Welcome to my personal website.

My name is Dr. James Chase Sanchez, and I am an assistant professor of writing and rhetoric at Middlebury College. My research explores cultural and racial  rhetorics, public memory, and protest.

James Chase Sanchez

My interests in cultural rhetorics and public memory intertwine in my current book project, tentatively titled Salt of the Earth: The Rhetoric of White Supremacy, which investigates the various rhetorical strategies of white supremacy in my hometown of Grand Saline, TX. This work stems from my dissertation that analyzes why a white preacher, Charles Moore, self-immolated to protest racism in my hometown on June 23, 2014. In my dissertation, I examine Moore’s exigencies and arguments, connecting the global narrative of self-immolation to the local constraints that influenced his decision, and investigate the interpretations of his death from local residents, interpretations that I claim ultimately define his memory. Overall, my dissertation claims that to understand protest acts of extremism, we must do more mixed-methods research, combining the global with the local (such as combing global narratives of self-immolation to local, public memory exigencies that persuaded Moore to die) to develop new working theories on how extremism exists on both stages. However, the book project looks more concretely at white supremacy in Grand Saline and labels three rhetorical acts of white supremacy (identity creation, storytelling, and silencing) as they relate to an overarching rhetorical act, what I call “a rhetoric of preservation.”

My research afforded me the opportunity to produce a feature documentary, titled Man on Fire, which has screened at the Slamdance Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, San Luis Obispo Film Festival, and more. The film won an International Documentary Association Award in 2017 and aired on PBS, as a part of Independent Lens, in December 2018.

A still image from Man on Fire

As a researcher, I have published articles in CCC, WPA, Present Tense, and Journal of Contemporary RhetoricI am also currently finishing a co-authored book manuscript titled Race, Rhetoric, and Research Ethics (which has an advanced contract with WAC Clearinghouse).

As a teacher, I have taught courses ranging from introductions to composition to more subject-oriented classes, such as “Race, Rhetoric, and Protest,” “The Rhetoric of Public Memory,” and “Cultural Rhetorics.” I love the various experiences of teaching–the constant ebbs and flows of students and their writing–and these guide me to be innovative in the classroom space.

On the rest of my website, you will find my CV, my research profile, a more detailed section about the film and encompassing interviews, and my blog. If you would like to contact me or have any questions, please feel free to email me at jcsanchez @  middlebury.edu.

The poster for Man on Fire