradox of Truth Telling in Black Women’s Self-Help Culture. National Women’s Studies Association Conference. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Nov. 2014.
  • “The Future of African American Rhetorics” Roundtable. Cultural Rhetorics Conference. East Lansing, MI. Oct. 2014.
  • “Re-composing Ourselves: Rhetorical Healing in Black Women’s Self-Help Books.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Las Vegas, NV. Apr. 2013.
  • “From Paradox to Possibility: A Response to ‘Harriet Tubman and the Politics of Representation.” (Panel Response). Harriet Tubman: A Legacy of Resistance. University at Albany,  Albany, NY Mar. 2013.
  • “The Politics of Reeducation for Healing in African American Women’s Self-Help Book.” Association for the Study of African American Life and History Convention. Pittsburgh, PA. Sept. 2012. 
  • “When Backbones Get Sick: Infirmity and the Rhetoric of Healing in T.D. Jakes’ Inspirational Books.” Rhetoric Society of America. Philadelphia, PA. May 2012.

Awards and Fellowships:

  • Donchian-Casteen Teaching Fellowship, UVA Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life, University of Virginia. 2021
  • Theresa J. Enos Anniversary Award for Best Essay - “Necessary Adjustments: Black Women’s Rhetorical Impatience.” Rhetoric Review. 2020. 
  • Inaugural Book Series Scholar Award for Rhetorical Healing: The Reeducation of Contemporary Black Womanhood. DBLAC. 2019
  • University at Albany, English Department Writing Leave - 2016.
  • Dr. Nuala McGann Drescher Diversity Leave Grant. State University of New York. 2015.
  • Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition “New Work Showcase” Participant. 2015.
  • Individual Development Award Faculty Grant. United University Professions. University at Albany. 2014
  • Faculty Summer Research Grant. University of North Carolina at Pembroke. 2011.
  • American Dissertation Fellowship. American Association of University Women. 2009-2010.
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Syracuse University. 2008.
  • Scholars for the Dream Travel Grant Award. Conference of College Composition and Communication. 2007
  • African American Studies Fellowship. Syracuse University. 2005-2006.
  • Who’s Who Among American High School Teachers. 2004.

Recent Courses:

  • ENWR 3500 – Cultural Rhetorics
  • ENGL 8500 – Black Women's Rhetorics
  • ENGL 8900 – Pedagogy Seminar
  • ENGL 3572 – African American Rhetorical Traditions
  • ENWR 3500 – Black Women’s Writing and Rhetoric
  • ENWR 2510 – Advanced Writing Seminar: Life Writing and Culture
  • ENWR 2510 – Writing Regret and Repair
First Name: 
Tamika L.
Associate Professor; NEH Daniels Family Distinguished Teaching Professor
Computing ID: 
Office Address: 

Bryan Hall 132


Rhetoric and Composition, Cultural and Feminist Rhetorics, African American Rhetorics and Literacies, Black Women’s Writing and Intellectual Histories, the Memoir

Class Schedule: 
MW 3:30-4:45, M 6:00-8:30
Office Hours: 
Wednesdays, noon-3:00pm (on Zoom). Appointments can be requested at: