Donovan Bisbee

 Donovan Bisbee

Contact Information

3001 Lincoln Hall,MC-456
702 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801
Graduate Student
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Donovan Bisbee is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on how legal arguments develop and circulate in public life. Although legal discourse is often characterized by a technical vocabulary, arguments about  rights, justice, and the bounds of state power inflect public discourse and address audiences far beyond courtroom doors. His dissertation examines how  presidents have redefined the nation and its Constitution through rhetorical conflict with the judiciary in times of national crisis. It explores the  presidency as a historical, political, and communicative institution and excavates the arguments with which powerful presidents have remade their office, the judiciary, and the nation. 

He has published scholarly work in Rhetoric & Public Affairs and is developing an  article manuscript on Andrew Jackson's veto messages.

Research Interests

  • Rhetoric and Public Discourse
  • Communication and Culture


  • M.A. University of Illinois, 2014
  • B.A. Wabash College, 2012

Distinctions / Awards

  • 2019 Ruth S. and Charles H. Bowman Award, Department of Communication
  • 2018-2019 Nina Baym Dissertation Completion Fellowship
  • 2018 Jesse Delia Outstanding Article Award, Department of Communication
  • 2014 James L. Golden Outstanding Student Essay in Rhetoric Award, National Communication Association


  • CMN 396: Communication and Law in Everyday LIfe
  • CMN 340: Visual Politics
  • CMN 211: Business Communication
  • CMN 111/112: Oral and Written Communication I and II
  • CMN 101: Public Speaking

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Bisbee, Donovan Driving the Three-Horse Team of Government: Kairos in FDR’s Judiciary Fireside Chat Rhetoric & Public Affairs 21 3 2018, p. 481-522.