Sandra J. Sarkela

associate professor (communication studies) & interim department chair

Art & Communication Bldg 229
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About Dr. Sarkela

My teaching and research interests are centered on the history and criticism of Anglo-American public address, particularly 18th-century theory and practice, and public address of American women. I am currently revising a book-length monograph on the political rhetoric of John Dickinson (1732-1808).


A.B. 1972 Augustana College, Rock Island, IL
M.A. 1975 University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Ph.D. 1982 University of Massachusetts, Amherst


Associate Professor, Department of Communication, The University of Memphis, 2005-Present; Interim Department Chair, 2010-2011; Graduate Coordinator, 2005-2010.

Professor and Chair, Department of English and Communication, State University of New York, College at Potsdam: 2003 - 2005; Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, August 1996 to June 1999.

Honors and Awards

The University of Memphis President's Leadership Recognition Award--Disability Resources for Students Outstanding Faculty "See Me" Award, 2014

Outstanding Graduate Mentor, Tennessee Communication Association, 2010, 2013

NEH "We the People" Summer Stipend, 2010

President's Award for Excellence in Teaching, SUNY Potsdam, 2004

Eastern Communication Association Committee of Scholars, 2004-2005

Selected Publications

Sandra J. Sarkela. "Mercy Otis Warren's Contribution to the Rhetorical Tradition," in Golden, Berquist, Coleman and Sproule, The Rhetoric of Western Thought, 10th ed. (Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt, 2011): 232-235.

Sandra J. Sarkela, "Freedom's Call: The Persuasive Power of Mercy Otis Warren's Dramatic Sketches, 1772-1775," Early American Literature, 44:3 (2009): 541-568.

Sandra J. Sarkela and Patrick Mazzeo. "Rev. James Robinson and American Support for African Democracy and Nation-Building, 1950's-1970's," in Freedom's Distant Shores: American Protestantism and Political Rights in Africa, R. Drew Smith, ed. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2006: 37-51, 236-238.

Sandra J. Sarkela, "Lucia Cormier vs. Margaret Chase Smith: Debate for the Maine Senate Seat, November 5, 1960," Contemporary Argumentation and Debate 26 (2005): 51-62.

Sandra J. Sarkela, Susan Mallon Ross, and Margaret A. Lowe. From Megaphones to Microphones: Speeches of American Women, 1920-1960 (Westport, CT: Praeger Press, 2003).

Sandra J. Sarkela, "Rhetorical Theory and Practice in Scottish Sermons against American Independence, 1776-1779," Scottish Rhetoric and Its Influence, Gaillet, ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers, 1998.

Sandra J. Sarkela. "Moderation, Religion and Public Discourse: The Rhetoric of Occasional Conformity in England, 1697-1711," Rhetorica 15 (1997): 53-80.

Sandra J. Sarkela. "Margaret Chase Smith," Women Public Speakers in the United States, 1925-1993: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook. Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, ed. Greenwood Press, 1994.

Sandra Sarkela Hynes. "John Dickinson, Philadelphia Politician," American Orators before 1900: Critical Studies and Sources. Duffy and Ryan, eds. Greenwood Press, 1987.