John Duffy

Profile 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

  • Provocations of Virtue: Rhetoric, Ethics, and the Teaching of Writing. Utah State University Press. In press.
  • “The Impossible Virtue: Teaching Tolerance.” Rhetoric Review. Volume 37, 2018-Issue 4, 364-370. Published online, 10 September 2018. Print publication, October 2018
  • Post-Truth and First-Year Writing.” Inside Higher Ed. May 8, 2017
  • "The Good Writer: Virtue Ethics and the Teaching of Writing." College English. Volume 79, Number 3, 2017. 229-250.
  • “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
  • "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).
  • 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

  • “Teaching Ethical Writing in Unethical Times.” Invited Speaker. Rhetoric Society of America, Purdue Chapter, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. November 10, 2017.
  • “Ethics and the Ethical Writer.” Invited Speaker. St. Mary’s College, South Bend, IN. November 3, 2017.
  • “The Character of Argument: Ethics in the College Classroom.” Invited Speaker. United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO. October 31, 2017
  • “Toward a Common Language: Teaching Ethical Argument in the Disciplines.” Invited Speaker. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY. August 30, 2017
  • “Sites of Resistance: Teaching Writing in a Post-Truth Culture.” Invited Speaker. St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY. August 31, 2017.
  • “The Futures of College Writing.” Invited Panelist. Symposium Sponsored by the University of Denver Writing Program, University of Denver, Denver, CO. June 15, 2017.
  • “Radical Humilities: Post-Truth, Ethics, and the Teaching of Writing.” Keynote Speaker. Annual Conference on the Teaching of Writing, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. April 7, 2017.
  • “As a Matter of Fact: Ethical Writing in a Post-Truth Culture.” Invited Speaker. Belmont University, Nashville, TN. February 20, 2017.
  • “Talking With Strangers: The Ethical Dimensions of Teaching Writing.” Invited Speaker.  Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. October 29, 2015.
  • “Wherever the Just Exchange Their Messages: Teaching Writing as Ethical Discourse.” Invited Speaker.  University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH. October 9, 2015.
  • “Rhetorical Virtues: The Ethical Discourse of the Writing Classroom. Invited Speaker. Reimagining Student Writers Series, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. April 1, 2015.


Contact Information
338 Decio Hall
(574) 631-9796

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