Welcome! I’m a scholar at Princeton who addresses issues of public concern around race and technology in ways that draw people in and make a significant social impact.

Closeup of Will Penman

I’m a Lecturer at Princeton in the Princeton Writing Program. I earned my PhD in Rhetoric in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University. Now, I'm moving to Philadelphia and will be commuting into Princeton, NJ several times a week. If you’re in the area, I’d love to get together. In the Research tab, I have links to my published and ongoing research projects on rhetoric, race, and technology. The Teaching tab describes some of the innovations I’ve made in teaching students first-year composition and professional writing, and hosts students’ digital work. A CV is available for a textual summary of my academic work. Finally, the Other tab has a variety of non-academic projects, from a blog to past hobbies, to activist work. You can contact me at wpenman@princeton.edu.


This fall I’ll be giving presentations at several conferences. In October, I’ll be presenting at the Rhetoric and Religion conference on a section from my dissertation about adapting liturgy for anti-racist work. I’ll also be presenting for the first time at Watson, with Joe Serio on how to build trust with students in the writing classroom. I’m excited to meet people at both of those conferences and learn from their research and feedback. In November, I’ll be returning to NCA to present on public arguments that people have recently been making about artificial intelligence (AI). I think this is an important emerging topic, and I’m excited to engage with thinkers and concepts in the Environmental Communication division. I may also be doing some scholarly juggling there in line with the conference theme of "communication at play"!


This spring and summer a lot of things came together. I just returned from Spain at my first international conference, where I presented on teaching ethics in professional writing classes. Notably, I had an article in QJS see publication: A rhetorical, field-based critique of ethical accountability. This article describes how researchers can more strongly act against racism, and reflects some of what I’ve learned during my dissertation as I’ve worked with people for extended amounts of time. I also had an article (written with Doug Cloud) be published in Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric: How people make sense of Trump and why it matters for racial justice. It analyzes media coverage of Trump during his campaign and early Presidency. We’ve been surprised how durable our findings are in the midst of so much political turmoil.

I also finished my dissertation this summer. And on the strength of my teaching portfolio, I won the CMU English Department's teaching award.