Candice Rai (she/her)

Associate Professor
Photo of Candice

Contact Information

PDL A-401
Office Hours
On Leave. Email for an appointment.


B.F.A., Roosevelt University
M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago

Areas of Specialization

Rhetorical theory, public and material rhetorics, research methods, urban and spatial theory, political theory,  rhetoric and composition, community-engaged and place-based approaches

Research and Teaching Interests

Working at the intersections of rhetorical studies and composition studies, my work focuses on education and urban justice and engages in critical place-based approaches to studying public rhetoric and writing, political discourse, and ethical communication and action across difference. I understand language and culture as tied to the places and material conditions of everyday life. For me, this means that studying rhetoric is inextricable from studying place and that practicing rhetoric is to engage in worldmaking labors.

My first book, Democracy’s Lot: Rhetoric, Publics, and the Places of Invention (U of Alabama 2016), is an ethnographic study of everyday rhetorics and democracy-in-action in a politically, racially, and economically diverse Chicago neighborhood where stakeholders clashed over public space and urban development projects. My second book, Rhetorical Climatology (Michigan State Press, 2023) is a co-authored multigraph with Chris Ingraham, Jennifer LeMesurier, Bridie McGreavy, Nathan Stormer, and John Ackerman that explores institutional, ableist, racist, and environmental climates. Other scholarly projects and publications I’ve been part of focus on community-engaged and public writing, antiracist and equity-oriented writing pedagogy and program transformation, and theories and approaches to writing across difference.

I believe teaching and mentoring is the most important work I do here. I teach courses on composition theory and pedagogy; urban justice; critical place and geography; research methods and community-engaged approaches; rhetorical theory; rhetoric, ecology, and materiality; teacher development and equity-oriented pedagogies; and public rhetoric and writing. I directed UW’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) from 2014-2021, and I’m currently the faculty coordinator for PWR’s UW in the High School dual-enrollment writing program.


Selected Research

Courses Taught


Home Department

Related News