James Beitler, Ph.D.
Professor of English
James Beitler (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a Professor of English and the Director of First-Year Writing. He is the author of Charitable Writing: Cultivating Virtue Through Our Words (with co-author Richard Hughes Gibson), Seasoned Speech: Rhetoric in the Life of the Church, and Remaking Transitional Justice in the United States.
University of Michigan
Ph.D., English and Education, 2009
M.A., Systematic and Historical Theology, 2004
B.A., English, 2002
Areas of Expertise
- Rhetoric and Christianity
- Composition Pedagogy and Writing Program Administration
- First-Year Writing
- Community-Based Writing
- Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
- Transitional Justice
- Fantasy Literature
Charitable Writing: Cultivating Virtue Through Our Words. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2020. [Website]
Seasoned Speech: Rhetoric in the Life of the Church. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2019. [Website]
Remaking Transitional Justice in the United States. New York: Springer, 2013. [Website]
“Companions in the Study.” With Richard Hughes Gibson. Religion & the Arts 25.4 (2021): 471-484.
“An Advent Witness: C. S. Lewis and the Rhetoric of Goodwill.” Religion and the Arts 21.3 (2017): 352-377.
“Making More of the Middle Ground: Desmond Tutu and the Ethos of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” Relevant Rhetoric: A New Journal of Rhetorical Studies 3.1 (2012).
Response to Timothy Larsen’s “George MacDonald in the Age of the Incarnation.” In George MacDonald in the Age of Miracles: Incarnation, Doubt, and Reenchantment. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2018. 37-48.
“‘Inescapable Networks of Mutuality’: The Development of Transitional Justice in the United States.” Transitional Justice. Ed. Christine Bell. London: Routledge, 2016. Reprint.
Review of C.S. Lewis, by Stewart Goetz (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2018). VII: Journal of the Marion E. Wade Center. (Forthcoming)
Review of Dimensions of Madeleine L’Engle: New Critical Approaches , edited by Suzanne Bray. VII: Journal of the Marion E. Wade Center. 35 (2018): e134-136.
Review of Approaches to Teaching Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Other Works, edited by Leslie A. Donovan. VII: Journal of the Marion E. Wade Center. Supplement to 33 (2016): 7-8.
Review of Managing Vulnerability: South Africa’s Struggle for a Democratic Rhetoric , by Richard C. Marback. Rhetoric Review 32.4 (2013): 490-493.
“You're, Like, a Writer.” With Richard Hughes Gibson. Common Good 7 (2021). [Link]
“‘Things by Season Seasoned’: Shakespeare on Speaking Truth with Grace,” Center for Applied Christian Ethics, Wheaton College, 2019-2020 Faculty Article Series. [Link]
On Rhetoric and the Christian Tradition
At Home in the Margins: The Rhetoric of C.S. Lewis’s Marginalia. Rhetoric Society of America, Baltimore, Maryland, May 26-29, 2022.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Rhetorical Identification. College English Association, Annual Conference, St. Petersburg, Florida, April 5-7, 2018.
"An Apologist and a Rhetor": C.S. Lewis and the Ethos of Ecumenism. Rhetoric Society of America, Atlanta, Georgia, May 26-29, 2016.
"The Pilgrims’ Way": A Call for Occasional Scholarship in English Studies. Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature, Belton, Texas, October 2-3, 2015.
"I’ve Translated You From the Dead": The Rhetoric of Translation in Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull. Midwest Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature, Wheaton, Illinois, March 20-21, 2014.
Counterbalancing Contempt with Care: Identity and Identification in Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull. Western Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature, Azusa, California, May 16-18, 2013.
A Discourse of Value: The Rhetoric of Wendell Berry’s Essay "A Remarkable Man." Inquiries into Rhetoric & the Christian Tradition, Chicago, Illinois, May 20-21, 2005.
On the Teaching of Writing
Making Space at the Table, Conference on Christianity and Literature Midwest Regional Meeting, June 23-24, 2021
Places of Faith and ‘Religious Friction’: Engaging Student Beliefs in the First-Year Writing Classroom. Conference on College Composition and Communication, Spokane, Washington, April 7-9, 2021.
