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Karla Maddox

Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric

Seibert 200A


  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and Composition, University of South Florida
  • M.A., English Literature, University of South Florida
  • B.A., Literature, University of South Florida’s Honors College

Courses taught

  • CO 121: Writing Processes
  • CO 122: Analytical and Persuasive Writing
  • CO 203E: Writing Ecological Resilience
  • Making Waves: Writing Activism in Florida


My dissertation research focuses on the rhetorical nature of resilience work in Florida’s oldest fishing village, Cortez, highlighting female activist voices. I also write about Space and Place theory and writing pedagogy. My work addresses the intersection of science and rhetoric, and I believe the language we use to do resilience work matters tremendously. I became interested in the concept of resilience as I first grappled with differences in meaning and application, noticing that Florida had recently hired a “chief resiliency officer,” and that various state organizations and websites often use the term incongruously; consequently, many approaches that deal with “resilience” are ill-equipped and fragmented. More alarming is the fact that the positive connotation of “resilience” is extraordinarily valuable and on the cusp of being a meaningless buzzword, especially in the wake of COVID-19. These factors, along with a contested history, further disposing “resilience” to being misused, a problem with serious implications for ecosystems and people alike. It was under these pretenses that I came to research the term’s origin and modern use, as well as to think through how it was that the tiny fishing village of Cortez, Florida, has been able to survive, despite the onslaught of continuous stressors. Exploring Cortez’s survival proves illuminating for the resilience of other threatened communities, ecosystems, and cultures (CEC).

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