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Faculty Directory

Communication and Emerging Media

William D. Harpine, PhD


William D. Harpine was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Virginia. He holds degrees from The College of William and Mary (B.A. in philosophy),  Northern Illinois University (M.A. in speech communication), and The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Ph.D. in speech communication). While in college, he was a member of the debate team and student government, was editorial editor of the College of William and Mary newspaper, The Flat Hat, and was initiated into Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha and Omicron Delta Kappa honorary fraternities.

He joined the University of South Carolina Aiken in July 2005; previously he was a member of the faculties at the University of Akron, The College of William and Mary, and Iowa State University. He belongs to the National Communication Association, and the Southern States Communication Association. His principal research interests are in the theory of argumentation, rhetorical theory, and presidential public speaking. He served as the 2010-2011 President and the 2011-2012 Past President of the Association for Communication Administration. He was the Chair of the Argumentation and Forensics Division of the National Communication Association in 2005, and was elected to the National Communication Association's Legislative Assembly two -year terms from 2005-2006 and 2015-2016. He is an avid reader and plays classical guitar as a hobby.

William Harpine retired from the University of South Carolina Aiken faculty in May 2017.

About Me:

Welcome to my webpage! During my happy time as a professor at the University of South Carolina Aiken, I taught Public Speaking, Political Rhetoric, and other speech communication courses.

My research interests include argumentation and debate, rhetoric of the imperialist period, message delivery, and children's oral communication. 


PhD, Speech Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1982. Thesis: Foundations of the Theory of Argument, directed by Joseph W. Wenzel

MA, Speech Communication, Northern Illinois University, 1974

BA, Philosophy, College of William and Mary, 1973


National Communication Association

Association for Communication Administration


My research interests include argumentation and debate, rhetoric of the imperialist period, message delivery, and children's oral communication. I have recently studied presidential debates, and have worked on the rhetoric of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, as well as as studies of conspiracy rhetoric. 


My most recent publication, "The Illusion of Tradition: Spurious Quotations and the Gun Control Debate," is an article about fake Founding Fathers quotations that pro-gun people often use to oppose gun control. It is available from the library database Communication & Mass Media Complete. I am working on book chapters about the 2004 presidential debates between George W. Bush and John Kerry.

If you would like to read my book, From the Front Porch to the Front Page: McKinley and Bryan in the 1896 Campaign, it is available in the Gregg-Graniteville Library and the USC Aiken Bookstore.


Communication Ethics: 
Communications students should study the National Communication Association's Ethical Credo.

Students interested in public relations should study the Public Relations Society of America’s Code of Ethics

Students interested in print or electronic journalism should study the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.


Harpine, W. D. “A Timekeeper of Progress: Time Metaphors and Policy Reversal in William McKinley’s Last Speech.” Paper presented at National Communication Association Convention, Philadelphia, PA, 13 November 2016.

Harpine, W. D. “Using Multi-Media to Help Students Read Prosodically.” G.I.F.T.S. activity presented at the 2016 National Communication Association Convention, Philadelphia, PA, 10 November 2016.

Harpine, W. D., and Cederstrom, C. D. “Using Media and Technology to Teach Reading in Community-Based Settings.” Presentation/Discussion at the 2016 American Psychological Association Convention, Denver, CO, 7 August 2016. 

Harpine, W. D. "The Sandy Hook Hoax? The Burden of Proof in Conspiracy Rhetoric." Presented at the 2015 National Communication Association Convention, Las Vegas, NV, 21 November 2015. 

Harpine, W. D. "Reaching Beyond Psychology: Sandy Hook--One Community's Effort at Healing. Presented at the 2015 American Psychological Association Convention, Toronto, ON, 7 August 2015.

Harpine, W. D. “Reaching Out Beyond Psychology to Improve Communication in Training Programs.” Presented at the 2015 American Psychological Association Convention, Toronto, ON, 6 August 2015.

Harpine, W. D. "Connecting the Future with Tradition: William Jennings Bryan and Woodrow Wilson's November 1916 Speeches about Preparing for the Great War." Paper presented at the 2013 National Communication Association Annual Convention, Washington, DC, 22 November 2013.

Harpine, W. D.  "Phony Quotations and the Gun Control Debate: The Manufacturing of an Argument from Tradition." Paper presented at the 2013 National Communication Association Annual Convention, Washington, DC, 21 December 2013. 

Harpine, W. D. "A Multi-Faceted Assessment Process Based on a Senior Communication Capstone."  Paper presented at the 2013 National Communication Association Annual Convention, Washington, DC, 20 November 2013.

Harpine, W. D. "Using Multi-Media to Help Children Overcome Stigmatization in Low Socio-Economic Community Programs." Paper presented at the 2013 American Psychological Association Convention, Honolulu, Hawaii, 31 July 2013.



Harpine, W. D.From the Front Porch to the Front Page: McKinley and Bryan in the 1896 Campaign.General Ed. Martin J. Medhurst. Presidential Rhetoric Series 13. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2005. 219 pp. + index.

Harpine, W. D.Study Guide for Joseph DeVito’s Interpersonal Communication Book, 9th ed. New York: Longman, 2000. (260 pp.) 

