Desiree Dighton

Assistant Professor
Bate 2018


Desiree Dighton teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in professional and technical communication, visual rhetoric and design, and rhetorical studies. Her current research engages with technologies and their design affordances to better understand how people come together and impact contemporary issues of concern like gentrification. Through examining and harnessing technological-human engagements, she joins other scholars interested in the rhetorical examination of data, its attendant technologies, and the ethics and consequences of data collection in humanities research. Her research and teaching aspire to build better community-engaged pedagogical and research relationships, contribute rhetorical interventions toward housing justice, and produce communications that further students’ professional goals while also benefiting grassroots organizations and nonprofits.


  • B.A. in Rhetoric, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • M.F.A. in Fiction, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Ph.D. in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media, North Carolina State University
  • Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities, North Carolina State Universit

Research Interests

  • Feminist/decolonial research methods
  • Social movement rhetoric
  • Design justice
  • Rhetorical criticism
  • Space/place rhetoric

Courses Taught

  • ENGL 2885: Document Design
  • ENGL 3040: Introduction to Professional Writing
  • ENGL 3880: Writing for Business and Industry
  • ENGL 7770: New Media and Digital Literacies

Selected Publications and Presentations

  • Gries, Laurie, Watson, Blake., Kalin, Jason P., Pratt, Jaqui, & Dighton, Desiree. (forthcoming, 2022). “(Re) designing Innovation Alley: fostering civic living and learning through visual rhetoric and urban design.” In Into the Gateway: Project on Power, Place, and Publics, ed. Catherine Chaput & Amy Pason. (New York: Routledge).
  • Gries, Laurie, Watson, Blake., Kalin, Jason P., Pratt, Jaqui, & Dighton, Desiree. (April, 2020). (Re) designing Innovation Alley: fostering civic living and learning through visual rhetoric and urban design. Review of Communication, 20(2), 170-177.
  • Dighton, Desiree. (forthcoming, 2022). Arranging a rhetorical feminist methodology: The Visualization of anti-gentrification rhetoric on Twitter. In Girdharry, Kristi; Lesh, Charles; Pauszek, Jess (Eds.) Best of the Journals in Rhetoric and Composition 2021. Parlor Press.
  • Dighton, Desiree. (August, 2020). Arranging a rhetorical feminist methodology: Tableau, Twitter data, and anti-gentrification rhetoric. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. Special Issue: Data Viz in Writing Studies.
  • Dighton, Desiree. (May 19-22, 2022). “Encountering Anti-gentrification Activism’s Uncivil Tongue,” Computers and Writing Conference 2022, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • Dighton, Desiree. (May 26-29, 2022)“Lighting the Rhetorical Fire of Large-Scale Twitter Analysis: A digital-rhetorical framework for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing Twitter data,” Rhetoric Society of America Conference, Baltimore, MD.

Grants and Awards

  • Ansley, John (Archivist), Dighton, Desiree (Assistant Professor of English), Fleming, Clare (Archivist), & Norberg, Brian (Technologist). National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) CARES Grant, “The Digital Humanities Class Development Project.” Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, June-December, 2020
  • Dighton, Desiree. (2016-2017). “The Big Social Data on Gentrification: What’s Cultural Critique Got to Do with It?” NEH ODH Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities, “Space and Place in Africana/Black Studies: An Institute on Spatial Humanities Theories, Methods and Practice for Africana Studies.”