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Kenneth Zagacki


Department of Communication

Winston Hall NA

View CV 


Ken Zagacki is a Professor of Communication and former Head of the Department of Communication at NC State University.

Office Hours

  • Mon: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Tue: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Wed: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Thu: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Fri: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Or By Appointment


His current research projects include studies of Thomas Merton’s 1964 ethos of rhetoric in his “Letters to a White Liberal” (to be published in the Journal of Communication and Religion), President Barack Obama’s “Christian Realism” in his Dallas Speech commemorating the deaths of five Dallas police officers, dialectical tensions in the commemorative paintings of the German artist Anselm Kiefer, and social drama and scientific memory in failed medical clinical trials.

Research Publications

Gallagher, Victoria J., Zagacki, K., and Swift, J. (2020) “From ‘Dead Wrong’ to Civil Rights History: The Durham ‘Royal Seven,’ Martin Luther King’s 1960 ‘Fill Up the Jails’ Speech, and the Rhetoric of Visibility,” in O’Rourke, S. and Pace, Lesli K. (Eds.) Like Wildfire: The Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Sit­ Ins. (Columbtia, SC: University of South Carolina Press).

Gallagher, V.J., Zagacki, K. and Martin, K.N. (2013). Communicative spaces and rhetorical enactments: How and why urban parks enhance (or fail to enhance) civic life. In Matsaganis, M., Gallagher, V.J. & Drucker, S. (eds.) Communicative Cities in the 21st Century: Urban Communication Reader III, (London: Peter Lang).

Gallagher, V., Zagacki, K.S., & Martin, K. N. (2011). Materiality and urban communication: The rhetoric of communicative spaces. In Communication Matters: Materialist Approaches to Media, Mobility and Networks Jeremy Packer & Stephen B. Crofts Wiley (ED), New York: Routledge Press.

Grano, D. & Zagacki, K.S., (2011). “Cleansing the superdome: The paradox of purity and post-Katrina guilt.” Quarterly Journal of Speech97, 201-223.

Zagacki, K.S. & Gallagher, V. (2009). “Rhetoric and materiality in the Museum Park at the North Carolina Museum of Art.” Quarterly Journal of Speech. 95, 171-191.

Zagacki, K.S. (2008). “Preserving heritage and wilderness: Defining the North Carolina ‘OLF’ controversy.” Southern Communication Journal. 73, 261-279.

 Zagacki, K.S. (2007). Constitutive rhetoric reconsidered: Constitutive paradoxes in G. W. Bush’s Iraq War Speeches. Western Journal of Communication. 71, 272-293.

Jones, K.T., Zagacki, K.S. & Lewis, T. (2007). Communication, liminality, and hope: The September 11th Missing Person Posters. Communication Studies. 58, 105-121.

Zagacki, K.S. & Fitzgerald, P. (2006). Rhetoric and anger. Philosophy & Rhetoric. 4, 290-309.

Gallagher, V. & Zagacki, K.S. (2007). Visibility and rhetoric: Life photographs of the Selma Marches of 1965.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly. 37 113-135.

Gallagher, V. & Zagacki, K.S. (2005). Visibility and rhetoric in Norman Rockwell’s depictions of Civil Rights. The Quarterly Journal of Speech. 2, 175-200.


Ph.D. Rhetorical Theory and Criticism University of Texas, Austin 1986

Area(s) of Expertise

Teaches classes in rhetorical theory and criticism, ethics of communication, communication theory. His research interests include the study of presidential speeches about American foreign policy, the rhetoric of scientific argumentation, the rhetorical dimensions of visual communication, and the relationship between philosophy and rhetoric. He has published numerous articles in major scholarly journals, including the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Philosophy & Rhetoric, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs.