Professor of Communication Arts;
Honors Program Director;
on faculty since 2002
Most of the time people talk about the meanings communication carries, but I hope our students come away from our department’s classes with a strong sense of what actions communication takes.
Dr. Craig Mattson is a rhetorician, and he studies how messages work, how they form relationships, how they create worlds, and how they open possibilities. Recently, he has been studying corporate rhetorics of social responsibility—rhetorics that work collectively, extra-personally, and communally. “Although we tend to think of Christian engagement in late-modern society on an individualistic basis, Trinity compels me to think collaboratively, to practice disciplinary border-crossing, and to constantly seek out the strong but subtle connections that appear wherever humans congregate. I think it’s a significant part of the Christian scholarly vocation that we make these connections apparent.”
What drew him to Trinity:
When Mattson visited Trinity for the first time, a soon-to-be colleague told him, “The talk is good here.” And the first time he heard faculty conversation, he knew that was true. “I remember thinking, ‘I want to be a part of that conversation!’”
Mattson is currently focused on the next generation of corporate social responsibility rhetoric by companies, particularly social enterprises and benefit corporations. “There’s an enormous explosion of these companies out there at the moment, and I’m guessing they’re the kinds of companies our students would love to work for. I’m curious and, okay, just a little anxious about the shift from an altruistic (do-gooding) approach of past corporate rhetorics to a problem-solving (just fix stuff!) of today’s corporate rhetorics. I’m wondering what the civic consequences of that shift will be.”
When he’s not teaching:
“I go for runs. I read novels aloud with my son. I play basketball with my daughter. I work in and around our backyard raised beds with my wife. I’m actively involved in my church.”
Ph.D., Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 2003
Courses and Publications/Research
- Communication Criticism
- Communication Theory
- Foundations of Human Communication
- Fundamentals of Public Speaking
Papers and Presentations
“Stop Talking That Way! An Affective Approach to Uncanny Speech in the Christian College Classroom,” Christian Scholar’s Review, XLV. 2 (Winter 2016).
“From Wimsey to the Wire: Distracting Discourse and Attentional Practice.” Quarterly Journal of Speech. (March, 2014).
“Buying Stuff, Saving Lives: A Critical Account of Product (RED)’s Economics of Attention.” Southern Communication Journal. 77.3 May, 2012
“Eros at the World’s End: Apocalyptic Attention in the Love Stories of Graham Greene and P.D. James.” Renascence LXIV.3 Spring, 2012.
“Impossible to Say: Walker Percy’s Moviegoing Epideictic in Crisis Conditions.” Communication Ethics and Crisis Communication. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. 2012.
“Response to James Olthuis.” After Worldview. Eds. J. Matthew Bonzo and Michael Stevens. Dordt College Press, 2009.
“Never at Home in Glome: A Rhetorical Account of C. S. Lewis’s Last Novel.” Journal of Communication & Religion. Vol. 31 (April, 2008): 82-105.
“Peter Wimsey & Precious Ramotswe: Castaway Detectives and Companionate Marriage.” Christianity and Literature. Fall 2007.
“Brave New Performance Space: Castaway Pedagogy in the Age of Caliban.” Christian Scholar’s Review. XXXV:4, Summer 2006.
“Politics and Petunias: Wayne Booth Reconsidered.” Books and Culture. January/February 2006.
Three articles for Encyclopedia of Communication and Religion. Routledge, 2007.
- “Media Activism.” Encyclopedia of Communication and Religion.
- “Sacred Communication.” Encyclopedia of Communication and Religion.
- “Symbol (semiotics).” Encyclopedia of Communication and Religion.
“How Faith Happens: A Winsome Memoir of Doubt and Perplexity and Blessed Assurance.” Review of Patty Kirk’s Confessions of an Amateur Believer in Books and Culture’s “Book of the Week” on Christianity.com.
“Thinking Aloud in Public: Michael Polanyi as Public Intellectual.” Review Essay. Christian Scholar’s Review. XXXVI:1, Fall 2006: 77-86.
“Professor or Poulterer? Cultivating Religious Higher Education in the Postmodern Turn.” Christian Scholar’s Review. XXXIII:3, Spring 2004: 333-334.
“Telling Beauty and Tacit Truth: A Polanyian Schema for the Rhetorical Criticism of Visual Imagery.” Journal of Communication & Religion. XXVII:1, March 2004.
“Wisdom and Eloquence in the Tacit Dimension: Polanyi and Vico on Knowing and Making.” Tradition and Discovery. XXXI:2, 2004/2005.
Awards and Memberships
Honors and Awards
- Sabbatical, spring 2017 to write a book on the new corporate social responsibility for Lexington Publishers, a subsidiary of Rowman and Littlefield
- Invited lecturer for the Association of Reformed Colleges & Universities for 2015 & 2016: lectured at Covenant College, Redeemer College, LeTourneau University, and Trinity Christian College
Professional Society Memberships
- National Communication Association
- Religious Communication Association