John Duffy


Associate Professor of English

Specialty: Ethics, rhetoric, literacy, writing pedagogy

Degrees: BA, Boston College; MA, University College, Dublin; MA, Columbia University; PhD, University of Wisconsin

John Duffy has published on the ethics of writing, the rhetoric of disability, and the historical development of literacy and rhetoric in cross-cultural contexts. He recently co-edited the essay collection Literacy, Economy, and Power, and his book, Writing from These Roots, was awarded the 2009 Outstanding Book Award by the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Duffy is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In 2015, Duffy was elected to the Executive Committee of the Conference on College Communication and Composition. He teaches courses in rhetoric, writing, and literature.

Recent Writing

  • "The Good Writer: Virtue Ethics and the Teaching of Writing." College English. Forthcoming, Spring, 2017.
  • “Reconsidering Virtue.”  JAEPL: The Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning.  Special Section: Rhetoric and Ethics. Volume 21, Winter 2015-2016, 3-8
  • "Guns and Slavery." Notre Dame Magazine. October 22, 2015.
  • "Writing Involves Ethical Choices." In Adler-Kassner, L and E. Wardle. 2015. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts in Writing Studies. Logan: Utah State.
  • "Ethical Dispositions: A Discourse for Rhetoric and Composition." JAC: A Journal of Rhetoric, Culture, and Politics. 34. 1-2 (2014).
  • Literacy, Economy, and Power: Writing and Research after Literacy in American Lives. Eds. John Duffy, Julie Nelson Christoph, Eli Goldblatt, Nelson Graff, Rebecca S. Nowacek, and Bryan Trabold. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2014.
  • The Ethics of Metaphor." Chronicle of Higher Education: TheConversation. December 2, 2013.
  • Beyond Civility.” The Irish Rover. January 26, 2013.
  • "Virtues of Conversation: Ethics in the Writing Center." Another Word. October 8, 2012.
  • Virtuous Arguments.” Inside Higher Ed. March 16, 2012.

Recent Talks

  • “Enactments of Virtue.” Conference on College Composition and Communication, Houston, TX. April 8, 2016
  • “Talking With Strangers: The Ethical Dimensions of Teaching Writing.” Invited Lecture.  Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. October 29, 2015.
  • “Wherever the Just Exchange Their Messages: Teaching Writing as Ethical Discourse.” Invited Lecture.  University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH. October 9, 2015.
  • “Good People, Speaking Well: The Work of a Writing Center.” Keynote Address. East Central Writing Centers Association Conference, Notre Dame Indiana. April 10, 2015.
  • “Rhetorical Virtues: The Ethical Discourse of the Writing Classroom. Guest Speaker, Reimagining Student Writers Series. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. April 1, 2015.
  • "Beyond Civility: Addressing the Crisis in American Public Discourse." Saturday Scholars Series, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, November 22, 2014.
  • "Ethical Dispositions: A Discourse for Rhetoric and Composition." Keynote Address, Watson Conference, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, October 17, 2014.
  • "Rhetorical Virtues: Toward an Ethical Public Discourse." Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, Notre Dame, IN. April 22, 2014.
  • "Would You Fight for Prince Harry? (And Other Problems in the Rhetorical Tradition)." Eastern Correctional Facility, Wawarsing, Ulster County, NY. April 11, 2014.
  • "Moral Imaginations: The Work of a University Writing Program." Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA. April 7, 2014.
  • “Virtuous Words: Argument and Ethics in the University.” Indiana University-South Bend, South Bend, IN, February 9, 2012.
  • “After Arizona: First Year Writing and a Rhetoric of Ethical Practice.” Writing Democracy Conference, Texas A& M-Commerce, Commerce, TX, March 9, 2011. Keynote Speaker.


Contact Information
338 Decio Hall
(574) 631-9796

Postal address
Department of English
356 O’Shaughnessy
Notre Dame, IN 46556