Dr. King is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Communication at St. Edward's University. He has more than twenty five years of experience teaching in higher education; he previously taught at Delta State University (Mississippi) and Eastern Illinois University (EIU). At EIU, he served as Chairperson for EIU's Department of Communication Studies for five years (2013-2018). He has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in rhetorical theory and criticism, social movements, intercultural communication, interpersonal communication, communication theory, qualitative research methods, small group communication and public speaking. St. Edward's University Magazine recently published an article about Dr. King's Rhetoric of Public Memory class: https://www.stedwards.edu/articles/featured-stories/2020/04/how-places-shape-beliefs

Dr. King's research reflects his interest in the intersection of rhetorical theory, public memory, authenticity, tourism and popular music. Dr. King has been actively involved in a variety of professional organizations including the National Communication Association and the Southern States Communication Association. He has served as division program planner, panel chair, respondent and manuscript reviewer. He has published articles on reggae, blues and country music and serves on the editorial board for the interdisciplinary journal Rock Music Studies.

Academic Appointments

St. Edward's University, Chairperson and Professor, 2018-present

Eastern Illinois University, Chairperson and Professor, 2013-2018

Delta State University, Coordinator of Communication Studies and Theatre Arts, 2000-2013

Delta State University, Instructor to Full Professor, 1995-2013

Year Started


Ph.D. in Speech Communication, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 1997

M.A. in Communication, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1990

B.A. in Communication, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho, 1987

Achievement & Involvement

Honors and Awards

Top Faculty Paper (with Dr. Roger D. Gatchet), Rhetoric and Public Address Division, Eastern Communication Association, Providence, Rhode Island, 2019.

Top Paper Panel (with Dr. Roger D. Gatchet), African American Communication and Culture Division, National Communication Association, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2018.

Academic Department Chairperson Leadership Award, Eastern Illinois University, May 2015.

Top Faculty Paper Award (with Dr. Roger D. Gatchet), African American Communication and Culture Division, National Communication Association, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2015

“Mississippi Voice” Advertising Campaign (University Press of Mississippi), Spring 2013. One of eight Mississippi scholars featured in UPM’s advertising campaign.

Mississippi Humanities Council Teaching Award for 2010-2011, November 2010.

William Winter Scholar (Award for Outstanding Humanities Faculty in Mississippi), February 2007.

Awarded DSU Foundation Excellence in Research Prize ($5,000), February 2006. 

Top Paper Award, Popular Communication Division, Southern States Communication Association, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 2005

Top Paper Award, Intercultural Communication Division, Southern States Communication Association, Tampa, Florida, 2004.

Research Fellow, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, Summer 1994.

Community Service

My history of community service includes working as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, coaching youth soccer and developing promotional materials for local Mississippi Delta blues artists.

Organizations, Boards and Memberships

Editorial Board, Rock Music Studies

National Communication Association, 1989-present

Southern States Communication Association, 1997-2013, 2017-2018

Association for Communication Administration, 2013-present

Reviewed manuscripts for journals (Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Western Journal of Communicaton, Southern Communication Journal, Rock Music Studies, Popular Music and Society, etc.) and conferences (for specific divisions via National Communication Association, Southern States Communication Association, etc.).



As an interdisciplinary scholar, my research broadly intersects rhetorical studies, intercultural communication and popular culture. During the early part of my academic career, my research focused primarily on the rhetorical dimensions of social movements. Drawing on research in social movement theory and protest music, Reggae, Rastafari, and the Rhetoric of Social Control (2002) traces the history and rise of reggae and the story of how an island nation commandeered the music to fashion an image and entice tourists. Over the last fifteen years, my research has focused primarily on examining how Mississippi promotes the blues as part of its cultural heritage. In I'm Feeling the Blues Right Now: Blues Tourism and the Mississippi Delta (2011), I critically examine the role public memory, authenticity and mythos play in the promotion of the Mississippi's blues culture and heritage. In addition to my long-standing interest in Mississippi’s blues tourism industry, I have recently embarked on a new co-authored (with Dr. Roger Gatchet, West Chester University-Pennsylvania) book project on civil rights tourism in Mississippi. Entitled Marking the Past, Engaging the Present: Mississippi Civil Rights Tourism, the book is under contract at the University Press of Mississippi. My research on popular music and dissent as well as the U.S. Civil Rights Movement intimately relates to key global initiatives of human/civil rights, social justice and reconciliation.

Overview of Current Book Project: https://www.stedwards.edu/news-center/news-releases/meet-expert-public-memory-and-civil-rights-tourism-mississippi

Creative Expression

Creative Expression Statement

I serve as a contributing writer (music reviewer) for Living Blues magazine.

Publications & Articles


King, Stephen A., and P. Renee Foster. “‘Leave Country Music to White Folk’?:  Narratives from Contemporary African American Country Artists on Country Music and Race.” The Honky Tonk on the Left: Progressive Thought in Country Music. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P., 2018. 214-235.

Gatchet, Roger D., and Stephen A. King, “‘I Call Him Father of Us All’:  The Rhetoric of Transcendence at the B. B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 15.2 (2018): 53-69.

King, Stephen A., and Roger D. Gatchet. “Marking the Past: Civil Rights Tourism and the Mississippi Freedom Trail.” Southern Communication Journal 83.2 (2018): 103-118.

King, Stephen A. “‘People Get Ready’: The Civil Rights Movement, Protest Music, and the Rhetoric of Resistance.” Social Controversy and Public Address in the 1960s and Early 1970s: The Rhetorical History of the United States: (Volume 9). Ed. Richard J. Jensen. East Lansing:  Michigan State UP., 2017. 251-290.

King, Stephen A. “Blues Festivals.” Mississippi Encyclopedia. Eds. Ted Ownsby and Charles Reagan Wilson. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2017. 114.

King, Stephen A. “Mississippi Blues Tourism: History, Marketing Strategies and Tourism Goals.” Defining the Delta: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Lower Mississippi River. Ed. Janelle M. Collins. Fayetteville: U of Arkansas P., 2015. 203-217.

King, Stephen A. “Between Jennings and Jones: Jamey Johnson, Hard-Core Country Music, and Outlaw as Authenticating Strategy.” Popular Music and Society 37.1 (2014): 1-21.

King, Stephen A. “Segregated Sound: Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow” (book review). Journal of American Folklore 127.505 (2014): 323-324.

Meiki, Paulette, and Stephen A. King.  “Cross Border Community Research, Opportunities and Challenges: Case Study Analyses. Delta Journal of Education 3.2 (2013): 53-71.

King, Stephen A. “Ska and the Roots of Rastafarian Musical Protest.” Music and Protest. Ed. Ian Peddie. Aldershot: Eng.: Ashgate, 2012. 101-127. (Originally published in Reggae, Rastafari, and the Reggae of Social Control).  

King, Stephen A. “The Blues, Trauma, and Public Memory: Willie King and the Liberators.”  Popular Music and Human Rights (Volume I: British and American Music). Ed. Ian Peddie. Aldershot, Eng.: Ashgate, 2011. 67-77.

King, Stephen A. I’m Feeling the Blues Right Now: Blues Tourism and the Mississippi Delta. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2011.

King, Stephen A. “Bob Marley: A Biography” and “Bob Marley” (book reviews). Caribbean Studies 37.1 (2009): 285-287.

King, Stephen A. “Protest Music as ‘Ego-Enhancement’: Reggae Music, the Rastafarian Movement, and the Reexamination of Race and Identity in Jamaica.” The Resisting Muse: Popular Music and Social Protest. Ed. Ian Peddie. Aldershot, Eng.: Ashgate, 2006. 105-118. 

King, Stephen A. “Memory, Mythmaking, and Museums: Constructive Authenticity and the Primitive Blues Subject.” Southern Communication Journal 71.3 (2006): 235-250.

King, Stephen A. “Race and Blues Tourism: A Comparison of Two Lodging Alternatives in Clarksdale, Mississippi.” Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies 36.1 (2005): 26-42.

King, Stephen A. “Blues Tourism in the Mississippi Delta: The Functions of Blues Festivals.” Popular Music and Society 27.4 (2004): 255-275.

King, Stephen A. Reggae, Rastafari, and the Rhetoric of Social Control. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2002.

King, Stephen A., and P. Renee Foster. “‘No Problem, Mon’: Strategies Used to Promote Reggae Music as Jamaica’s Cultural Heritage.” Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing 8.4 (2001): 3-16.

King, Stephen A. “The Co-optation of a ‘Revolution’:  Rastafari, Reggae, and the Rhetoric of Social Control.” Howard Journal of Communications 10.2 (1999): 77-95.

King, Stephen A. “International Reggae, Democratic Socialism, and the Secularization of the Rastafarian Movement, 1972-1980.” Popular Music and Society 22.3 (1998): 39-60.

King, Stephen A., and Richard J. Jensen. “Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’: The Rhetoric of Reggae and Rastafari.” Journal of Popular Culture 29.3 (1995): 17-36.

Simpson, Tessa T., and Stephen A. King. “The Sanctuary Movement: Criminal Trials and Religious Dissent.” Journal of Communication and Religion 15.2 (1992): 15-28.



Selected Presentations (57 total):

King, Stephen A., “Birthplace of Legends: Public Memory and Mississippi’s Blues Tourism Industry,” Southern Communication Association. Frisco, Texas. April 2020 [paper accepted; conference cancelled].

King, Stephen A., and Gatchet, Roger D., “A Museum’s Genesis: Trump, Truth-Telling, and the Opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.” National Communication Association.  Baltimore, Maryland. November 2019.

Roger, Gatchet D., and Stephen A. King, “Rhetorical Residencies: Civil Rights Homes as Metonymic Public Memory.” Eastern States Communication Association. Providence: Rhode Island. April 2019. [Top Paper for the Rhetoric and Public Address Division].

Stephen A. King, and Roger D.  Gatchet, “Silence and Memory: A Rhetorical History of Civil Rights in Mississippi.” National Communication Association. Salt Lake City. November 2018. [Top Paper Panel for the African American Communication and Culture Division].

Gatchet, Roger D., and Stephen A. King, “Remembering Emmett Till in Mississippi Civil Rights Tourism.” Southern States Communication Association. Nashville, Tennessee. April 2018.

King, Stephen A., and Roger D. Gatchet. “Marking the Past: Civil Rights Tourism and the Mississippi Freedom Trail.” National Communication Association, Dallas, Texas. November 2017.

King, Stephen A. “Another Trail, Another Tourism Tale: Blues and Civil Rights Tourism.” Keynote Address. Delta Symposium. Jonesboro, Arkansas. April 2016.

King, Stephen A., and P. Renee Foster. “‘Leave Country Music to White Folk’:  Narratives from Contemporary African American Country Artists on Country Music and Race.” National Communication Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. November 2016.

Gatchet, Roger D., and Stephen A. King. “Music and Public Memory: Transcending the Past at the B. B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.”  National Communication Association. Las Vegas, Nevada. November 2015. [Top Paper Panel; Faculty Top Paper Award for Division].

King, Stephen A. Panel. “Spotlight on Pedagogical Innovations in Communication Studies.” Central States Communication Association. Minneapolis, Minnesota. April 2014. Originally presented at the Illinois Communication and Theatre Association. Bloomington, Illinois. September 2013. [Voted Best Panel of Illinois Communication and Theatre Arts conference and invited to re-present at CSCA].

King, Stephen A. “The Civil Rights Movement and the Music of Resistance: An Analysis of Freedom Songs and Black Power Music.” National Communication Association. Washington D.C. November 2013.

King, Stephen A. “Between Jennings and Jones: Jamey Johnson, Hard-Core Country Music, and Outlaw as Authenticating Strategy.” Southern States Communication Association. Louisville, Kentucky. April 2013.

King, Stephen A., and P. Renee Foster. “Revolutionary Words: Reggae’s Evolution from Protest to Mainstream.” Popular Communication Association. Washington D.C. March 2013.

King, Stephen A. “‘That Same Old Blues’: Tourism Practices, African American Music Heritage, and the Marketing of Mississippi Delta’s Blues Heritage.” National Communication Association. New Orleans, Louisiana. November 2011.

King, Stephen A. and P. Renee Foster, “Heritage Tourism: White Appropriation, and Black Culture: Blues Myths and the Rhetorical Imagination of Place.” National Communication Association. San Francisco, California. November 2010.

King, Stephen A. and P. Renee Foster. “Promoting Mississippi’s Blues Heritage: Official Culture, Public Memory, and Racial Reconciliation.” Southern Communication Association. Memphis, Tennessee. April 2010.

Department Group

School Group

School of Arts and Humanities