Brendan Riley, Ph.D.


Brendan RileyApologies for the puffery: it's what's expected of a profile page. Written in third person to be extra pretentious.

Brendan Riley is an Associate Professor of English at Columbia College Chicago, a liberal arts school for the performing and media arts. He teaches Composition, New Media, and Media Studies classes there, and he also serves as the English Department's Coordinator of Advanced and Professional Writing, managing the upper-level writing and rhetoric courses for the English Department. He's probably best known around campus for his popular J-session class, "Zombies in Popular Media," which has been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Chicago RedEye, and CNN Online, among many other places. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the Zombie Research Society, and has participated in many public outreach events, including invited lectures at schools, libraries, and colleges and appearances on panels at conventions such as C2E2 and San Diego International ComicCon.

Brendan earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida in 2004, where he studied Film and Media Studies as well as Rhetoric and Composition. His research interests include: Media Studies; Rhetoric and Composition theory, particularly work in the sub-field of Computers & Writing; Zombies, Detective fiction, New Media studies; Grammatology (the study of the history of writing).

He has been published on a wide variety of subjects. Among his recent published essays are:

“Textual Criticism.” Companion to Popular Culture.  Ed. Gary Burns. Blackwell. Expected 2014.

“The Undead Gourmet: On thinking zombies and eating people.”  Philosophy Now: a magazine of ideas.  Issue 96: May/June 2013.

“Necromancy” and “Zombie.” World Book Encyclopedia, 2012. Ed. Nick Kilzer, et al.  Brief reference essays aimed at general readership. 2012.

"Zombie People: The Complicated Nature of Personhood in The Walking Dead." Triumph of the Walking Dead: Robert Kirkman's Zombie Epic on Page and Screen. Ed. James Lowder. Dallas, TX: SmartPop, 2011.

"The E-Dead: Zombies in the Digital Age." Generation Zombie: Essays on the Living Dead in Modern Culture. Eds Stephanie Boluk and Wylie Lenz. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011.

“A Style Guide to the Secrets of <style>.” From A to <A>: Keywords in HTML and Writing. Eds Jeffrey Rice and Bradley Dilger. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

“From Sherlock to Angel: The 21st Century Detective.” The Journal of Popular Culture.Vol 42:5, Oct 2009.

“Warren Ellis is the Future of Superhero Comics: Or How to Write Superhero Stories without Superheroes.” The Amazing Transforming Superhero! Essays on the Revision of Characters in Comic Books, Film and Television. Ed. Terrence Wandtke. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007.

His work has also appeared in peer reviewed journals such as Kairos and Computers and Composition Online, among others.

Brendan serves on the editorial board for The Journal of Popular Culture, the advisory board for the Zombie Research Society, and the Executive Board of the Popular and American Culture Association. He has also been the Executive Secretary of the Midwest PCA/ACA since 2008.

My blog
My schedule
My Curriculum Vitae

Contact me:

Email is the fastest, best way to reach me.
By email: briley [at] (for issues regarding Columbia or my research)
or email: briley [at] (for other communications)
or phone: 312.369.8817
or mail: Brendan Riley, Columbia College Chicago, 600 South Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL, 60605