hero image
Bryan Crable, PhD - Villanova University. Villanova , PA, US

Bryan Crable, PhD Bryan Crable, PhD

Professor; Founding Director, Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society | College of Liberal Arts and Sciences | Villanova University


Bryan Crable, PhD is a Professor with expertise in rhetoric and politics, contemporary issues of race in America, and social justice.



Bryan Crable, PhD Publication Bryan Crable, PhD Publication



loading image




Areas of Expertise (5)

Social Change Philosophy of Communication and Language Race and Identity Whiteness Rhetoric and Politics


Communication theory and rhetoric, especially as they relate to the intersection between individual and social identity, are the focus of Dr. Crable's expertise. He also serves as the Director of Villanova's WFI Rome Internship Program, a unique experience that offers students in public relations, journalism, media production, and rhetoric the opportunity to participate in one-of-a-kind internships at the Vatican and United Nations. Crable is a good source for discussion of contemporary issues of race in America, for the link between communication and social justice, and for tracing the history of communication, from orality to literacy to the progressive and increasingly rapid shifts in contemporary communication technology.

Education (3)

Purdue University: PhD

Purdue University: MA

Purdue University: BA

Select Accomplishments (5)

Founding Director, Villanova University's Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society (professional)

Bryan Crable, Ph.D., is the founding director of the Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society (WFI), a nationally-unique program that highlights the connection between communication and social justice. The WFI funds student documentaries and one-of-a-kind internships at the Vatican and United Nations in Rome. The WFI sponsors annual symposia/conferences, nationally unique research grant programs, and book and article of the year awards.

Top Paper at the 2017 Kenneth Burke Society Triennial Meeting (professional)

“Rhetoric, American Democracy, and Myths of Race: Burkean Insights on our ‘Pre-political’ Foundations.”

Faculty Mentor Award, Honors Program, Villanova University (professional)

May 2016

Veritas Award for Excellence in Research, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Villanova University (professional)


Lifetime Achievement Award, Kenneth Burke Society (professional)


Affiliations (6)

  • Kenneth Burke Society, President
  • The Taos Institute, Institute Associate
  • National Communication Association, Member
  • KB—The Kenneth Burke Journal, Associate Editor
  • Rhetorical Society of America, Member
  • Ralph Ellison Society, Member

Select Media Appearances (5)

What does ‘nationalist’ mean?

mic.com  online


Op-ed by Bryan Crable.
By now, news of the speech President Donald Trump gave Monday at a rally in Houston has likely reached anyone with even a passing interest in politics. What began with a now-familiar refrain — “We’re putting America first. It hasn’t happened in a lot of decades. ... We’re taking care of ourselves for a change, folks” — was followed by a remarkable series of reflections on the difference between globalism and nationalism. … Bryan Crable, Director of the Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society at Villanova University.

view more

The Pope Became A Social Media Powerhouse Thanks To Some Villanova Wildcats

Fast Company  online


On the evening of April 3, Melissa Connolly, a 21-year-old student from Villanova University, found herself atop the Palatine Hill outside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, just a few steps away from the world’s biggest celebrity. Following the suggestions of the more experienced “paparazzi” around her, she positioned her camera. When the right moment arrived, with her target just 15 feet away—boom!—she got the shot she wanted. She quickly posted her picture of Pope Francis online—not on her personal Facebook page, but on the official Vatican Website, news.va.

Connolly was observing the traditional Good Friday procession of the Way of the Cross as a Vatican social media journalist, in Rome thanks to the Waterhouse Family Institute’s Villanova internship program, which sends students to work in the offices of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. The Council, which has a permanent staff of around two dozen people, is led by Thaddeus Jones, another American (although he graduated from Notre Dame, former Big East rival of the Villanova Wildcats). Villanova sends two interns per semester, part of a bigger contingent of students that work in different parts of the Vatican. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Professor Bryan Crable, who directs the internship. “Students get to experience things the average person will never see, like personal audiences with the Pope, the Sistine Chapel at night, and even the Pauline Chapel, which is never open to the public. Our students were on stage when [Francis’s predecessor] Pope Benedict XVI tweeted for the first time from his tablet.”

view more

Pope Francis became a social media star before the Vatican was ready for it

The Washington Post  


Pope Francis’s selection was conveyed in the centuries-old way, with the puffs of white smoke billowing above St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. Eighteen months later, this pontiff has 23 million Twitter followers who have made him the most retweeted leader in the world.

