Welcome to my personal website.

My name is James Chase Sanchez, and I am an Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric at Middlebury College. My research explores racial and cultural rhetorics, public memory, and writing assessment.


My interests in race and public memory intertwine in my dissertation (and book project) Preaching Behind the Fiery Pulpit: Rhetoric, Self-Immolation, and Public Memory, which investigates why a white preacher, Charles Moore, self-immolated to “protest racism” in my hometown of Grand Saline, TX 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 defines his memory. My dissertation argues that Moore was impacted by the local folklore of racism that has been sensationalized in my hometown for 100 years. This led him to define the town as racist, which prompted a public discussion of what racism looks like in the 21st century. 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. I am currently developing a book proposal stemming from this project.

From my dissertation, I was able to produce a feature documentary, titled Man on Fire, which has screened at the Slamdance Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and San Luis Obispo Film Festival and will be on the festival circuit throughout 2018. The film won an International Documentary Association Award in 2017.

Moore Notes on Failure to Self-Immolate
This image illustrates two notes Moore wrote on failing to self-immolate on June 20th and June 21st, before eventually choosing the flames on June 23rd, 2014.

As a researcher, I have published articles or have articles in CCC, WPA, Present Tense, and Journal of Contemporary RhetoricI am also currently working on a co-authored book manuscript (contracted with WAC Clearinghouse) tentatively titled Race, Rhetoric, and Research Ethics.

As a teacher, I have taught courses ranging from introductions to composition to more detailed subjects, such as “Race, Rhetoric, and Protest” and “Traditions of Rhetoric.” 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, an “About Me” section, my research profile, a more detailed section for my film, and my blog. If you would like to contact me or have any questions, please feel free to email me at jcsanchez@middlebury.edu.

An image from my analysis on the Confederate Defenders of Charleston in Present Tense