Jonathan P. Rossing, Ph.D.

Associate Professor & Chair of Communication Studies

Professor Rossing studies the rhetoric of social justice, particularly in relation to race and racism in the United States. His primary focus is on the way people use humor to provoke conversations and to provide a critical education about race. Professor...

Dr. Jonathan P. Rossing

Contact Information

  • Spring 2018
    Monday: 1:10 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
    Wednesday: 1:10 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
    Friday: 1:10 p.m.–2:30 p.m.

  • 509-313-6958

Education & Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D., Rhetoric and Public Culture, Indiana University

M.S.Ed., Higher Education Administration, Indiana University

B.A., French, The University of Texas at Austin

B.S., Zoology, The University of Texas at Austin

Courses Taught

COMM 100: Communication and Speech

COMM 184:Communication, Culture, and Society

COMM 193: First Year Seminar: The Purpose and Value of Play

COMM 418: Intercultural/International Communication


Professor Rossing studies the rhetoric of social justice, particularly in relation to race and racism in the United States. His primary focus is on the way people use humor to provoke conversations and to provide a critical education about race. Professor Rossing also specializes in communication pedagogy including studying the systems of meaning faculty create through the language choices and syllabi. Jonathan also studies the use of improvisation training and drills in communication education. He regularly applies theories of play and improvisation in teaching, leadership, and diversity training.

Selected Publications 

Rossing, J. P. (2017). No Joke: Silent Jesters and Comedic Refusals. Rhetoric & Public Affairs 20.3, pp. 545–556. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321/rhetpublaffa.20.3.0545

Rossing, J. P. (2016). Emancipatory Racial Humor as Critical Public Pedagogy: Subverting Hegemonic Racism, Communication, Culture, & Critique 9.4, 614–632. DOI: 10.1111/cccr.12126

Rossing, J. P. and Hoffmann-Longtin, K. (2016). Improv(ing) the Academy: Applied Improvisation as a Strategy for Educational Development, To Improve the Academy, 35(2), 303–325. DOI: 10.1002/tia2.20044

Rossing, J. P. (2016). A Sense of Humor for Civic Life: Toward a Strong Defense of Humor. [Lead Essay] Studies in American Humor, Series 4, 4(1), 1–21. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/613760

Rossing, J. P. (2016). “Live from DC, It’s ‘Nerd Prom”: Roasting Democracy at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner (pp. 168–184), in Standing Up, Speaking Up: Stand-Up Comedy and the Rhetoric of Social Change, eds. Matt Meier & Casey Schmitt.

Rossing, J. P. & Lavitt, M. R. (2016). The Neglected Learner: A Call to Support Integrative Learning for Faculty. Liberal Education, 102(2), pp. 34-41. https://www.aacu.org/liberaleducation/2016/spring/rossing

Rossing, J. P. (2014). Prudence and Racial Humor: Troubling epithets. Critical Studies in Media Communication 31.4, pp. 299–313. https://doi.org/10.1080/15295036.2013.864046

Rossing, J. P. (2014). Critical race humor in a postracial moment: Richard Pryor’s contemporary parrhesia. Howard Journal of Communication 25.1, pp. 16–33. https://doi.org/10.1080/10646175.2013.857369

Rossing, J. P. (2013). Dick Gregory and activist style: Identifying attributes of humor necessary for activist advocacy. [Lead Essay] Argumentation and Advocacy 50.2, pp. 59–71. http://hdl.handle.net/1805/7070

Gilbert, C. J. & Rossing, J. P. (2013). Trumping Tropes with Joke(r)s: The Daily Show “Plays the Race Card,” Western Journal of Communication 77.1, pp. 72–91. https://doi.org/10.1080/10570314.2012.720747

Rossing, J. P. (2012). Deconstructing postracialism: Humor as a critical, cultural project. Journal of Communication Inquiry 36.1, pp. 44–61. https://doi.org/10.1177/0196859911430753 

  • Public discourse on race and racism
  • Satire and humor for social justice
  • Public pedagogies
  • Communication education/rhetorical education
  • Improvisation and ensemble-building communication