John Kephart received his B.A. and M.A. in Communication from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication. He finished his Ph.D. at USC in 2008, with an emphasis on Rhetorical Theory and Criticism and Gender Studies. His dissertation engages cultural responses to narratives of “masculinity crisis” within the United States in the late 20th, examining rhetorical strategy and cultural politics within popular culture and social movements.
Born in sunny Southern California, and raised in the beautiful San Fernando Valley, John is a Los Angeles native who loves the Dodgers and the sound of his own voice. Arguing with his parents from a young age, competitive debate has long been a part of John’s life as a competitor and coach for the last 13 years. He currently is the Director of Forensics at CSUN, which competes in a wide variety of debate and individual events and welcomes questions from any interested students.
Much to his father’s dismay, debate led not to a career in law but to a passion for teaching and working with students. John blends theoretical inquiry with practical application to create a collaborative learning environment devoted to critical thinking. He has taught a wide range of courses, including Argumentation, Gender and Media, Rhetorical Theory, and Small Group and Team Communication. As likely to quote The Big Lebowski in class as he is Aristotle, John believes that critical engagement is just as valuable in our everyday lives and mundane experiences as it is when examining issues of global significance.
While his dissertation focuses on masculinity and popular culture, John’s research interests also include public deliberation, presidential and other political debate, rhetorical criticism of popular culture, and political activism.