Lester C. Olson is a professor of Communication and Women’s Studies at the University
of Pittsburgh, where he specializes in public address, visual rhetoric, and rhetorical
criticism. His books include Emblems of American Community in the Revolutionary Era: A Study in Rhetorical Iconology (1991), Benjamin Franklin’s Vision of American Community: A Study in Rhetorical Iconology (2004), and, with co-editors Cara A. Finnegan and Diane S. Hope, Visual Rhetoric: A Reader in Communication and American Culture (2007). His essays concerning Audre Lorde’s public advocacy can be found in the Quarterly Journal of Speech (1997, 1998, and 2011), Philosophy & Rhetoric (2000), American Voices (2005), Queering Public Address (2007), The Responsibilities of Rhetoric (2010), and The Literary Encyclopedia (2011). In 2010, he directed the 12th Biennial Public Address Conference on the theme
“Human Rights Rhetoric: Controversies, Conundrums, and Community Actions” held at
the University of Pittsburgh. Subsequently, with Arabella Lyon he co-edited a special
issue of Rhetoric Society Quarterly concerning Human Rights Rhetoric (summer 2011), which will be published as a book
by Routledge in 2012. Currently, he is an elected board member of the Rhetoric Society
of America. He serves as an associate editor for the Quarterly Journal of Speech and Rhetoric & Public Affairs.