Main Office: Peck Hall 302
Department Chair: Dr. Maria K. Bachman
Telephone: (615) 898-5644
Fax: (615) 898-5098
Member, Doctoral Faculty
Ph.D. (1987), University of Southern California; MA (1981), University of Southern California; BA (1975), University of Utah; First Year at MTSU: 2006
Office: PH 385; Phone/Voice Mail: 898-2606
James Comas joined the faculty in 2006. Much of his scholarly work and teaching is in the overlapping areas of the history of rhetoric and the history of criticism. A recent book, Between Politics and Ethics: Toward a Vocative History of English Studies (Southern Illinois UP '06), examines the interrelations of rhetoric, politics, and ethics in the development of American criticism during the 20th century. He is also the author of "Philosophy of Rhetoric," written for The Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition (Garland '96), and "Rhetoric," written for the Encyclopedia of Postmodernism (Routledge '01), as well as studies on African literary criticism, Kenneth Burke, Georges Bataille, and French linguist Émile Benveniste. Currently, he is completing two projects: (1) an historical study of the “disciplinary primer” in American literary studies, that is, a study of how the profession has represented itself to new generations of scholars through publications like the MLA’s Introduction to Scholarship in Modern Languages and Literatures; and (2) an examination of Kenneth Burke’s early conception of the rhetorical dimension of literary form, especially the influence of Bergson’s thinking on how early motion-picture technology can affect our understanding of temporality. In addition to courses in rhetoric and criticism, Dr. Comas teaches general literature (Introduction to Literary Studies) as well as courses in composition.