James Porter

James PorterProfessor of English and Emerging Technology in Business & Design

279 Bachelor Hall
Oxford Campus


  • PhD, University of Detroit (1982)
  • MA, The University of Michigan
  • BA, John Carroll University

Teaching and Research Interests

  • Rhetoric theory and history
  • Professional communication
  • Digital rhetoric
  • Rhetorical ethics
  • Intellectual property
  • Online writing instruction

Selected Publications


McKee, Heidi A., & Porter, James E. (2017). Professional communication and network interaction: A rhetorical and ethical approach. New York: Routledge. 

McKee, Heidi A., & Porter, James E. (2009). The ethics of Internet research: A rhetorical, case-based process. New York: Peter Lang.

Porter, James E., Sullivan, Patricia, & Johnson-Eilola, Johndan. (2008). Professional writing online (3rd ed.). Boston: Longman. 

Porter, James E. (1998). Rhetorical ethics and internetworked writing. Greenwich, CT: Ablex. (Won Computers & Writing award for Distinguished Book.) 

Sullivan, Patricia, & Porter, James E. (1997). Opening spaces: Writing technologies and critical research practices. Greenwich, CT: Ablex. (Won NCTE award for Excellence in Technical and Scientific Communication, Best Book.)

Porter, James E. (1992). Audience and rhetoric: An archaeological composition of the discourse community. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall/Studies in Writing and Culture. 

Selected Articles and Chapters (Since 2009)

McKee, Heidi A., & Porter, James E. (2020). Ethics for AI writing: The importance of rhetorical context. Proceedings of 2020 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society (AIES’20 ), February 7–8, 2020, New York, NY, USA. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3375627.3375811

Porter, James. (2020). Recovering a good rhetoric: Rhetoric as techne and praxis. In John Duffy & Lois Agnew (eds.), Rewriting Plato's legacy: Ethics, rhetoric, and writing studies (pp. 15-36). Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.

Porter, James E. (2020). Foreword: Interacting with friends, enemies, and strangers. In Jessica Reyman & Erika M. Sparby (eds.), Digital ethics: Rhetoric and responsibility in online aggression (pp. xv-xxii). New York: Routledge.

McKee, Heidi A., & Porter, James E. (2018). The impact of AI on writing and writing instruction. Digital Rhetoric Collaborative, Sweetland Center for Writing, University of Michigan. http://www.digitalrhetoriccollaborative.org/2018/04/25/ai-on-writing/

McKee, Heidi A., & Porter, James E. (2018). Corporate response to employee social media missteps: A rhetorical and ethical lens. In Bastiaan Vanacker & Don Heider (eds.), Ethics for a digital age, volume 2 (pp. 51-77). New York: Peter Lang.  

Porter, James E. (2018). Rhetoric, copyright, techne: The regulation of social media production and distribution. In Jonathan Alexander & Jacqueline Rhodes (eds.),The Routledge handbook of digital writing and rhetoric (pp. 259-268). New York: Routledge.

McKee, Heidi A., & Porter, James E. (2018). Digital media ethics and rhetoric. In Jonathan Alexander & Jacqueline Rhodes (eds.), The Routledge handbook of digital writing and rhetoric (pp. 401-411). New York: Routledge.

Porter, James E. (2017). Professional communication as phatic: From classical eunoia to personal AI. Business & Professional Communication Quarterly, 80(2), 174-193. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2329490616671708

Cummings, Lance, Frey, Renea, Ireland, Ryan, Martin, Caitlin, McKee, Heidi, Palmeri, Jason, & Porter, James E. (2016). Kairotic design: Building flexible networks for online composition. In James P. Purdy & Dànielle Nicole DeVoss (Eds.), Making space: Writing instruction, infrastructure, and multiliteracies. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. http://www.digitalrhetoriccollaborative.org/makingspace/ch7a.html

Gries, Laurie, [& Porter, James E.]. (2016). An advocate for rhetoric and writing at the university: An interview with James Porter. Composition Forum33http://compositionforum.com/issue/33/james-porter-interview.php

Porter, James E.  (2014). Framing questions about MOOCs and writing courses. In Steven D. Krause & Charles Lowe (Eds.), Invasion of the MOOCs: The promise and perils of massive open online courses (pp. 14-28). Anderson, SC: Parlor Press. http://www.parlorpress.com/invasion_of_the_moocs

Porter, James E. (2013). MOOCs, “courses,” and the question of faculty and student copyrights. In Clancy Ratliff (Ed.), The CCCC-IP annual: Top intellectual property developments of 2012 (pp. 2-18). The Intellectual Property Caucus of the CCCC. http://www.ncte.org/cccc/committees/ip/2012developments

Porter, James E. (2013). How does rhetoric theory inform the practice of technical communication? In Johndan Johnson-Eilola & Stuart A. Selber (Eds.), Solving problems in technical communication (pp. 125-145). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

McKee, Heidi, & Porter, James E. (2012). The ethics of conducting writing research on the Internet: How heuristics help. In Lee Nickoson & Mary P. Sheridan (Eds.), Writing studies research in practice: Methods and methodologies (pp. 245-260). Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

McKee, Heidi A., & Porter, James E. (2012). The ethics of archival research. College Composition and Communication64, 59-81.

Porter, James E. (2011). Response: Being rhetorical when we teach intellectual property and fair use. In Martine Courant Rife, Shaun Slattery, & Dànielle Nicole DeVoss (eds.), Copy(write): Intellectual property in the writing classroom (pp. 263-272). Anderson, SC: Parlor Press. http://wac.colostate.edu/books/copywrite/

McKee, Heidi, & Porter, James E. (2010). Legal and regulatory issues for technical communicators conducting global Internet research. Technical Communication57, 282-299.

McKee, Heidi, & Porter, James E. (2010). Rhetorica online: Feminist research practices in cyberspace. In Eileen E. Schell & K.J. Rawson (Eds.), Rhetorica in motion: Feminist rhetorical methods and methodologies (pp. 152-170). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Porter, James E. (2010). Rhetoric in (as) a digital economy. In Stuart A. Selber (Ed.), Rhetorics and technologies: New directions in writing and communication (pp. 173-197). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.

Porter, James E. (2009). Sustaining a research center: Building the research and outreach profile for a writing program. In Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Heidi A. McKee, & Richard (Dickie) Selfe (Eds.), Technological ecologies and sustainability. Computers and Composition Digital Press. http://ccdigitalpress.org/tes/

Porter, James E. (2009). Recovering delivery for digital rhetoric. Computers & Composition, 26, 207-224. (Won Ellen Nold Award for Best Article in Computers and Composition.)

McKee, Heidi, & Porter, James E. (2009). Playing a good game: Ethical issues in researching MMOGs and virtual worlds. International Journal of Internet Research Ethics2.

McKee, Heidi, & Porter, James E. (2008). The ethics of digital writing research: A rhetorical approach. College Composition and Communication59, 711-749.

Porter, James E. (2004). Why technology matters to writing: A cyberwriter’s tale. Computers & Composition20(4), 375-394.

Grabill, Jeffrey, Porter, James E., Blythe, Stuart, & Miles, Libby. (2003). Institutional critique revisited. Works & Days, 41/42, 218-237.

Porter, James E., Sullivan, Patricia, Blythe, Stuart, Grabill, Jeffrey T., & Miles, Libby. (2000). Institutional critique: A rhetorical methodology for change. College Composition and Communication51, 610-642.  (Won Braddock Award for Best Article in CCC.)

Work in Progress

Porter is currently examining how AI technology development is changing professional communication practices, from the standpoint of rhetoric and ethics.