About Noah Roderick
My research interests lie on the philosophical end of rhetoric, and they include rhetorical genre studies, object-oriented philosophy, and aesthetics and cognition. I believe that most of us—consciously or unconsciously—orient our thinking to some fundamental question that can never quite be answered: For some it is Why is there something rather than nothing? For others it might be How do we know what we know? For me, the question is How is there difference? This question threads through theories of information and entropy, quantum entanglement, biological evolution, language and cognition, cultural forms, and technology. My current research selects just a narrow band from that continuum, which is the emergence of difference in recurring rhetorical forms, such as genres and memes. I treat those rhetorical forms as dynamic, self-similar objects which evolve in response to changing social conditions but also through the mechanics of repetition itself. The goals of this research are to shed light on how new rhetorical possibilities open up within discourse communities and how distributed cognition is mediated.
I received my doctorate in English Studies from Illinois State University, with an emphasis in rhetoric and composition. My dissertation, Gods, Grammars, and Genres: Towards an Ethics of English Studies in Imperial Sovereignty, examined the ways in which the ontology of written language was understood and institutionalized in early and late modernity. My most recent monograph is The Being of Analogy, in which I argue that similarity should not be confined to human reasoning but should instead be considered an emergent property of reality of which human reason is a part. I have since refined this argument in published essays, and it continues to inform my recent thinking on genre evolution.
My current teaching includes courses in the BA program Språk, Retorik och Kommunikativt Ledarskap (Language, Rhetoric, and Communicative Leadership), as well as writing and cultural studies courses in English. I also teach philosophy of science courses at the doctoral level in the School of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences, as well at the Master’s level in the School of Health Sciences.
Articles in journals
- Roderick, N. (2021). Form from form: The case for exaptation in rhetorical genre evolution. The Quarterly journal of speech, 107 (4), 398-417.
- Roderick, N. (2018). How to be a Realist about Similarity: Towards a Theory of Features in Object-Oriented Philosophy. Open Philosophy, 1 (1), 327-341.
- Roderick, N. (2012). After Universal Grammar: The Ecological Turn in Linguistics. Logos & Episteme: an International Journal of Epistemology, 3 (3), 469-487.
- Roderick, N. (2012). Analogize This!: The Politics of Scale and the Problem of Substance in Complexity-Based Composition. Composition Forum, 25.
- Roderick, N. (2011). In Defense of Grade Grubbers. The Chronicle of higher education.
Articles, book reviews
- Roderick, N. (2009). Hawk, Byron. A Counter History of Composition: Toward Methodologies of Complexity. Pittsburgh: UP of Pittsburgh, 2007: 400 pp. [Review]. Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 20.
- Roderick, N. (2016). The Being of Analogy (1ed.). London, UK: Open Humanities Press.
Chapters in books
- Roderick, N. (2021). Chuidere il Loop: I generi e l’oggetto quadruplo [Clossing the loop: genres and the four-fold object]. In: Vincenzo Cuomo and Enrico Schiro, Decentrare l’umano: Perché la Object-Oriented Ontology (pp. 125-150). Pompei, Italy: Kaiak Edizione.
- Roderick, N. (2013). Analogize This!: The Politics of Scale and the Problem of Substance in Complexity-Based Composition. In: Julia Voss, Beverly Moss, Steve Parks, Brian Bailie, Heather Christiansen, and Stephanie Ceraso, The Best of the Independent Rhetoric and Composition Journals 2012 (pp. 25-47). Anderson, South Carolina, USA: Parlor Press.
- Roderick, N. & Olson, T. (2012). Beyond the Common Denominator: Exposing Semiotic (Dis)Unity in Mathematics Textbooks. In: Heather Hickman and Brad J. Porfilio, The New Politics of the Textbook: A Project of Critical Examination and Resistance (pp. 151-162). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
Doctoral theses, monographs
- Roderick, N. (2009). Gods, Grammars, and Genres: Towards an Ethics of English Studies in Imperial Sovereignty. (Doctoral dissertation). Normal, IL, USA: Illinois State University.