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Annie Laurie Nichols, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Communication

About Annie Laurie Nichols

Dr. Annie Laurie Nichols worked as a graphic designer for over a decade before adventuring to St. Petersburg, Russia, to teach English and business management for four years. After returning to the USA, Dr. Nichols studied communication theory at the University of Maryland, researching how people form communities and create connections with each other across difference. Dr. Nichols teaches and studies visual communication, digital culture, and rhetorical theory, and is currently working on a book on AI ethics. When not reading, they can be found making art, cooking and eating strange foods, and designing board games with their spouse.

Dr. Nichols is a confidential support person under Title IX.


Ph.D. in Communication, University of Maryland (2018)

B.A. in Communication, Roberts Wesleyan College (2005)


CA100 Introduction to Mass Media

CA218 Intercultural Communication

CA224 Communication Ethics

CA285 Digital Layout & Design

CA325 Digital Deliberation & Remix

CA440 Criticism of Media & Society

CORE2502 Clear Data Communication

Research Interests

Visual communication

Digital culture

Rhetorical theory

Algorithmic/AI ethics

Inclusive pedagogy


Selected Publications and Presentations


Nichols, Annie Laurie. “Perfected by the Other: Learning Cluster Analysis with Undergrads.” In eds. Ann George & Elizabeth Weiser. In the Classroom with Kenneth Burke. Parlor Press: 2023.

Nichols, Annie Laurie. “Design Un-Thinking.” Digital Doxa. July 2020., Annie Laurie.

Nichols, Annie Laurie. CBQ Critical Reviews Long Essay: "Who Crafts the Internet?" Communication Booknotes Quarterly 50, no.3 (2019): 97-124. DOI: 10.1080/10948007.2019.1656964

Nichols, Annie Laurie. “Ethnographic Listening as De-Linking Practice.” In Cushman, Ellen, Rachel Jackson, Annie Laurie Nichols, Courtney Rivard, Amanda Moulder, Chelsea Murdock, David M. Grant, and Heather Brook Adams. “Decolonizing Projects: Creating Pluriversal Possibilities in Rhetoric.” Rhetoric Review 38, no. 1 (2019): 7-9.

Styer M.I, Anderson L.B, and Nichols A.L. "Ally, Advocate, Activist: Semester-Long Civic Engagement in the Basic Communication Course." Communication Teacher (2017): 1-5. doi:10.1080/17404622.2017.1372604.


"Burke's Relevance Today: Teaching Burke at the Undergraduate Level." Pennsylvania State Communication Association Conference, East Stroudsburg PA, 2022.

“Perfected by the Other: Learning Cluster Analysis with Undergraduates.” International Kenneth Burke Society Triennial Virtual Conference, 2021.

"If You Don’t Know “Loss” You Can’t Come In: Meme Recognition as Cultural Gatekeeping" (with Jonathan S. Carter, Georgia Southwestern State University, and Cameron Brennon, Saint Vincent College). Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine. National Communication Association, Seattle, WA, 2021.

"Networking Rhetoric in the Tweets of Baltimore with #BlackLivesMatter," Voices of Diversity. Eastern Communication Association 2020.

"Another Way Home: Visual Cluster Analysis and Perspectives by Incongruity." Kenneth Burke Interest Group. Eastern Communication Association 2020.

"Innovative Ways to Prepare Students and Faculty to Enter a Community." Instructional Communication. Eastern Communication Association 2020.

"Burke and Politics of Environmentalism and Technology." Kenneth Burke Interest Group, Eastern Communication Association 2020.

"Identifying the Pain of Others: Visual Cluster Analysis and the Ethics of Refugee Photography." Eleventh Triennial Conference of the Kenneth Burke Society, 2020.

"Remix as Public Deliberation." Instructional Communication. Eastern Communication Association, Providence RI, 2019.

"Reclaiming the Power of Definition: Folksonomic Linking as De-Marginalizing Practice." Social Media + Society Postconference. International Communication Association, Washington DC USA, 2019.

"Not a White Tech Bro: Using Perspective by Incongruity and Folksonomic Tagging to Restructure the Internet." Rhetoric Society of America, College Park MD, 2019.

"Entanglements: Re-Considering Distinctions between Human and AI." Rhetoric Society of America, College Park MD, 2019.

"Ars Rhetrollica: The Argumentation of Internet Trolls." ALTA Biennial Argumentation Conference, Snowbird, UT, 2019.

"Communication Design: Teaching Practical Theory for Fine Arts." National Communication Association, Baltimore MD, 2019.

“Eurasian and American Perspectives Toward Rhetoric: Building the Future.” Rhetoric Society of America, Minneapolis MN, 2018.

"Homo Ludens: Symbol-Using Animals and Thinking Machines at Play." Critical and Cultural Studies Division. National Communication Association, Salt Lake City, UT, 2018.

"Reduction, Representation, and Algorithmic Identities." Kenneth Burke Society. National Communication Association, Salt Lake City, UT, 2018.

"Playful Digital Publishing." Human Communication and Technology Division. National Communication Association, Salt Lake City, UT, 2018.