Brandon Johnson

Brandon Johnson

Rock Ethics Institute Fellow
Ph.D. Candidate in Communication Arts and Sciences
316 Sparks Building University Park , PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae


A.S., John Tyler Community College, 2015
B.A., University of Richmond, 2017
M.A., Penn State University, 2020
Ph.D., Penn State University, anticipated 2024

Professional Bio

Brandon M. Johnson is a Rock Ethics Institute Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in Communication Arts & Sciences. He studies presidential rhetoric, the history of the presidency as an institution of power, and how presidential rhetoric interacts with rhetorics of race and gender. His essay on Herbert Hoover’s rhetoric of “rugged individualism,” which won the 2023 Kenneth Burke Prize in Rhetoric and the Carroll C. Arnold Award for Excellence in Research by a Graduate Student, is forthcoming in Rhetoric & Public Affairs. His work has also appeared in the interdisciplinary journal Politics and in the online textbook for CAS 175: Persuasion and Propaganda. In addition to CAS 175, he teaches CAS 100: Introduction to Public Speaking and CAS 210: Landmark Speeches in Democracy and Dissent. He has also served as a TA for CAS 311: Rhetorical Criticism. His research continues to take a critical look at the ways presidents exert power through rhetoric and how our perceptions of the presidency have evolved over time, with an emphasis on how the presidency has increasingly become conceptualized as equivalent to running a business within a paradigm of neoliberalism.