“It’s only recently [that] the scope of what this possibly could mean for the church has really started to affect people’s thinking,” said Bryan Crable, a communications professor at Villanova University. He has been sending students of the Catholic college outside Philadelphia to intern at the Vatican for a decade, where they sometimes serve as millennial guides to topics such as Instagram (yes) and Snapchat (no).

view more

Pope Francis launches @Franciscus Instagram account

PhillyVoice  online


Four years after launching his @Pontifex Twitter account, Pope Francis has distinguished himself as a holy roller on social media, racking up a solid 8.89 million followers who want to read his daily prayers and exhortations. On Saturday, he added another account to his repertoire: Instagram.

Last September, in the weeks leading up to Pope Francis' U.S. visit, Villanova University communications professor Brian Crable spoke to The Washington Post about the Catholic Church's evolving views on social media.

view more

Should 'bromance' really be in the dictionary? Merriam-Webster thinks so.

The Christian Science Monitor  online


English is a living language,” says no less an authority than Sarah Palin, who has coined a few words herself. So if you refudiate that notion, then you're probably not happy with Merriam-Webster right now.

The new Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary has added 150 words in its latest 2011 edition, including, “bromance” (a close, nonsexual friendship between men), and “cougar” (middle-aged woman seeking a romantic relationship with a younger man).

“There’s always a clash between something that the people say all the time, and then the elite who decide when it goes into the dictionary," says Bryan Crable, founding director of Villanova University’s Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society. "Just because a lot of people use a word, does that mean it should be enshrined as an official part of the language? Dictionary people get into some very serious arguments about this.”

view more

Select Academic Articles (5)

Creating the Social Justice Exchange: Inspiration, Collaboration, and the Selection of our Partner Organizations Putting NCA’s Civil Callings Into Action: The Social Justice Exchange and Supporting Cultures of Collaboration. (In press.)

Bryan Crable

Stephen J. Hartnett (ed.). An introductory essay to be published by Routledge, as part of the National Communication Association’s publication on the WFI-funded Social Justice Exchange—this is designed to be a resource for Communication scholars across the country who aspire to bridge the divide between the academy and community activism.

Rhetoric, Anxiety, and Character Armor: Burke’s Interactional Rhetoric of Identity Western Journal of Communication

Bryan Crable


Lead article. Volume 70, Issue1 2006): Pages 1-22
Although recognized as a rhetorical theorist, Kenneth Burke is rarely identified as a scholar contributing to research in symbolic interactionism. This essay, accordingly, demonstrates the relevance of Burke's work to the self-presentation literature and, more specifically, his rhetorical theory to questions of individual identity—highlighting Burke's valuable, heretofore overlooked, contribution to this conversation. Second, drawing on Becker and Laing, this essay outlines Burke's interactional rhetoric of identity, discourse aimed at gaining another's cooperation in the defense of the rhetor's identity. Identity is correspondingly treated as a fragile rhetorical production, armor fashioned through symbolic means, ever-renewed through symbol-use in relational contexts.

view more

Invisible Man in the Age of Obama: Ellison on (Color)blindness, Visibility, and the Hopes for a ‘Post-racial’ America The New Territory: Ralph Ellison and the Twenty-First Century

Bryan Crable

Book Chapter, University Press of Mississippi, 2016. 99-115. Editors Marc Conner & Lucas Morel.

Camus, Sartre, and the Rhetorical Nature of Myth (Book Chapter) Creating Albert Camus: Foundations and Explorations of his Philosophy of Communication

Bryan Crable

Editors, Brent C. Sleasman. Madison, NJ: Farleigh Dickinson Press, 2016. 103-119. [Volume and chapter by Crable reviewed in H-France Review Vol. 16 (August 2016), No. 170.]

Distance as Ultimate Motive: A Dialectical Interpretation of A Rhetoric of Motives Rhetoric Society Quarterly

Bryan Crable


Lead article (Summer 2009): 213-239. This essay won the the Charles Kneupper Award from the Rhetoric Society of America, for best article of 2009 in Rhetoric Society Quarterly.

view more