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Faculty & Staff Directory

Stephen John Hartnett, PhD


Professor and Chair

Websites
Academia.edu
Prison Justice Project

Office Location: Plaza 102E
Phone: 303-556-2778
Fax: 303-556-6018
Areas of Expertise:
Communication and Social Justice; American History; Prison Pedagogy and Activism; and China, Tibet, and Globalization

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Stephen John Hartnett is Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at The University of Colorado Denver, where he is the editor of Captured Words/Free Thoughts, an annual magazine of poems and stories crafted by imprisoned writers. 

For the past 23 years, Hartnett has been teaching in, writing about, and working for change at America's prisons. He has taught college classes and poetry workshops in prisons and jails in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, California and Colorado, and has facilitated workshops, participated on panels, and given lectures against the death penalty in 28 states. His commentary on these subjects has appeared in Salon, AlterNet, In These Times, and others, and on MSNBC and over 100 radio stations. 

He is one of the co-founders of PCARE, a national group of scholars who work on Prison Communication Activism Research and Education. In recognition of this work, he has received numerous awards, including the Northwest Communication Association's 2008 Human Rights Award and the University of Colorado's 2010 Thomas Jefferson Award. 

In addition, Hartnett is the author or editor of 8 books and dozens of publications related to democracy, social justice, prisons, globalization and empire, and the death penalty. His publications appear in venues such as Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Argumentation & Advocacy, and Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. He is the recipient of numerous research awards, including the Winans and Wichelns Award for Distinguished Research in Public Address, the National Communication Association’s Golden Monograph Award, the Karlyn Kohrs Campbell Prize in Rhetorical Criticism, and a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. 

Working with the Department’s partners at the International College Beijing, Hartnett has developed a passion for working, teaching, and studying in China, where he has traveled each summer since 2009. This work led, in the summer of 2012, to a research trip to Hong Kong and Tibet, and has resulted in his launching a research project about the China-U.S. relationship. With the support of the Waterhouse Family Institute (affiliated with Villanova University), Hartnett and his research team returned to Tibet, Nepal, China, and India in the summer of 2013 to continue their research into modes of artful dissent on the “Roof of the World.” 

Please click here for a statement of Hartnett's experience and qualifications for NCA's Second Vice President.

Education & Degrees

PhD, University of California at San Diego, Literature with an emphasis in American History, 1992

MA, University of California at San Diego, Literature, 1990

BA, Rutgers College, English and Political Science, 1986

Select Publications

Refereed Books

 

2013  Hartnett, S. J. and J. K. Wood and E. Novek, editors.  Working for Justice: A Handbook of Prison Activism and Education. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

 

2012  Hartnett, S. J.  Executing Democracy, Volume Two: Capital Punishment & the Making of America, 1835-1845.  East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press.

 

2011  Hartnett, S. J., editor.  Challenging the Prison-Industrial Complex: Arts, Education, and Activist Alternatives.  Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press—this book won the PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

 

2010  Hartnett, S. J.  Executing Democracy, Volume One: Capital Punishment & the Making of America, 1683-1800.  East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press.

 

2006  Hartnett, S. J. and L. Stengrim.  Globalization & Empire: The U.S. Invasion of Iraq, Free Markets, and the Twilight of Democracy. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press [hardback in 2006, paperback in 2009].

 

2004  Hartnett, S. J.  Incarceration Nation: Investigative Prison Poems of Hope and Terror.  Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira.

 

2002  Hartnett, S. J.  Democratic Dissent & the Cultural Fictions of Antebellum America.  Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press—this book won the Winans and Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address from the National Communication Association.

 

2002  Branham, R. J. and S. J. Hartnett.  Sweet Freedom’s Song: “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and Democracy in America.  New York: Oxford University Press.

 

Refereed Publications in Journals​ 

2013  Hartnett, S. J.  On Postmodern Intellectuals, Implied Obligations, and Political Constituencies. Western Journal of Communication 77: 523-528.

 

2013  Hartnett, S.J.  “To Dance with Lost Souls”: Liu Xiaobo, Charter 08, and the Contested Rhetorics of Democracy and Human Rights in China.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 16: 223-274 (lead article).

 

2013  Hartnett, S.J. “Tibet is Burning”: Competing Rhetorics of Liberation, Occupation, Resistance, and Paralysis on the Roof of the World. Quarterly Journal of Speech forthcoming, published online on 10 July 2013.

 

2013  Hartnett, S.J.  The Folly of Fighting for Providence; or, the End of Empire and Exceptionalism. Cultural Studies ó Critical Methodologies 13: 201-214.

 

2011  Hartnett, S. J.  Google and the ‘Twisted Cyber Spy’ Affair: U.S.-China Communication in an Age of Globalization. Quarterly Journal of Speech 97: 411-434.

 

2011  Hartnett, S.J., and Jennifer K. Wood and Bryan McCann.  Turning Silence into Speech and Action: Prison Activism and the Pedagogy of Empowered Citizenship. Communication and Critical Cultural Studies 8: 331-352 (lead article).

 

2010  Hartnett, S. J.  Communication, Social Justice, and Joyful Commitment. Western Journal of Communication 74: 68-93—this essay won the Golden Monograph Award, for best scholarly article of the year, from the National Communication Association.

Courses Taught

COMM 2020 Communication and Citizenship

COMM 4040 Communication, Prisons, and Social Justice

In conjunction with COMM 4040, Hartnett takes teams of UCD students with him into Denver area prisons, where he teaches Public Speaking, Basic Composition, and Creative Writing courses.