Book Chapters:

Harpine, W. D. “Can a Speech and a Song Change a Country? Obama’s Eulogy of Clementa Pinckney.” Ed. Sean Patrick O’Rourke and Melody Lehn. Was Blind but Now I See. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. Forthcoming.

Harpine, W. D. “William McKinley and the Emergence of the Modern Rhetorical Presidency.” Ed. Martin J. Medhurst. Before the Rhetorical Presidency. 307-328. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2008.


Harpine, W. D. “Spurious Quotations and the Gun Control Debate: The Manufacturing of an Argument from Tradition.” Argumentation and Advocacy 52 (2016): 151-164.  

Harpine, W. D. “African American Rhetoric of Greeting During McKinley’s 1896 Front Porch Campaign.” Howard Journal of Communication 21 (2010): 40-55. Refereed. 

Harpine, W. D. “Universalism in Policy Debate: Utilitarianism, Stock Issues, and the Rhetorical Audience.” Speaker and Gavel 46 (2009): 15-24. Refereed. 

Harpine, W. D. “Analyzing How Rhetoric is Epistemic: A Reply to Fuller.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 38 (2005): 82-88. Invited. 

Harpine, W. D. “Genung’s Theory of Persuasion: A Literary Theory of Oratory of Late Nineteenth-Century America.” Advances in the History of Rhetoric 7 (2004): 31-43Refereed. 

Harpine, W. D. “What Do You Mean, Rhetoric Is Epistemic?” Philosophy and Rhetoric 37 (2004): 335-352. Refereed.

Harpine, W. D. “Is Modernism Really Modern? Uncovering a Fallacy in Postmodernism.” Argumentation 18 (2004): 349-358. Refereed.

Harpine, W. D. “‘We Want Yer, McKinley’: Epideictic Rhetoric in Songs from the 1896 Presidential Campaign.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 34.1 (2004): 73-88. Refereed. 

Harpine, W. D. “Bryan’s ‘A Cross of Gold’: The Rhetoric of Polarization at the 1896 Democratic Convention.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 87 (2001): 291-304. Refereed. 

Harpine, W. D. “Playing to the Press in McKinley’s Front Porch Campaign: The Early Weeks of a Nineteenth-Century Pseudo-Event.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 30.3 (2000): 73-90. Refereed.

Harpine, W. D. “Epideictic and Ethos in the Amarna Letters: The Withholding of Argument.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 28.1 (1998): 81-98. Refereed.

Harpine, W. D. “Stock Issues and Theories of Ethics.” Southern Journal of Forensics 1 (1996): 166-182. Refereed. 

Harpine, W. D. “The Appeal to Tradition: Cultural Evolution and Logical Soundness.” Informal Logic 15 (1993): 109-119. Refereed. 

Harpine, W. D. “The Argument of Extreme Variation Does Not Prove Field Dependence.” Ohio Speech Journal 27 (1989): 48-55. Refereed. 

Harpine, W. D. “Can Rhetoric and Dialectic Serve the Purposes of Logic?” Philosophy and Rhetoric 18 (1985): 96-112. Refereed. 

Harpine, W. D. “The Theoretical Bases of Stock Issues.” The Forensic of Pi Kappa Delta 70 (1984): 6-14. Refereed.

Harpine, W. D. “Stock Issues in Aristotle’s Rhetoric.” Journal of the American Forensic Association 14 (1977): 73-81. Refereed.

Book Reviews:

Harpine. Rev. of The Evolutionary Rhetorical Presidency: Tracing the Changes in Presidential Address and Power, by Ryan Lee Teten. Presidential Studies Quarterly 42 (2012): 227-229.   

Harpine, W. D. Rev. of Minority Victory: Gilded Age Politics and the Front Porch Campaign of 1888, by Charles W. Calhoun. Indiana Magazine of History 107 (2011): 73-74. 

Harpine, W. D.Rev. of In the Name of Terrorism: Presidents on Political Violence in the Post-World War II Era, by Carol K. Winkler. Southern Communication Journal 72 (2007): 303-304. 

Harpine, W. D. “The Rhetoric of Globalization: The Iraq War and Multinationalism.” Rev. of Globalization and Empire: The U.S. Invasion of Iraq, Free Markets, and the Twilight of Democracy, by Stephen John Hartnett and Laura Ann Stenghrim. Review of Communication 7 (2007): 213-215. 

Harpine, W. D. Rev. of Judging Lincoln, by Frank J. Williams. Rhetoric & Public Affairs 6 (2003): 790-792.

Harpine, W. D. “The Neo-Aristotelian Framework in Postmodern Times: Communication Criticism in the Media Age.” Rev. of Communication Criticism: Developing Your Critical Powers, by Jodi R. Cohen. Review of Communication 3 (2003): 305-307.

Harpine, W. D. Rev. of We Want Our Freedom: Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Movement, by W. Stuart Towns.Southern Communication Journal 68 (2003): 358. 

Harpine, W. D. “From Slavery to Enlightenment: Southern Rhetoric Revisited.” Rev. of Oratory and Rhetoric in the Nineteenth-Century South: A Rhetoric of Defense, by W. Stuart Towns, and Public Address in the Twentieth-Century South: The Evolution of a Region, by W. Stuart Towns. Review of Communication 1 (2001): 159-164.