Kenneth Walker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, English

Kenneth Walker


I am from the deserts of Nevada/Alta California/Washoe Territory where rivers flow from the mountains into a great basin and do not return to the ocean. These regions taught me how place, space, and environments are sites of inquiry to critically examine settler colonialism, democratic politics, racialized economies, cross-cultural coalitions, slow ecology, spiritual guidance, and living the good life. My academic career centers around these inquires and practices in my scholarship on environmental and ecological rhetorics and in my practice as an engaged member of transdisciplinary environmental science teams and multiple community organizations in San Antonio and across the Southwest. Because my own academic training fostered critical cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural thought and practice with an emphasis on rhetoric and democratic politics, I also seek to cultivate these characteristics in my own students

My community-engaged research in borderlands rhetorical ecologies combines transnational praxis with transdisciplinary environmental humanities through rhetoric and writing studies. Born in the Great Basin in Nevada/Alta California/Washoe Territory, I currently have three areas of active research: 1) a grant-funded transdisciplinary environmental justice project called the #UrbanBirdProject—a community-engaged nature and culture program that integrates Avian Ecology, Mexican American Studies, and Indigenous Studies through local, migratory, and culturally significant birds; 2) Transnational climate and environmental justice rhetorics, especially how local communities respond to extreme weather events to foster coalitions, cooperation, and resurgence; and 3) user experience, content strategy, and information design in critical-cultural approaches to digital storytelling with technical/scientific communication..


At the graduate level, I teach courses in Rhetorical Theories & Methods (English 6013), Histories of Rhetoric (English 5133); Environmental Justice Rhetorics (English 6023); and Writing Pedagogies (English 5183). At the undergraduate level, I teach courses in technical writing and communication (Eng 2413), environmental rhetoric (Eng 3383/3413), and intersectional environmentalisms (Eng 4913). I advise students conducting research in racial rhetorical criticism, environmental justice, transdisciplinary environmental humanities, and ecology.

Prospective Students
My humanities research studio is currently accepting a few BA students and one MA student with interests in one or more of the following areas: borderlands rhetorics and (de)coloniality, transdisciplinary environmental humanities, environmental justice rhetorics, technical and professional communication, and ecocriticism.

Previous/Current Students: Carolina Hinojosa (PhD in progress), Olarotimi Ogungbemi (PhD in progress), Michael Gallaway (PhD, Professional Lecturer at DePaul University), Lyndsey Lepovitz (MA, Grant Development Coordinator at UTSA), Christina Jordan (MA), and Jasmin Hale (BA), Gabriel Aguilar (BA, PhD Student at Penn State University), and Katie Sanchez (BA, MA Student at Texas Tech U).

Research Interests

  • Rhetoric, Ecology, & Borderlands
  • Transdisciplinary & Transnational Environmental Humanities
  • Critical-Cultural Science & Technology Studies
  • Technical Communication
  • Rhetoric & Writing


Ph.D. Rhetoric and Composition, University of Arizona (2015)
M.A. English. University of Nevada, Reno (2009)
B.A. Nature and Culture. University of California, Davis (2005)

Honors and Awards


2022 Lutcher Brown Fellowship, University of Texas, San Antonio. ($25,000). The Lutcher Brown Endowment for Academic Excellence is offered to recently tenured faculty to accelerate the success of their research. Fellows are nominated by academic leadership and selected by the provost. (Competitive Fellowship).

2015 Patrick Dissertation Fellowship, Department of English, University of Arizona. ($5,000). A graduate fellowship that included a release from teaching for one semester in order to focus on dissertation research. (Competitive Fellowship).

2011-2013 Carson Scholars Program, Institute of the Environment, University of Arizona. ($10,000). A competitive and funded fellowship for communicating environmental science typically reserved for scientists. Activities include development of communication and leadership skills through interdisciplinary workshops based in new media; seminars with visiting speakers including Andy Revkin, Susan Joy Hassol, and Jon Krosnick; funding solicitation through state-wide donor presentations; and bi-monthly meetings. Mentored under Julia Cole (Geo-Sciences), Rafe Sagarin (Marine Ecology and Environmental Policy) and Chris Cokinos (English).

2010 First-Year Graduate Student Fellowship, Department of English, University of Arizona, (Competitive Fellowship).


2021 Innovation and Impact (I2) Award. UTSA University Excellence Awards. April 23rd. w/ Amaury Nora, Benjamin Tuggle, Jeffrey Hutchinson, Gwen Young, Sue Hum, & Juliet Ray. (Competitive Award).

2018 Technical and Scientific Communication Award for Best Article Reporting Historical Research or Textual Studies in Technical and Scientific Communication. Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). (Competitive Award).

2015 Janice Lauer Award ($200), Rhetoric Society of America Institutes, in recognition of my research contributions and potential in the field of rhetorical studies.

2014 Joanna Ploeger Memorial Award ($100), Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology award for best overall paper at the National Communication Association (NCA) conference. (Competitive award).

2014 ATTW Graduate Research Award ($500), Association of Teachers of Technical Writing. October. Award funded my 2015 conference travel and featured a panel on works in-progress (Competitive Award).

2013 Article of the Year Award. Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology. w/ Lynda Walsh (Competitive Award).

2013 Writing Program Fellowship Award ($3000), The Writing Program, University of Arizona, Spring (Competitive Award). Project Funded archival research.

2012 Joanna Ploeger Memorial Award ($200), Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology award for best student paper at National Communication Association (NCA) conference. (Competitive Award).


Invited Talks & Guest Lectures

2023 Violence, Precarity, and Doing Rhetoric Otherwise in the Borderlands. Invited Speaker for the 22nd Rhetoric & Writing Studies Landmark Lecture. San Diego State University. w/ Sonia Arellano.

2023 Place, Liberation, Advocacy, Community, Environment (PLACE)-based Writing, Research, and Teaching in Transdisciplinary Rhetorical Studies. Invited Speaker for Writing and Rhetoric Across Borders Speaker Series. Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse. DePaul University. w/ Carolina Hinojosa.

2022 Climate Justice Movements as Radical Reasonable Reckoning with Colonial Risk. University of Alabama, Department of Geography, Environmental Decision Making. November. Guest Lecturer.

2022 Place, Politics, and the Pursuit of Environmental Justice. University of Washington, Urban@UW. May 16th. Invited Speaker.

2021 “Resilience as Shared Sacrifice in Una Culebra de Agua.” 2021 Westside History Symposium. November. Guadalupe Theater, San Antonio, Texas. Invited Speaker.

2022 “How We Hold Things Together, Parts 1 & 2: Community Science & Pluriversal Rhetorical Praxis in the #UrbanBirdProject. National Communication Association, Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, & Medicine (ARSTM). w/ Carolina Hinojosa, Amelia King-Kostelac, Paulina Hernandez-Trejo, Jennifer Smith, Claudia Garcia-Louis, Lauren Granger, Eres Gomez, & Renee Espinoza.

2022 “RSTM in Community,” Rhetoric Society of America, Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine Sponsored Panel. Baltimore, MD.

2022 “Rhetoric, Ethics, and Knowledge Coproduction: Engaging with Discourses of Transdisciplinarity,” Rhetoric Society of America (RSA), Baltimore, MD. w/ Carolina Hinojosa, Amelia King-Kostelac, & Paulina Hernandez-Trejo.

2021 “Community Science and Borderlands Rhetorical Praxis in the #UrbanBirdProject,” National Communication Association, Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine (ARSTM) Virtual Preconference. w/ Paulina Hernandez-Trejo.

Grants, Patents and Clinical Trials

Funded Grants
2023 Principal Investigator. The Urban Bird Project. ($1,523,000), Invited to submit by the Mellon Foundation, Higher Learning Program. w/ Jennifer Smith (Co-PI), Claudía Garcia Louis (Co-PI), Amelia King-Kostelac (Co-PI), and Lilliana Saldaña (Co-PI). Invited Submission. Submitted 30 January 2023; Fully Funded on March 9th, 2023.

2020 Seeding Success for Underrepresented Students: Informal STEM Learning through Community Science, Avian Ecology, and Ethnic Studies. ($269,000), Co-PI. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) Education Grant. w/ Jennifer Smith (PI), Claudía Garcia Louis, Amelia King-Kostelac (Co-PI), and Annette Portillo (Co-PI). Submitted 28 January 2020. Fully Funded 15 June 2020. (Competitive grant; 33% of contribution).

