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Erin Brock Carlson

Assistant Professor

Erin Brock Carlson’s research centers the relationships between place, technology, and power, focusing on how communities work together to address complex public problems through communication and community organizing. She uses community-based and participatory approaches in her research.

Recent and ongoing projects include facilitating cultural equity conversations across West Virginian artists; documenting the experiences of West Virginians affected by natural gas pipeline development; and advocating for place-oriented understandings of public health data. Erin is also working on a book manuscript articulating the value of place-based knowledges to Appalachian organizing and activism during regional economic transition, drawing from a yearlong participatory photovoice project with a group of community organizers.

She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in professional, technical, and multimedia writing, as well as Digital Humanities and accompanying research methods.

Find out more about her work on her website.


  • Technical and Professional Communication
  • Public and Digital Rhetorics
  • Participatory Research Methodologies
  • Community Engagement and Service Learning
  • Rhetorical Theory

Recent Publications:

Carlson, Erin Brock, & Trinity Overmyer. (2023). Tuning to place: Using participant-generated imagery as a tool for problem-solving in technical communication classrooms. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 37(4). 378-408.

Wertz, Olivia, Erin Brock Carlson, & Kandi Workman. (2023). Seeking out the stakeholders: Building coalitions to address cultural (in)equity through arts-based, community-engaged research. Special issue on community-based research for Communication Design Quarterly, 11(2). 18-27.

Caretta, Martina Angela, & Erin Brock Carlson. (2023). Local residents’ lived experiences of energy sprawl in West Virginia. A visual exploration of landscape change. Landscape Research, 48(6). 841-858.

Carlson, Erin Brock, & Martina Angela Caretta. (2023). Collaborative sensemaking through photos: Using photovoice to study gas pipeline development in Appalachia. Qualitative Research.

Carlson, Erin Brock. (2022). Against hillbilly hot takes: Humanizing Appalachia through nuanced rhetorical frames. Present Tense.

Carlson, Erin Brock. (2022). “Who am I fighting for? Who am I accountable to?”: Comradeship as a frame for nonprofit community work in technical communication. Technical Communication Quarterly.

Caretta, Martina Angela, & Erin Brock Carlson. (2022). Coercion via eminent domain and legal fees: the acceptance of gas extraction in West Virginia. Environmental Justice.

Carlson, Erin Brock, Michelle McMullin, & Patricia Sullivan. (2022). <Ex>tending the archives: Digital archival practices and making the work of technical communicators visible to students. In Teaching through the Archives: Text, Collaboration, and Activism. Tarez Samra Graban & Wendy Hayden (Eds.), 158-177. Southern Illinois University Press.

Gouge, Catherine, & Erin Brock Carlson. (2022). Building towards more just data practices. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 65(1). 241-254.

Carlson, Erin Brock, & Martina Angela Caretta. (2021). Legitimizing situated knowledge in rural communities through storytelling around gas pipelines and environmental risk. Technical Communication, 68(4), 40-55.

Caretta, Martina Angela, Erin Brock Carlson, Rachael Hood, & Bethani Turley. (2021). From a rural idyll to an industrial site: An analysis of hydraulic fracturing energy sprawl in Central Appalachia. Journal of Land Use Science, 16(4), 382-397.

Carlson, Erin Brock. (2021). Visual Participatory Action Research methods: Presenting nuanced, co-created accounts of public problems. In Equipping Technical Communicators for Social Justice Work: Topics, Theories, and Methodologies. Rebecca Walton & Godwin Agboka (Eds), 98-115. Utah State University Press.

Carlson, Erin Brock, & Catherine Gouge. (2020). Rural health and contextualizing data. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 35(1), 41-49.

Carlson, Erin Brock. (2020). Embracing a metic lens for community-based participatory research in technical communication. Technical Communication Quarterly, 29(4), 392-410.

Overmyer, Trinity, & Erin Brock Carlson. (2019). Unpacking place as a design thinking tool. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 33(4), 431-436.