Ph.D., University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 2001

M.A., North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, 1997

B.A., Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, 1993, Magna cum laude

Academic Positions

2015-2018 Chair, Rhetoric and Communication Studies, University of Richmond
2010- Associate Professor of Rhetoric, University of Richmond
2004-2009 Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, University of Richmond

Recent Courses Taught

Public Speaking
Interpreting Rhetorical Texts
Rhetorical Criticism
Rhetoric and Television
Critical Confederacy Studies (with Andrea Simpson)
First Year Seminar: Watching The Wire (with Andrea Simpson)
Rhetoric and Terrorism
Representing America (with Staffan Ericson, Södertörn University, Stockholm)


In Progress

Achter, P.J. (book manuscript). Fit To Kill: Rhetoric, Militarism, and the Martial Body.

Achter, P.J. (article). “No Surrender Ceremonies: The Ambivalent Rhetoric of the New American Militarism.”

Articles and book chapters

Achter, P.J. (in press) “‘Military Chic’ and the Rhetorical Production of the Uniformed Body.” Western Journal of Communication.

Achter, P.J. (2018). “Great Television: Trump and the Shadow Archetype,” in Faking the News: What Rhetoric Can Teach us About Donald J. Trump, Ryan Skinnell, Ed. (Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic.): 108-121

Achter, P.J. (2016). “Rhetoric and the Permanent War.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 102 (1): 1-16.

Achter, P.J. (2015). “Reluctant Conquests: Media Events and the End of the Iraq War.” In Lynne Webb and Erin Sahlstein (Eds.) A Communication Perspective on the Military: Messages, Strategies, Meanings: 199-216

Achter, P.J. (2015) “Is Team USA’s militaristic Uniform a Problem?” In Rhonda Divley, Ed. Create. McGraw-Hill. (reprint of 2012 article)

Achter, P.J. (2010). “Unruly Bodies: The Rhetorical Domestication of Twenty-First Century Veterans of War.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 96 (1): 46-68. Excerpt on the web: at

Achter, P.J. (2009). “Racing Jesse Jackson: Leadership, Masculinity, and the Black Presidency.” In Janis Edwards (Ed.), Gender and Political Communication In America: Rhetoric, Representation, and Display. (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books): 107-128.

Kuswa, Kevin D., Achter, Paul, and Lauzon, Elizabeth. (2008). “The Slave, the Fetus, the Body: Articulating Biopower and the Pregnant Woman.” Contemporary Argumentation and Debate 29: 166-185.

Achter, P.J. (2008). “Comedy in Unfunny Times: News Parody and Carnival After 9/11.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 25 (3): 274-303.

Lynch, J. Bevan, J., Achter, P.J., Harris, T., and Condit, C.M. (2008, March). “A Preliminary Study of How Multiple Exposures to Messages about Genetics Impact on Lay Attitudes Towards Racial and Genetic Discrimination.” New Genetics and Society, 27 (1), 43- 56.

Achter, P.J. “McCarthy Hearings.” (2007). Encyclopedia of Political Communication. Christina Holtz-Bacha and Lynda Lee Kaid, (Eds.). Thousand Oaks: Sage, 424-425.

Achter, P.J., Parrott, R.L., Silk, K.A. (2005, March). “African Americans’ Opinions About Human Genetics Research.” Politics and the Life Sciences, 23 (1), 60-66.

Condit, C.M, Bates, B.R., Bevan, J.L., Parrott, R.L., Achter, P.J. (2004) “Exploration of the Impact of Messages About Genes and Race on Lay Attitudes.” Clinical Genetics, 66 (5), 402-408.

Bates, B.R., Poirot, K., Harris, T.M., Condit, C.M., Achter, P.J. (2004). “Evaluating Direct-to- Consumer Marketing of Race-Based Pharmacogenomics: A Focus Group Study of Public Understandings of Applied Genomic Medication,” Journal of Health Communication, 9,(6), 541-559.

Achter, P.J. (2004) “TV, Technology, and McCarthyism: Crafting the democratic renaissance in an age of fear.” Quarterly Journal of Speech, 90 (3), pp. 307-326.

Bates, B.R., Templeton, A., Achter, P.J., Harris, T.M., & Condit, C.M. (2003). “What does ‘a gene for heart disease’ mean?”: A focus group study of public understandings of genetic risk factors. American Journal of Medical Genetics 119A (1), pp. 156-161.

Bevan, J. L., Lynch, J. A., Dubriwny, T. N., Harris, T. M., Achter, P. J., Reeder, A. L., and Condit, C. M. (2003). “Informed lay preferences for delivery of racially varied pharmacogenomics.” Genetics In Medicine 5, pp. 393-399.

Condit, C. M., Achter, P. J., Lauer, M. I., Sefcovic, E. (2002). “The changing meanings of mutation: A contextualized study of public discourse.” Human Mutation, 19, pp. 69- 75.

Ramsey, E. M., Achter, P.J., Condit, C.M. (2001). “Reading audiences: A reflection on the politics of the production of racism.” Response to Grey. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 18 (4), pp. 471-474.

Condit, C. M., Condit, D., Achter, P. J. (2001). “Human equality, affirmative action, and genetic models of human variation.” Rhetoric and Public Affairs, 4, pp. 85-108.

Ramsey, E. M., Achter, P. J., Condit, C. M. (2001). “Genetics, race, and crime: An audience study exploring the effects of The Bell Curve and book reviews.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, 18, pp. 1-22.

Achter, P. J. (2000). “Narrative, intertextuality, and apologia in contemporary political scandals.” Southern Communication Journal, 65, pp. 318-333.

Online Publications

Achter, P.J. (2018). “Great Television: Trump and the Morality of the Screen.” Citizen Critics

Achter, P.J. (2016). “Eudemonia.” Media Commons

Achter, P.J. (2015). “Have you seen The Wire?” Huffington Post, cross-posted at

Achter, P.J. (2012). “Is Team USA’s militaristic Uniform a Problem?”

Achter, P.J. (2010). “Watching The Masters.”

Achter, P.J. (2009). “”Weekend Update’ and the Tradition of New Journalism.”

Selected Conference Presentations

Achter, P.J. “Writing as Memory: Richmond, Virginia’s Mighty Pen Project.” Presentation accepted for the 2018 National Communication Association Conference, Salt Lake City, UT.

Achter, P.J. ”No Surrender Ceremonies: New Militarism, Genetic Arguments, and the End of the Iraq War.” Presentation at the 2018 Rhetoric Society of America Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

Achter, P.J. “Continuity and Change in the Rhetoric of PTSD.” Presentation at the 2016 Rhetoric Society of America Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Achter, P.J. “Unapologetic: Mistakes of the State in Iraq War Rhetoric.” Presentation at the 2016 Rhetoric Society of America Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Achter, P.J. “The Redemption of the F-Bomb Anchor.” Presentation at the 2014 Rhetoric Society of America Conference, San Antonio, TX.

Achter, P.J. “Mending the Mind: Rhetoric and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” Presentation at the 2013 National Communication Association Conference, Washington, D.C.

Achter, P. J. “After Iraq: Time, Television, and the Politics of War Memory.” Presentation at the 2011 National Communication Association Conference, New Orleans, LA.

Achter, P.J. “Technology in the Classroom: Making Rhetorical Choices That Facilitate Learning.” Presented at the 2010 National Communication Association Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Achter, P.J. “Teaching Rhetorical Criticism in the Liberal Arts.” Invited presentation for the 2010 NCA Summer Conference on Teaching Rhetorical Criticism and Critical Inquiry, Tacoma, WA.

Achter, P.J. “Military Chic and the Production of War.” Presentation at the 2010 Rhetoric Society of America Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

Achter, P.J. “Racing Jesse Jackson: Leadership, Masculinity, and the Black Presidency.” Presentation at the 2010 Rhetoric Society of America Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

Achter, P.J. “Managing Dissent: Rhetoric and Unruly Veterans of War.” Presentation at the 2009 National Communication Association Conference, Chicago, IL.

Achter, P.J., Kuswa, Kevin and Lauzon, Liz. “Confederate Arguments in the Rhetorical Constructions of Abortion and the Body.” Presentation at the 2008 Rhetoric Society of America Conference, Seattle, WA.

Selected Awards, Honors, and Research Grants

Faculty Research Committee, “Military Chic and the Rhetorical Production of the Uniformed Body,” 2017, ($6,000)

Program for the Enhancement of Teaching Effectiveness grant (PETE), 2015 ($500). Mobile Initiative (iPad) class grant, 2012 (with Andrea Simpson)

UR Faculty Research Committee Travel Grant, 2011 ($1,100)

Swedish Central Bank Foundation (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond) grant for “Chronicle, Catastrophe, Ritual: Television Historiography and Transnational Politics,” 2010-2012 ($540,000, with Staffan Ericson and Amanda Lagerkvist).

Tocqueville Seminar Faculty Development grant, 2009 ($8,000)

Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) grant for student study abroad, 2009 ($12,000, with Staffan Ericson)

University of Georgia Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, 1999

International Communication Association Excellence in Teaching Award, 1999

Recent Invited lectures/talks

“Great Television: Trump and the Shadow Archetype” for the UR International Studying Leadership Conference, December 10, 2017.

“Teaching for the Mighty Pen Project,” Center for Civic Engagement Brown Bag Series, University of Richmond, November 8, 2017.

“Teaching Race and Controversy in the Classroom,” University of Richmond Teach-In, August 29, 2017.

“Fake News: Journalism in the Age of Trump.” Panelist for discussion sponsored by the local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, ABC News 8, April 8, 2017.

“Trump and Terror: Terrorism and the Rhetoric of the Trump Regime,” Keynote Address and Scholar in Residence at the 29th Annual James Madison University Undergraduate Research Conference in Communication, April 10-11, 2017.

“What I Watched This Summer: Race Politics and the Urgency of Now,” Speech to the 2016 Orientation Advisors, August 12, 2016.

“Visual Disruption II: Critical Confederacies in Richmond” Faculty Excursion co-Led by Nicole Maurantonio and Melissa Ooten, April 8, 2016.

“Have You Seen The Wire?” Brown Bag Lecture, sponsored by The Center for Civic Engagement, University of Richmond, February 5, 2016.

“Speaking Out When our Values are at Stake: How, When, and Why.” Dinner presentation and discussion for the University of Richmond Chaplaincy’s “Consider This” series, September 23, 2015.

“Satire and American Anti-Racism: What Charlie Hebdo Has To Do With Us,” presentation for University of Richmond Office of Common Ground’s “In Common” series, February 16, 2015

Professional Organizations

National Communication Association (NCA), Rhetoric Society of America (RSA).