Ryan Mitchell

Ryan Mitchell

I study:The intersections of the rhetoric of health and medicine, the rhetoric of science, public sphere theory, and sexuality studies.”

Why:By focusing on how everyday people interpret, resist, and adapt to complex and unsettled medical controversies, my research opens up space for considering how social, environmental, and other non-medical forces interact to shape public representations of biomedicine.  Running alongside my interest in the rhetorics of medicine and sexual health, my research is also committed to examining how effective networks of kinship, intimacy, and care operate in the public sphere and direct public action.”

Ready for fall: “This semester, in my Rhetoric of Health and Medicine course, we’re going to ask how notions of health and wellness butt up against, run parallel to, and reinforce other, nonscientific knowledge-making practices. We’re going to study how health is leveraged in arguments about citizenship and maintaining borders. We’ll be looking at how health professionals propel racist, eugenicist programs that devalued the lives of Black folks and other racial minorities. We’ll also spend time exploring how the womb and reproduction become crucial for imagining national futures. And, of course, we’ll be studying plagues, epidemics, and pandemics, paying close attention to how they induce panics that are about so much more than the transmission of invisible pathogens.”

In my (virtual) classroom:One thing that I’ll really work toward this semester is trying to acknowledge and make space for real frank conversations about the emotional implications of COVID-19. But also, how is it that we can also do the anti-racism work in our classroom, to pay respect to and give attention to the other major issue that’s going on in our country, which is anti-Black violence.”

Moment of zen: “In April, I became enamored with historical sewing techniques and watched a ton of YouTube videos where people would break down stitches and patterning practices from preindustrial times. After watching these videos, I decided to try my hand at it. Along with hand sewing, I’ve recently bought myself a sewing machine so I can make more complicated things quicker.”

Categorized in: Academic News, English, Faculty and Staff, New Faculty, News and Features


  1. Michelle Rosenfeld says:

    When I was a student at LC during 1992-1993, I was on the LAF and we brought the Aids Quilt to campus. I was an American Studies Major. I second that it would be great to audit these classes or even hear a recorded lecture. Does Prof Mitchell have a Youtube channel with any lectures? If no, can he create a Youtube channel that alumni could access? 🙂

  2. Don Sellers ‘66 says:

    I wonder if there is any mechanism for an alumnus to audit (if that is the correct term today) these on line courses – such as Ryan Mitchell describes. Apart from five years in the military (green beret and counter intelligence agent) I spent the rest of my life in big pharma and as CEO of public and private bio-techs – much of it outside the US and involved with virus diseases.

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