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Carolyn R. Miller

SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication, Emerita

Department of English



Carolyn R. Miller retired as SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication in June 2015, after 42 years on the NC State faculty. She started as an Instructor in January 1973.

Carolyn is the founding director of NC State’s Ph.D. in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media, established in 2005, and of the M.S. in Technical Communication, started in 1988; she also proposed and taught the first graduate courses for the M.A. option in Rhetoric and Composition, begun in 1984. She served as Director of Professional Writing in 1993–2002 and 2003–2004 and as coordinator of the undergraduate concentration in Writing and Editing (now Rhetoric and Professional Writing) from 1980–1985. She established and directed the Center for Communication in Science, Technology, and Management from 1995 to 1999 and co-directed its successor, the Center for Information Society Studies, from 1999 to 2003.

Her professional service includes terms on the governing boards of the American Society for the History of Rhetoric, the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the MLA Division on the History and Theory of Rhetoric and Composition, and the Rhetoric Society of America. She is a past president of the Rhetoric Society of America and was editor of Rhetoric Society Quarterly 2008–11. She has served on the editorial boards of College Composition and CommunicationJournal of Business and Technical Communication, Philosophy and Rhetoric, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and Written Communication.

Carolyn was Visiting Associate Professor at Michigan Tech and Penn State in 1988, Visiting Professor at Georgia Tech in 1991, and at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil in 2007. She was the Watson Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Louisville, Fall 2013. She has lectured in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Italy, Norway, and South Korea.

See profile on ResearchGate, Google Scholar, and Wikipedia.


Research Publications

Selected recent publications

“Genre Formation and Differentiation in New Media.” Writing as a Human Activity: Implications and Applications of the Work of Charles Bazerman. Eds. Paul M. Rogers, David R. Russell, Paula Carlino, and Jonathan M. Marine. University Press of Colorado, 2023. 393–405. DOI:10.37514/PER-B.2023.1800.2.16.

“Exercising Genres: A Rejoinder to Anne Freadman.” Contribution to special section, Reflections on “Genre as Social Action.” Canadian Journal for Studies in Discourse and Writing/Rédactologie, 30 (2020): 133–140, doi:10.31468/cjsdwr.843.

“Revisiting ‘A Humanistic Rationale for Technical Writing.’” Invited retrospective for special issue on Transdisciplinary Connections in Composition Studies and Technical and Professional Communication. College English 82:5 (2020): 443–448.

Miller, Carolyn R. and Molly Hartzog. “’Tree Thinking’: The Rhetoric of Tree Diagrams in Biological Thought.” Poroi: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis and Invention15.2 (2020): 1–61.

Miller, Carolyn R., and Amy J. Devitt, eds. Landmark Essays in Rhetorical Genre Studies. New York: Routledge, 2019.

Miller, Carolyn R., Amy J. Devitt, and Victoria J. Gallagher. “Genre: Permanence and Change.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 48.3 (2018): 269–77. Taylor & Francis Online.

“What Can Automation Tell Us About Agency?” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 37.2 (2007): 137–157. Reprinted in Fifty Years of Rhetoric Society Quarterly: Selected Readings, 1968–2018, ed. Joshua Gunn and Diane Davis. New York: Routledge, 2018, 183–200.

Reid, Gwendolynne and Carolyn R. Miller. “Classification and Its Discontents: Making Peace with Blurred Boundaries, Open Categories, and Diffuse Disciplines.” Composition, Rhetoric, and Disciplinarity, ed. Rita Malenczyk, Susan Miller-Cochran, Elizabeth Wardle, and Kathleen Blake Yancey. Louisville, CO: Utah State University Press, 2018. 87–110.

“Genre in Ancient and Networked Media.” Ancient Rhetorics & Digital Networks, ed. Michelle Kennerly and Damien Smith Pfister. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2018. 176–204.

“The Appeal(s) of Latour.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 47.5 (2017): 454–459 + references. Invited response to “Forum: Bruno Latour on Rhetoric.”

Miller, Carolyn R. and Ashley R. Kelly, eds. Emerging Genres in New Media Environments, first editor with Ashley R. Kelly. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. Edited collection of 14 essays from symposium held at NC State University, April 2013. Includes my introductory chapter, “‘Where Do Genres Come From?'” 1–34. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-40295-6.

Kelly, Ashley R. and Carolyn R. Miller. “Scientific and Parascientific Communication on the Internet.” Science and the Internet: Communicating Knowledge in a Digital Age, ed. Alan G. Gross and Jonathan Buell. Baywood Press, 2016; Routledge, 2017. 221–246.

Miller, Carolyn R. and Ashley R. Kelly. “Discourse Genres.” Verbal Communication, ed. Andrea Rocci and Louis de Saussure. Handbooks of Communication. DeGruyter Mouton, 2016. 269–286. DOI: 10.1515/9783110255478-015.

“Genre Innovation: Evolution, Emergence, or Something Else?” Journal of Media Innovations, 3.2 (2016): 4–19. DOI: 10.5617/jmi.v3i2.2432.

Work in Progress

“Rhetoric of Science,” with Leah Ceccarelli. In D. M. Gross, S. Mailloux, and L. Mao, Cambridge History of Rhetoric, Volume V. Invited chapter, volume under contract by Cambridge University Press.

“Present at the Creation: Rhetoric at the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, 1889–1900.” Archival research on the early English curriculum at NC State University.


“How Do Genres, Media, and Platforms Shape Our Perception and Our Communication?” Interview by Liz Fraley and Janice Summers for TC Camp, July 2022. YouTube video.

Scholarly interview for the independent website Master’s in The Premier Resource for Master’s in Communication Programs, April 2020.

Interview for Rhetoric Society of America Oral History Initiative, May 2018, published November 2019. Audio file and PDF transcript.

“Memoir, Blog, and Selfie: Genre as Social Action in Self-Representations,” lecture presented at the University of Helsinki, October 2018. University of Helsinki Unitube video.

Interview by Dylan Dryer, “The Fact That I Could Write About It Made Me Think It Was Real,” Composition Forum 31 (Spring 2015); part of a special issue with retrospectives, original articles, program profiles, and reviews following up on my work in genre theory.

Prof’s Pioneering Work Hailed,” by Brent Winter, NC State Bulletin, May 2014.

“Do Genres Evolve?” presented at Indiana University, November 2013. YouTube video.

Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology Oral History Project, interview, November 2012. YouTube video.

Interview, Figure/Ground Communication, July 2012.

“Do Genres Evolve? Should We Say That They Do?” Featured presentation at Genre 2012: Rethinking Genre 20 Years Later, An International Conference on Genre Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, June 2012. Video.


B.A. English Honors The Pennsylvania State University 1967

M.A. English The Pennsylvania State University 1968

Ph.D. Communication and Rhetoric Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 1980

Area(s) of Expertise

Digital rhetoric • Genre studies • Rhetorical theory • Rhetoric of science and technology • Technical and professional writing

Carolyn's current research focuses on genres of action and interaction in new media, such as blogs, webinars, scientific publication, and the many genres of videogames. How do conventions of stability such as genres emerge and develop in an environment of constant turbulence such as the internet? Can historical examples of genre change in traditional media such as film and print inform our understanding of new media? Answers to questions like these may help us better understand and manage the capacities of the new digital media.