PROFile: Jason Hannan

Professor in the Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications Department

Dr. Jason Hannon started teaching in the Rhetoric, Writing and Communications department at the University of Winnipeg (U of W) in 2013.

Courses Hannan teaches include rhetoric in a pluralistic society, rhetoric of medicine, rhetoric of animality, communication theory, modern rhetorical theory and rhetorical criticism.

His course on rhetoric of animality was designed to coincide with Winnipeg VegFest, which he helped organize.

Winnipeg VegFest is an initiative of the Winnipeg Humane Society’s Farm Animal Compassion Committee. It’s also an event that will spread the message of limitless compassion in a fun, engaging and inclusive way.

“That was held for the first time in Winnipeg’s history (in fall 2017). It’s going to happen again in the fall. We’re going to have VegFest round two,” he says. “They’re meant to coincide, so the students can see that activities and speakers that represent the views that we’re covering in class. It’s like their field trip.”

One part of the rhetoric animality course focuses on veganism and more, something that is close to Hannan’s heart.

“I’m vegan, well it’s not just veganism, per se, it’s animals and the planet, because they’re both suffering right now, really badly,” he says. “It’s both my way of trying to understand what we’re doing to this planet as well as trying to educate my students and the broader public on what we can do to help animals and the planet.”

Ethics and rhetoric are two things Hannan likes to bring together. He says his primary, basic interest “has been in ethics in a world of extreme or radical diversity where there’s no universal morality … Everybody’s got their own ways of viewing the world through an ethical, political lens.”

For his PhD., his dissertation was about a political philosopher, Alasdair MacIntyre. He’s currently working on a book about it and says he’s the core thinker that informs everything he does in his own work.

“Rhetoric has a long and tumultuous relationship with philosophy, so what I tackle in my classes is conflict and disagreement - when you have one point of view, and I have another point of view. And then the question is ‘how do we talk it out?’”

Q&A

What was your worst grade in university? I got a C in a sociology class. I can’t even remember what sociology class it was, and that was because I hated the professor, and I never went to class.

What’s your favourite thing about yourself? Something that I really like about myself? I can’t even think of anything. I feel like my self-consciousness about narcissism kind of intervenes and stops me from answering the question. I like my job. I’m a happy person.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Plan VegFest. I don’t actually have spare time. When I’m not teaching, I’m basically thinking about my next publication, so it’s kind of this thing that keeps following you everywhere you go.

Published in Volume 72, Number 19 of The Uniter (March 1, 2018)

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