Faculty/Staff Detail

Katherine Ahern

Katherine Ahern

Kati Ahern is an Assistant Professor of English in the Professional Writing and Rhetoric Program at SUNY Cortland. Her research focuses on the intersection between sound studies, sonic rhetoric, and writing theory. She is currently exploring how research in "rhetorical soundscape studies" can enter into conversation with other academic areas involving materiality, sensory rhetorics, video game studies, and learning spaces design. Her dissertation The Sounds of Rhetoric, The Rhetoric of Sound: Listening to and Composing the Auditory in Writing won the dissertation award from the North Carolina State University College of Humanities and Social Sciences in June 2012. Her most recent research project examines soundscape design through its connection to concepts from ancient rhetoric.
Prior to coming to SUNY Cortland, Ahern taught at Long Island University, Post Campus where she won the Newton Award for Teaching Excellence in spring 2018.


Ph.D., Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media, North Carolina State University, 2012
M.F.A., Creative Writing Fiction, George Mason University, 2007
B.A., Creative Writing and Social and Decision Science, Carnegie Mellon University, 2004


Business Writing
Technical Writing
Sound and Writing
Intro and Advanced Fiction Writing
Theories of Writing
Writing in the Digital Age
New Media Literacies
Reading and Writing Comics
Video Game Narratives
Ancient Rhetoric


Ahern, Kati Fargo and Mehlenbacher, Ashley Rose. “Genre Multiplicity and Embedding in Classroom Soundscapes.” Enculturation. July 18, 2018. 

Ahern, Kati Fargo. “Understanding Spaces Sonically, Soundscaping Evaluations of Place.” Computers and Composition. June 2018, volume 48.

Ahern, Kati Fargo. “Embodied Databases: Attending to Research ‘Places’ through Emotion and Movement.” JAEPL, special issue on Corporeal Pedagogies, winter 2017-2018, vol. 23

Ahern, Kati Fargo. “Seeking Texts in All Available Forms: Invisible Writing and A New Reading Rhetoric of Sight and Sound.” Journal of Basic Writing 32(2), 2016, 80-105. 

Ceraso, Steph and Ahern, Kati Fargo. "Composing with Sound: Embodied Soundscape Design" for Composition Studies "Composing With" section in 43.2, fall 2015.

Frith, Jordan and Ahern, Kati Fargo. “Make a Sound Garden Grow: Exploring New Media Potentialities for Social Soundscaping.”Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, April 2, 2014, 1-13.

Fargo, Kati. “Tuning the Sonic Playing Field: Exploring the Ways of Knowing Sound in First Year Writing.”  Computers and Composition, 30(2), June 2013, 75-86. 

Ahern, Kati Fargo and Frith, Jordan. “Speaking Back to Our Spaces: The Rhetoric of Social Soundscaping.” Harlot: A Revealing Look at the Arts of Persuasion. Issue Theme: Sonic Rhetorics. Issue no. 9 (2013). http://harlotofthearts.org/index.php/harlot/article/view/150/122

Ahern, Kati Fargo. “Writing by Cutting Apart and Burning Down.” The English Record 62(3), fall 2012, 85-96.

Book Chapters

Ahern, Kati Fargo. “Soundscapes: Rhetorical Entwinements for Composing Sound in Four Dimensions” [Book Chapter for Amplifying Soundwriting, accepted and in review]


Ahern, Kati Fargo. “Listening to Memorial Soundscapes.” Rhetoric Society for America’s Conference Proceedings for Rhetorics of Change.


At Long Island University, Post Campus Kati Ahern served as the director of First Year Writing, chair of the Campus Committee on Student Writing, chair of the Facilities Committee, co-chair of the Faculty Technology Resources Advisory Committee, and a charter member of the newly initiated Phi Kappa Phi chapter in spring 2018.