Dr. Tracy Whalen


Tracy  Whalen Title: Associate Professor, Rhetoric, Writing and Communications


Dr. Tracy Whalen is an Associate Professor in the department of Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications at The University of Winnipeg. Her research interests include the affective dynamics of rhetoric, specifically moments of intensity or theatricality in literary and non-literary texts. Her most recent published work highlights the rhetorical dimensions of charisma, iconicity, and embodied performance in the public sphere. She is currently conducting an ethnographic study that explores the intersections between vernacular gesture, piety and gender, a project that comes out of a longstanding interest in rhetorical delivery and identification.

Her fascination with the idea of piety sparked research into public performance and artist identity, specifically k.d. lang’s identification with Buddhism. This work served as the basis for a lecture she presented at the inaugural Spring Institute, “Is Canada Secular” in 2014. Piety—in its many instantiations—continues to inform her thinking and will no doubt serve as a generative point of entry in the CLASS research group.



McLeod Rogers, J., Whalen, T, and Taylor, C., eds. (2015). Finding McLuhan: The Man/The Mind/The Message. University of Regina Press.



Whalen, T. and McLeod Rogers, J. (2015) Marshall McLuhan: Transformations / Adaptations. Finding McLuhan: the Mind/The Man/The Message. University of Regina Press.

Whalen, T. (2014). Engendering Charisma: k.d. lang and the Comic Frame. Intertexts: A Journal of Comparative and Theoretical Reflection, 18(1), 9-28.

Whalen, T. (2014). k.d. lang’s Second Coming Out: Buddhism, Iconicity, and the Expressive Body. Peer Reviewed Proceedings of the 5th Annual Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand (PopCAANZ) Conference

Whalen, T. (2012). “Je t’aime, Papa”: Theatricality and the Fifth Canon of Rhetoric in Justin Trudeau’s Eulogy for his Father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Rhetor, 4, n.p.

Whalen, T. (2011). Writing Programs and Coming of Age: Thinking outside the Scare Quotes. Canadian Journal for Studies in Discourse and Writing, 23(1), 1-10.

Whalen, T. (2010). Resolution and Canadian Iconography: The “I-Canuck” Photograph? In J. Mcleod Rogers & C. Taylor (Eds.), Across the Disciplines: Academic Writing and Reading. Toronto: Pearson Canada.



Whalen, T. (2015). Understanding Marshall McLuhan as a Figure Informing Rhetoric and Composition Instruction. Canadian Association for the Study of Writing and Discourse. Ottawa, ON, 30 May-1 June. 

Whalen, T. (2015). It’s all in the Delivery: Marshall McLuhan as Theorist of Rhetoric’s Fifth Canon. Canadian Communication Association. Ottawa, ON, 3-5 June.

Whalen, T. (2014).  k.d. lang’s Second Coming-Out: Buddhism, Iconicity, and the Expressive Body, POPCAANZ: Popular Culture of Australia and New Zealand. Hobart, Tazmania, Australia, 18-20 June.

Whalen, T. and McLeod Rogers, J. (2013). “The Conversation Has Begun: Monologue of Containment OR Interactive Invitation?” Caring for Difficult Knowledge: Prospects for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. The University of Winnipeg’s Cultural Studies Research Group. The University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB, 27-29 September.

Whalen, T. (2012). From Newfoundland, with a wink: The Anglo-Irish “Newfoundland Nod” as Transnational Gesture. Western States Rhetoric and Literacies Conference, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB, 19-20 October.*

Whalen, T. and McLeod Rogers, J. (2012). The Material Messages of an Ethereal Project: Storying the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Linguistics Circle of Manitoba and North Dakota. Winnipeg, MB.11-13 October.

Whalen, T. (2012). Gendering Charisma: Delivery, Empathetic Rhetoric, and the Charismatic Woman. Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON, 20- 22 June.

Whalen, T. (2012). Cross-Border Collaboration in Charting a Department’s Future: Toward a North-American Conception of Rhetoric and Writing Studies, Conference for College Composition and Communication, St. Louis, Missouri, 22 March. [blind peer-reviewed panel presentation. 

Whalen, T. (2010). Playfulness, Theatricality, and Narrative Form in William Keegan’s Taino Indian Myth and Practice: The Arrival of the Stranger King. Biological and Cultural Landscapes of Indigenous People in pre-and Post-Contact Cuba, Department of Anthropology, University of Winnipeg, 2-3 September.

Whalen, T. (2010). “The Gesture has caused quite a stir”: Michaëlle Jaen’s Seal-Eating Moment as Image Event. Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric, Concordia University, 2-4 June.