COMM 4710/5710 Special Topics: Communication, China, and the U.S.

COMM 5710 Communication, Democracy, and Civic Engagement ​

COMM 5710 Communication, Globalization, and Social Justice

Awards & Media​

Recognition & Honors since 2002 

2013  Winner of the Kohrs-Campbell Prize in Rhetorical Criticism, for Executing Democracy, Volume 2: Capital Punishment and the Making of America, 1835-1845.

 

2012  Winner (one of three), the UCD College of Liberal Arts and Science’s Excellence in Research and Creative Activities Award.

 

2012  Winner, the Western States Communication Association’s 2012 Distinguished Teacher Award.

 

2011  Winner, the National Communication Association’s Golden Monograph Award, for best scholarly article of the year, for “Communication, Social Justice, and Joyful Commitment.”

 

2011  Winner (one of many) of a PASS Award (Prevention for a Safer Society), given by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, for Challenging the Prison-Industrial Complex.

 

2010  Winner (one of three) of the University of Colorado’s Thomas Jefferson Award.

 

2008  Winner (one of two) of the Northwestern Communication Association’s Human Rights Award.

 

2006  Honorable Mention, the University of Illinois’s Excellence in Mentoring Graduate Students Award.

 

2006  Named the University of Utah’s Sterling McMurrin Distinguished Visiting Professor.

 

2005  Winner of the University YMCA’s Frederick Miller Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service.

 

2005  Winner of the University of Illinois’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Alumni Discretionary Award, for distinguished service to the campus.

 

2004  Named one of the University of Illinois’s Helen Corley Petit Scholars of Liberal Arts and Sciences; this honor included a $7,500 research honorarium.

 

2003  Named a Research Fellow of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities; this appointment included a one semester leave from teaching.

 

2002  Winner of the National Communication Association’s Winans and Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, for Democratic Dissent & The Cultural Fictions of Antebellum America.

Recent Media Appearances​

2013  On August 2, my research into U.S., China, and Tibetan political rhetoric was featured on the University of Colorado “Newsroom” website, where David Kelly posted “Professor Sees Little Chance for Tibetan Independence, But Hope Lies in the Diaspora,” accessible at http://www.ucdenver.edu/about/newsroom/newsreleases/Pages/Tibetan-independence-looks-unlikely.aspx.

 

2013  On May14, I was the featured guest on The Real News.com, an independent, web-based TV show, discussing the history and contemporary state of the death penalty. The show is listed as “From Capital Punishment to Guns, Old Fears Weigh like a Nightmare on Today's Debate,” and is archived online at http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10184.

2013  On May 7, I was the host and featured speaker for “Lifers,” a roundtable discussion, poetry reading, and theater performance regarding the prison-industrial complex, as part of the Second Annual Art of Social Justice Conference, on the UCD campus. The poetry readings and theater skits were based on works published in Captured Words/Free Thoughts.

2013  On April 15, I was the invited guest on the More Talk Radio Show, discussing the history and contemporary state of the death penalty. The show is archived online at http://www.kboo.fm/content/moretalkradioon041513, and was played throughout the state of Oregon, on that states’ NPR affiliate, KBOO, on 90.7 FM in Portland, 91.9 in the Willamette Valley, and 100.7 in Corvallis.

2013  Co-organizer and event host for “Who Won the Iraq War? Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq,” featuring internationally-renowned journalists Reese Erlich and Normon Solomon, April 8, on UCD campus.

2013  On March 28, I was the invited guest on the nationally-syndicated Leslie Marshall Radio Show, discussing the history and contemporary state of the death penalty. The show airs on stations in 38 states; a complete list of stations playing the show, and an audio archive of the show, are both available online at http://www.lesliemarshallshow.com/.

2013  On March 27, I was the invited guest on MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” one of the nation’s highest-rated daytime news shows, discussing the history and contemporary state of the death penalty. The segment may be seen at http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-cycle/51353170.

2013  On March 27, I was the invited guest on the Peter Werbe Radio Show (America’s longest-running talk radio show!), discussing the history and contemporary state of the death penalty. The show is archived online at www.peterwerbe.com, and was played throughout the greater Detroit metro area on WCSX 94.7 FM and WMGC 105.1 FM; the show also streamed online via WCSX 94.7 HD2 and WMGC 105.1 HD2.

2013  On March 4, I was the invited guest on the Matthew Filipowicz Radio Show, discussing the history and contemporary state of the death penalty. The show is archived online at http://matthewf.net/2013/03/07/episode-202-with-stephen-john-hartnett-and-lee-camp/, and was played in Washington, D.C. on 1480 AM, “We Act Radio,” and in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on 1680 AM and 95.3 FM, “Public Reality Radio.”

2013  On February 26, I was the invited guest on the Mischke ‘Til Midnight radio show, broadcast across the U.S. Midwest and middle Canada on WCCO, 830 AM, the CBS affiliate of Minneapolis.  Conversation addressed Executing Democracy, Vol. 2: Capital Punishment & the Making of America, and the status of the death penalty in America. The show can be accessed at http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/audio-on-demand/the-nite-show-mischke-til-midnight/#.

 

2013  On January 24, I was the invited guest on Scotty Ledger’s Dangerous Conversation radio show, broadcast on the ​RadioIO online network. Conversation addressed Executing Democracy, Vol. 2: Capital Punishment & the Making of America, and the status of the death penalty and drug war in America. The show can be accessed at http://www.radioio.com/btls/2011/06/13/dangerous-conversation/