Christa J. Olson

Assistant Professor
6187d Helen C. White Hall
(608) 263-3822
E-mail Christa J. Olson
Rhetorical history, theory, and criticism; visual rhetoric; Latin America

Degrees and Institutions

Ph.D. English & Writing Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2010

M.A. Performance Studies, New York University, 2001

B.A. Arts & Social Justice, The Paracollege, St. Olaf College, 2000

Selected Publications

  • Hawhee, Debra, and Christa Olson. “Pan-Historiography: The Challenges of Writing History across Time and Space.” Theorizing the Historiography of Rhetoric. Forthcoming.
  • “Performing Embodiable Topoi: Strategic Indigeneity and the Incorporation of Ecuadorian National Identity.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 96.3 (August 2010): 300-323.
  • “Casta Painting and the Rhetorical Body.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 39.4 (October 2009): 307-330.                   
  • “Burke’s Attitude Problem.” College Composition and Communication (“Re/Visions” feature) 60.2 (December 2008): W19-W29.

Research Interests

19th and 20th century visual cultures in the Americas; historical methods and methodological pedagogy; publics, democracy, nationalisms, & transnationalism; coloniality and post-colonialism.

Teaching Areas

I teach courses in visual rhetoric, research methods, and the history of rhetoric. I enjoy working with students as they encounter, provide context for, and analyze persuasive artifacts of all types (images, speeches, texts, performances, etc.).

Recent Books

  • Constitutive Visions

    Christa J. Olson

    Penn State University Press


    In Constitutive Visions, Christa Olson presents the rhetorical history of republican Ecuador as punctuated by repeated arguments over national identity. Those arguments--as they advanced theories of citizenship, popular sovereignty, and republican modernity--struggled to reconcile the presence of Ecuador's large indigenous populations with the dominance of a white-mestizo minority.