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Faculty Profile

William Purcell

William Purcell

Professor of Communication; Chair of Communication and Journalism

Email: purcell@spu.edu
Phone: 206-281-2404
Office: Marston 208


Education: BA, Auburn University, 1976; MA, University of Alabama, 1983; PhD, Indiana University, 1986. At SPU since 1995.

William Purcell teaches courses in “Communication Theory,” “Rhetorical Theory,” “Argumentation,” “Public Speaking,” and “Interpersonal Communication.” He has also taught a University Core class, “Art in the Christian Community,” since 1999. A member of the SPU faculty since 1995, Dr. Purcell taught previously at Augustana College and the University of Washington. His research areas include the history of rhetorical theory, American public address, and rhetorical/literary criticism. He has published two books:  Ars poetriae:  Rhetorical and Grammatical Invention at the Margin of Literacy (1996) and The Rhetorical Short Story: Best American Short Stories on War and the Military, 1915–2006 (2009). 

Dr. Purcell is an active member of St. John United Lutheran Church, where he sings in the choir. He has served as Chair of the Board of Columbia Lutheran Ministries and is currently a member of the board of Lutheran Campus Ministries at the University of Washington.


Books

The Rhetorical Short Story: Best American Short Stories on War and the Military, 1915-2006

University Press of America, 2009

Purcell examines more than 90 short stories as rhetorical artifacts of nearly a century of American history. The more than 75 authors present a pastiche of American voices, from the early days of the Great War to the ongoing conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ars Poetriae: Rhetorical and Grammatical Invention at the Margin of Literacy

University of South Carolina Press, 1996

Purcell examines the six Latin artes poetriae, or works intended to instruct in the composition of prose and poetry, contending that because of their position in the shift from oral to written communication, they reveal much about the nature of rhetoric and grammar. 

Selected Publications

  • William M. Purcell, “Ancient Arts for the Age of technology: Dialectic, Grammar, and Rhetoric as the Foundation for Technology,” International Journal of the Humanities 2 (2004):  41218.
  • William M. Purcell and Robert Chamberlain, “The Limits of Discourse: A Rhetorical Analysis of Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus,” Journal of the Northwest Communication Association 34:1–15), 2005.
  • William M. Purcell, The Rhetorical Short Story: Best American Short Stories on War and the Military, 1915–2006. University Press of America, 2009.
  • Lorelle Jabs, William M. Purcell, and Thomas Trzyna, “A Brief Report on College Student Nannies,” ERIC (ED 507381).
  • William M. Purcell, “‘How Shall I Be Saved’: The Salvation of Mrs. Curren in Coetzee’s Age of Iron, Transnational Literature 6 (2013).

Bill Purcell

Why I Teach at SPU

Bill Purcell, Professor of Communication; Chair of Communication and Journalism

“I have had the great privilege of going to college for over 35 years in one capacity or another. I have spent the last 20 at Seattle Pacific. My life is continually enriched by the interaction with students and colleagues, aged 17 to 70, who study subjects as diverse as biology and Bible, theology and theatre, music and mathematics, business and biochemistry, history and health and human performance, English and economics. That’s why I teach at Seattle Pacific.”

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