I am a critical-cultural communication scholar whose work uses a variety of methods from rhetoric and media studies to examine how communication can both contribute to and challenge forms of social inequality.

McVey IAAR presentation

Alex McVey, Presentation to the Institute of African American Research, “Memeing the (Black) Presidency,” October 17, 2016

My primary area of research focuses on how the rhetorical dynamics of digital and visual media are impacting public controversies about race and policing. My dissertation, Policing the Post-Racial, studies how surveillance technology, social media, and visual rhetoric contribute to cultural negotiations over police violence and racial inequality.

In addition to my interests in race and visuality, I also engage in critical rhetorical study of presidential public address. My research in this area applies critical/cultural theories about race, class, gender, biopolitics, and media to the rhetorical analysis of presidential speeches.

Peer Reviewed Publications:

James Alexander McVey, “Memeing the Black Presidency: Obama Memes and the Affective Ambivalence of Blackness,” in “Symposium: Rhetoric, Race, and Resentment: Whiteness and the New Days of Rage,” Rhetoric Review 36:4, (2017) pp. 302-311

James Alexander McVey and Heather Suzanne Woods, “Anti-racist Activism and the Transformational Principles of Hashtag Publics: from #HandsUpDontShoot to #PantsUpDontLoot,”  Present Tense 5:3 (2016) Available at:

Heather Suzanne Woods and James Alexander McVey, “#BlackLivesMatter as A Case Study in the Politics of Digital Media: Algorithms, Hashtag Publics, and Organizing Protest Online,” Teaching Media Quarterly Special issue, “Teaching #BlackLivesMatter: Media, Race, and Social Movements.” February 5, 2016

James Alexander McVey, “Recalibrating the State of the Union: Visual Rhetoric and the Temporality of Neoliberal Economics in the 2011 Enhanced State of the Union Address,” POROI: The Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry 11:2 (2015)

“Toward New Readings of Borges and Sexuality,” International Journal of Baudrillard Studies 9:1 (January 2012), Available at:

Book Reviews:

Alex McVey, “The Iconography of Malcolm X by Graeme Abernathy (review),” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 18:4 (Winter 2015)

Alex McVey, “Politics of Memory: Making Slavery Visible in the Public Space – Ana Lucia Araujo (review),” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 18:4 (Winter 2015) pp. 793-797

Alex McVey, “Review of Andrejevic’s Infoglut,” Surveillance & Society 11:4: (2014)

Non-Refereed Short Essays/Introductions:

Jeff Roberts and Alex McVey, “Affirmation (-) Being Resolved in Becoming Resolution,” International Journal of Baudrillard Studies 5.2 (July 2008), Available at:

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