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Faculty Profile
Werner Stavenhagen

Werner  Stavenhagen


Orange horizontal rule

105A Moon Library




  • Ph.D. Composition and Cultural Rhetoric, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 2016
  • MA English- La Sierra University, Riverside, CA- 1997
  • BA Theology-Pacific Union College, Angwin, CA-1990


My writing and research focus on eco-spirituality, biophilia, and contemplation. For example, my article, "Relational Literacy" (2019) explores how better realizing relationships with species as "kinship" furthers a culture of listening, thanksgiving, and environmental care. In another article, I share research on how contemplative exercises help students establish equanimity and better retain ideas.

My book, The Chase (2022), is a modern paraphrase of the ancient love poem, The Song of Songs. In a series of vignettes, two lovers share a "dance" of knowing, a joyous pursuit and celebration of sacred/human love rooted in the abundance of the land. Theologian Cary Ellen Walsh argues that the poem crucially establishes a theology of desire in Western culture. I agree and add that it also wonderfully breathes an ethos of exuberant environmental mutuality.

In my free time, I like to hike and meditate along the shores of Lake Ontario near my home. I also write and record video meditations, blend teas, and host friends at our "retreat" with my wife, Wendy. 


Environmental Writing (EWP 190), Research Writing and Humanities (EWP 290), and Writing for Science and Environmental Professionals (EWP 407). 

Research Interests

  • Composition and Rhetoric
  • Nature Writing
  • Professional Writing
  • Eco-spirituality; biophilia
  • Environmental Rhetoric

Presentations and Publications


The Chase. Bowker, 2022.

“Relational Literacy.” Published in a special section of the Journal of the Assembly on Expanded Perspectives on Learning entitled, “Encountering the Natural World: Environmental Education in the Arts and Humanities.” July 2019. 

“Contemplation as Kairotic Composure.” Published in a special issue of the journal Across the Disciplines entitled, “Contemplative Writing Across the Disciplines.” March 2019. 

“Whose Honey, Whose Hive: Rhetorical Agency in Colony Collapse Disorder.”  The presentation was selected for publication from the 5th Iowa State University Summer Symposium on Science Communication, June 2016; in Jean Goodwin (Ed.), Confronting the Challenges of Public Participation: Issues in Environmental, Planning and Health Decision-Making (pp. 227-233). Charleston, SC: CreateSpace.

Review of Home Ground: Language for An American Landscape (Eds. Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney) in Community Literacy Journal, Fall, 2009.


“Transforming/Teaching: A Roundtable on Inner Work and Its Effect on Our Writing Classrooms.” Eastern Association of Pennsylvania State Universities Annual Conference. October 2022..

“Zoom Pedagogy Tips.” SUNY-ESF’s Hardy L. Shirley Faculty Mentoring Colloquium. January 2021.

“The Rhetorical Implications of the German Concept Waldeinsamkeit: an abiding solitude with the woods.”  Lead Presenter. Rhetorical Society of America, 2020.

“Relational Literacy: Toward Revisioning Ecocomposition as a Co-creative, Co-performative Space.” 2019 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Pittsburg, PA 

“Plant Something: Performance-Rhetoric, Community Writing, and Food Activism.” All-day pre-conference workshop associated with the 2019 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Pittsburg, PA

“Contemplative Exercises to Promote Kinship with the Earth and Each Other: an Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Relational Literacy.”  2018 Assembly of Expanded Perspectives on Learning Conference, Estes Park, CO

“Toward Relational Literacy: Using Kinship Theory to Integrate the Voices of Nonhumans in Education.”  2018 Rhetorical Society of America Conference, Minneapolis, MN

“The Language, Literacy, and Labor of Food Justice: Bees and Beekeepers.” 2018 Conference on College Composition and Communication, St Louis, MO

“Cultivating New Lines of Inquiry: Rural Research and Advocacy.” 2017 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Portland, OR

“Coaching the Publication of an Undergraduate Online Magazine.” 2017 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Portland, OR

“Whose Honey, Whose Hive: Rhetorical Agency in Colony Collapse Disorder.” 2016 Iowa State University Summer Symposium on Science Communication,  Ames, IA

“A Tale of Two Countries: France and the U.S. Stakeholder Agency in Colony Collapse Disorder.” 2015 Environmental Studies Presentation Series, SUNY-ESF, Syracuse, NY

“Mindfulness Classroom Exercises: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Prescription.” 2015 Faculty Brownbag Discussions, Syracuse University Humanities Center, Syracuse, NY