History of rhetoric; History of criticism; History of literary studies
James Comas earned the B.A. degree in English from the University of Utah and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English from the University of Southern California. Prior to joining the MTSU faculty in 2006, he held appointments at the University of Oklahoma, Syracuse University, and the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he helped to design and implement PhD programs in the area of rhetoric & composition studies. His book Between Politics and Ethics: Toward a Vocative History of English Studies (SIU Press, 2006) examines the interrelations of rhetoric, politics, and ethics in the development of American criticism during the 20th century. In addition, he has published articles on African literary criticism, the relationship of rhetoric and ethics, the relationship of postmodernism and rhetorical theory, as well as encyclopedia articles on the philosophy of rhetoric and the French linguist Émile Benveniste. Currently, he is completing an article-length study on the impact of World War I on the refashioning of academic professionalism within the Modern Language Association.