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Maegan Parker Brooks

Associate Professor

Headshot of Maegan Parker Brooks

Contact Information

Salem Campus

Ford Hall, Room 315
900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301
503-370-6977 (Fax)


PhD, Communication Arts with emphases in Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture and African American Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009

MA, Communication Arts with emphasis in Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2005

BA, Communication Studies, University of Puget Sound, 2003


Maegan Parker Brooks, PhD is an award-winning teacher-scholar devoted to public humanities research. She studies and teaches how people communicate about challenging topics—race, death, grief, and injustice—toward the creation of more just, equitable, and nurturing communities. Brooks's scholarship has taken both traditional forms (conference papers, peer-reviewed articles, and books published with a university press) as well as more public-facing forms, including a K-12 curriculum, a children’s book, a cartoon animation, a biography written for a general audience, and a PBS documentary. Presently, she is writing a general interest book that shares guided communication practices for grievers. She is also facilitating peer support conversations about grief on campus and in the community.


Communicating Race (CCM 104)

Remembering Emmett Till (IDS 105)

Talking About Death Won't Kill You (IDS 106)

Rhetorical Theory (CCM 221)

Grief Communication: Listening, Storytelling, and Dialogue (CCM 225)

Communicating Peace (CCM 330)

Communicating Self and Society (CCM 355W)

African American Public Discourse (CCM 346)

Making Lives Matter (CCM 360)

Find Your Voice: A Senior Experience (CCM 446W)

Senior Seminar (CCM 496W)

Selected Publications

Brooks, Maegan P. After: Listening to Loss (book manuscript in progress)

Brooks, Maegan P. “Listening to Layers of Loss.” Journal of Autoethnography, 4, 2 (2023): 174-192.

Brooks, Maegan P. (senior researcher and historical consultant) Fannie Lou Hamer’s America (aired on PBS and the WORLD Network, headlining the America ReFramed Series, February 2022) *Awarded the Best TV Feature Documentary of 2022 by International Documentary Association and Awarded the 2023 Best Documentary by the NAMIC (National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications)

Brooks, Maegan P. and David Gutterman, "Reckoning with Racism: A Challenge for Deliberative Democracy" Journal of Deliberative Democracy 17, 1 (2021): 169-175.

Brooks, Maegan P. Fannie Lou Hamer: America’s Freedom Fighting Woman* Library of African American Biography Series. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield (2020). *Optioned for a Major Motion Picture, Booklist Starred Review and Booklist names one of the “Top Biographies of 2020”

Brooks, Maegan P. Planting Seeds: The Life and Legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer, (2019) a children’s book illustrated by Shelby McConville.

Brooks, Maegan P. “Shining Lights,” “Guiding Lights,” and “Planting Seeds,” original lesson plans within the Find Your Voice K-12 Curriculum (2019)

Brooks, Maegan P. (researcher and script consultant) "Fannie Lou Hamer Episode," BrainPOP: A Universe of Learning (2019)

Brooks, Maegan P. “Countering White Conceit through the Commemoration of Keyes.” Howard Journal of Communications: Special Issue on Commemoration and Social Justice, Eds. Christina Moss and Ronald L. Jackson, II (2017): 186-198.

Brooks, Maegan P. “The Interruptive Voice: Engaging Race in Public School Deliberations.” Southern Communication Journal: Special Issue on Race, ed. Lisa Corrigan, 18, 4 (2016): 1-15.

Brooks, Maegan P. A Voice that Could Stir an Army: Fannie Lou Hamer and the Rhetoric of the Black Freedom Movement Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2014. *Named an Outstanding Academic Title of 2015 by the American Library Association.

Brooks, Maegan P. and Davis W. Houck, Eds. The Speeches of Fannie Lou Hamer: To Tell It Like It Is (2011) Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Brooks, Maegan P. “Oppositional Ethos: Fannie Lou Hamer and the Vernacular Persona.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 14, 3 (2011): 511-548.

Houck, Davis W. and Maegan P. Brooks. “We're On Our Way.” Voices of Democracy 6 (2011): 21-43.

Internal Grants and Awards

Jerry E. Hudson Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2020

Liberal Arts Research Collective (LARC) 2.0 Curriculum Innovation Grant for Communication and Conflict Resolution, Summer 2020-Spring 2021

Liberal Arts Research Collective (LARC) 2.0 Curriculum Innovation Grant for Find Your Voice: Senior Experience, Summer 2019-Spring 2020

Atkinson Research Grant for Fannie Lou Hamer: America’s Freedom Fighting Woman, June 2019-May 2020

Willamette University Council for Diversity and Social Justice Grant to Support the Pacific Northwest Race, Rhetoric, and Media Conference, January 2018

Willamette University Learning by Creating Grant funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Sponsoring Gwen Carr as Visiting Artist Fall 2017- Spring 2018

Faculty Council Merit Award for Teaching, Research, and Service, Willamette University, 2017

United Methodist Award Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Exemplary Teaching Award, Willamette University, 2016

Willamette University Learning by Creating Grant, Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Sponsoring Keith Beauchamp as Visiting Artist to Willamette University, Fall 2016

External Grants and Awards

Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area Grant for the Production of Fannie Lou Hamer’s America (documentary) and Find Your Voice (curriculum website) February 2018-March 2019: $22,000

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grant for the Production of Fannie Lou Hamer’s America (documentary) and Find Your Voice (curriculum website) February 2018-March 2019: $272,000

Mississippi Humanities Council, Racial Equity Grant, for the documentary Fannie Lou Hamer’s America, June 2017: $7,500

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Grant for the documentary Fannie Lou Hamer’s America, 2017, $500

Women’s Foundation of Mississippi, Grant for the documentary Fannie Lou Hamer’s America, 2017, $500

Outstanding Academic Title of 2015, A Voice that Could Stir an Army: Fannie Lou Hamer and the Rhetoric of the Black Freedom Movement, recognized by the American Library Association

Wrage-Baskerville Award for Top Contributed Paper in the Public Address Division of the National Communication Association, 2015

Selected Service

Director, Find Your Voice: The Online Resource for Fannie Lou Hamer Studies, 2019-2021

Editorial Board, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, 2020-Present 

Editorial Board, Quarterly Journal of Speech, 2019-Present

Editorial Board, Howard Journal of Communications, 2018-Present

Editorial Board, Women’s Studies in Communication, 2015-Present

Editorial Board, Southern Communication Journal, 2014-Present

Chair of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee in the College of Arts & Sciences at Willamette University, 2020-2021

Co-Chair (with Michael Niño) of the Multicultural Affairs Committee in the College of Arts & Sciences at Willamette University, 2019

Chair, Rhetoric Society of America Dissertation Award Selection Committee, 2019 & 2020 

Appointed member, Rhetoric Society of America Awards Steering Committee, 2019

Elected Selection Committee Member for the James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address Book Award, 2018-2020 (Chaired Committee 2020)

Elected Member of Willamette’s Faculty Governance Council, 2017-2018

Board Secretary, Public Address Division, National Communication Association, 2016-2018

Willamette University

Civic Communication and Media

Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.