On Charitable Writing: A Proposal for Writing Pedagogy at Christian Institutions. Conference on Rhetoric and Religion, Knoxville, Tennessee, October 4-7, 2018. (written with Richard H. Gibson)
Back to the Future: Exhibiting Archival Research in Augmented Reality. Conference on College Composition and Communication, Teacher to Teacher Forum, Kansas City, Missouri, March 17, 2018.
Writing for Residents and Resident Aliens: Christian Formation, Hospitality, and the Teaching of Writing. Kuyers Conference – Faith and Teaching: Virtue, Practice, and Imagination, Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 1-2, 2015.
The Hospitality of Composition: Creating Habitable Sites for Writing on Campus. College English Association, Annual Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana, March 26-28, 2015. (with Geoffrey Hagberg)
Igniting Innovation: Teaching Literacy in the Art of Making New. National Council of Teachers of English Annual Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 15-18, 2012.
Two Roads Diverged: Employing E-Portfolios to Promote Disciplinary and Transdisciplinary Learning. Conference on College Composition and Communication, 2012 Annual Convention, St. Louis, Missouri, March 21-24, 2012.
Embracing Two Types of E-Portfolios in the First-Year Composition Classroom to Facilitate the Transfer of Learning. National Council of Teachers of English Annual Conference,Chicago, Illinois, November 17-20, 2011.
Teaching Mysteries: Embracing "Metaphysical Wonderment" in the Liberal Learning Classroom. The Midwest Conference on Christianity and Literature, Fort Wayne, Indiana, September 22-24, 2011.
On Writing Program Administration
Writing Program Administration at Religiously Affiliated Institutions. Roundtable. Council of Writing Program Administrators Annual Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, July 25-28, 2019.
Writing Fellows Programs and English Across the Curriculum: A Proposal. 2nd International Conference on English Across the Curriculum, Hong Kong, December 4-5, 2018.
Defining Transitions: Building WPA Agency in Changing Times. College Composition and Communication, Houston, Texas, April 6-10, 2016.
WPAs across the Disciplines: Creating Sustainable Writing Programs through Interdisciplinary Work. Council of Writing Program Administrators Annual Conference, Boise, Idaho, July 12-19, 2015.
From Transitory to Transformational: Writing Center Praxis as Travel. International Writing Center Collaborative at CCCC, Indianapolis, Indiana, March 19, 2014.
On Community-Based Writing and Civic Engagement
Writing Chicago: Engaging Students in Rhetorics of the City. Chicago Research Summit, Chicago, Illinois, October 18, 2019
Institutional Collaboration and Writing for Social Change. Conference on College Composition and Communication, Portland, Oregon, March 15-18, 2017.
Records and Responsivity: Engaging a College’s Communities of Practice through its Archives. Thomas R. Watson Conference, Louisville, Kentucky, October 16-18, 2014.
Times They Are A-Changin’: Engaging the Citizen Scholar. National Collegiate Honors Conference, Phoenix, Arizona, October 19-23, 2011.
Reading "Empowering Rhetorics" in the Writing Classroom. Conference on College Composition and Communication, 2009 Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, March 11-14, 2009.
Responsible Civic Identity and Globalization: How can Discourse Studies Inform Schooling? Special Interest Group: Language and Social Processes, American Educational Research Association, New York City, New York, March 24-28, 2008.
On Truth Commissions and Transitional Justice
"We Joined a World": Identifying with the Rhetorical Tradition of Truth Commissions to Reframe the Past in Greensboro. Rhetoric Society of America, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 25-28, 2012.
Commissioning Truth to Project It: Titles, Entitlement, and Transitional Justice in Greensboro. Free Speech and the Production of Truth Workshop, RSA 2011 Summer Institute, Rhetoric Society of America, Boulder, Colorado, June 24-26, 2011.
Making More of the Middle: The Rhetoric of Desmond Tutu and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Rhetoric Society of America, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 28-31, 2010.
Remixing Nov. 3rd, 1979: Civil Rights & the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Conference on College Composition and Communication, 2010 Annual Convention, Louisville, Kentucky, March 17-20, 2010.
Enacting Truth and Reconciliation on Your Behalf: The Rhetoric of Proxy. Rhetoric Society of America, Seattle, Washington, May 23-26, 2008.
"One Small Step" for Greensboro: Using Intertextuality as a Rhetorical Device to Construct Authority for the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Biennial Symposium of the Association for Rhetoric and Communication in South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa, June 21-23, 2007.
Speaking Solidarity: The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Rhetoric of Alignment. Greensboro TRC Conference, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, North Carolina, April 14, 2007.
Constitutive Rhetoric as Rhetorical Prompt: Analyzing the South African TRC Report. Inscription Conference: Intersections of Faith and Learning in English Studies, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas, September 28-30, 2006.
ENGW 103: First-Year Writing
ENGW 214: Rhetorical Writing
ENGW 233: Writing Chicago
ENGW 333: Writing for Social Change
ENGW 444: Writing about Place
ENGW 471: Composition Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy
ENGW 494: Senior Sem: Spiritual Writing and Rhetoric
ENGL 155: Reading Writers
ENGL 225: Topical Sem: Persuasion
ENGL 355: Romantic Literature
ENGL 387: Lewis and Tolkien
ENGL 431: Christianity and Fantasy
ENGL 433: Literature and Place
Core Studies courses
CORE 101: First-Year Seminar: “What is Justice?”
CORE 371: Tolkien & Environmental Stewardship
Wheaton College Summer Institute
ENGL 205: The Makings of Middle Earth
BRIDGE Program course
Introduction to Academic Writing
Book Talk at the Marion E. Wade Center, September 10, 2019
Dr. Beitler's scholarship on rhetoric and the Christian tradition has been featured by Christianity Today, Outreach Magazine, Patheos, the Apologetics315 Podcast, and Kresta in the Afternoon. He was interviewed on the Wade Center Podcast about the rhetoric of C.S. Lewis and Dorothy L. Sayers, and he discussed the power of debate with Dr. Rebecca Seitman for a Wheaton Experts interview. Beitler and Dr. Richard Hughes Gibson talked about their co-authored book, Charitable Writing, on The Habit Podcast and The Persuasion Podcast.
Reviews of Charitable Writing
- Burke Nixon, "Listen Humbly, Argue Lovingly," Commonweal
- Leslie Leyland Fields, "Writing as a Christian Means Joining a Banquet, Not a Battle," Christianity Today
- Mark D. Eckel, Christian Education Journal
- Publishers Weekly
Reviews of Seasoned Speech
- Eric C. Miller, Journal of Communication and Religion 42 (2019): 88-90
- Joy Qualls, "How Can They Hear?" Influence Magazine
- Scott Culpepper, "Rhetoric in the Worship and Witness of the Church," In All Things
- Laura Thierry, Euangelion blog, Patheos
- John Jaeger, Library Journal 144.4 (May 2019): 100
- Charles K. Bellinger, Reading Religion (Sept 2019)
Wheaton Magazine feature
- Martyn Wendell Jones, "Liberal Arts and the Lost Learning of Tools," highlighting the use of VR technology in Dr. Beitler's fantasy literature course
"Con+rapas$o," All Souls Anglican Church, September 18, 2022
"A Sign Unto You," All Souls Anglican Church, April 24, 2022
"Blessings in the Trees," All Souls Anglican Church, February 13, 2022
"The Joy of Advent," All Souls Anglican Church, December 5, 2021
"Take this Cup," All Souls Anglican Church, September 25, 2021
"And We Beheld His Glory," Wheaton College Graduate School Chapel, February 19, 2020
Matthew 13:24-30, 34-43, All Souls Anglican Church, July 19, 2020
Wheaton College affiliations
Marion E. Wade Center
Board member (2018-present)
Human Needs and Global Resources
Advisory Committee member (2021-2024)
Center for Urban Engagement
Supporting faculty member (2018-present)
Wheaton College Summer Institute
Project lead (2021) and faculty member (2022)
Wheaton Writing: A Journal of Academic Essays
Center for Applied Christian Ethics
Seminar participant (2019)
Wheaton in England
Opus: The Art of Work
Faculty fellow (2016-2017)
Writing instructor (2014-2016)
Professional organizations and resources
Safe Families for Children (2017-2018)