2018 Advancing and Strengthening Science Identity through Systematic Training (ASSIST). ($500,000), Co-PI. National Science Foundation (NSF), Research Traineeship (NRT), Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE). w/ Janis Bush (PI), Amaury Nora (Co-PI), Sue Hum (Co-PI), and Jeffrey Hutchinson (Co-PI). Submitted 25 October 2017. Fully Funded 31 July 2018. (Highly Competitive Grant, 7% Acceptance Rate; 50% of contribution).

2018 Advancing and Strengthening Science Identity through Systematic Training (ASSIST). ($275,000). Co-PI. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Education Individual Grant. w/ Janis Bush (PI), Amaury Nora (Co-PI), Sue Hum (Co-PI), Jeffrey Hutchinson (Co-PI), and Gwen Young (Co-PI). Submitted 3 April 2018. Fully Funded 12 July 2018. (Competitive Grant; 30% of contribution).

2018 Internal Research Awards Program (INTRA). ($5,000). University-wide award to support my book project in recognition of its potential to contribute to rhetorical studies (Competitive Award).

2014 CWPA Research Grant, 2013-2014 ($2,700), Co-PI. Council on Writing Program Administrators. July. w/ Aimee Mapes (PI) and Ana Ribero (Co-PI). (Competitive Grant).

2014 CCCC Research Initiative Grant, 2013-2014 ($10,000). Conference on College Composition & Communication. March. w/ Amy Kimme Hea (PI), Aimee Mapes, and Ana Ribero (Competitive Grant). 


Single Authored Monograph
2022 Walker, Kenneth. Climate Politics on the Border: Environmental Justice Rhetorics. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, Series in Rhetoric, Culture and Social Critique.


Articles in Peer-Reviewed Academic Journals
2022 Sci/Comm Scholars: A facilitated peer-to-peer working group for integrating rhetorical and social scientific approaches for inclusive science communication. w/ Amelia King-Kostelac, Eres Gomez, Mary Finucane, Sarah Gorton, Jamie Killian, Janis Bush, and Jennifer Smith. Frontiers in Environmental Science: Science and Environmental Communication, (15% of contribution).

2020 Divergence and diplomacy as a pluriversal rhetorical praxis of coalitional politics, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 50(4), 225-239.

2020 Resilience rhetorics in science, technology, and medicine, Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry (POROI), 15(1). w/ Lauren Cagle (50% of contribution).

2018 Validating the consequences of social justice pedagogy: Explicit values in course-based grading contracts. Michelle F. Eble & Angela M. Haas (Eds.), Key Theoretical Frameworks for Teaching Technical Communication in the 21st Century. Logan, UT: Utah State UP. pp. 46-67. w/ Cruz Medina (50% of contribution).

2017 A Year of Deliberating Danger(ously): A Network Topology of the Loaded Climate Dice. Lynda Walsh & Casey Boyle (Eds.), Topologies as Techniques for a Post-Critical Rhetoric. New York, NY: Palgrave-Macmillian. pp. 175-196.

2016 Mapping the contours of translation: Visualized un/certainties in the ozone hole controversy, Technical Communication Quarterly, 25(2), 104-120. *Winner of the 2018 Best Article Reporting Historical Research or Textual Studies in Technical or Scientific Communication from the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC).

2016 Perspectives on uncertainty for technical communication scholars, Technical Communication Quarterly 25(2), 71-86. w/ Lynda Walsh (50% of contribution).

2014 A choreography of living texts: Selections from the ARST Oral History Project. Rhetoric Review, 33(3), 262-280. w/ Jennifer Malkowski and Damien Pfister (40% of contribution).

2013 ‘Without evidence, there is no answer’: Uncertainty and scientific ethos in the Silent Spring[s] of Rachel Carson. Environmental Humanities, 2, 101-116.

2012 ‘No one knows what the ultimate consequences may be’: How Rachel Carson transformed scientific uncertainty into a site for public participation in Silent Spring. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 26(1), 3-34. w/ Lynda Walsh (50% of contribution).

2009 Walking the city: From aesthetics to ethics in The Cincinnati Arch. Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory, 10(2), 56-68.

2009 The effects of fire on the regeneration of a Quercus douglasii stand in Quail Ridge Reserve, Berryessa Valley (California). Journal of Forest Research, 14(2), 81-87. w/ José Ramón Arévalo, Pelayo Alvarez, Nelmi Navarez. (25% of contribution).