Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Professor’s inspiration for book comes from personal experience

Friday, April 23, 2021
Kevin Musgrave
Used with permission

After nearly 10 years of working on his manuscript, Assistant Professor of communication studies Kevin Musgrave sent it off to Michigan State University Press to be peer reviewed. Musgrave said some of the inspiration for his work in “Persons of the Market: Rhetorics of Conservatism, Corporate Personhood and Economic Theology” came from personal interests.

Musgrave stated the book examines how “the arguments of conservatism, corporate personhood, economics, and theology are intersected to argue against current idealized notions of personhood in our society.”

Musgrave earned his Bachelor’s degree in sociology, completed his Master’s degree in political communication and topped off his academic career with a Doctorate in rhetoric. This is Musgrave’s second year teaching rhetoric at Southeast’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Musgrave said most of his research topics are “happenstance,” but the economic and conservatism reasonings came from a “personal place of interest.”

“I grew up in a fairly evangelical Christian conservative home in Champaign, in central Illinois. I no longer ascribe to either of those worldviews or labels,” Musgrave said. “I would no longer consider myself a conservative by any means, probably quite the opposite. I no longer consider myself an evangelical Christian, also probably quite the opposite.”

He said he felt as though he needed to understand the topic better on his own terms to communicate and have meaningful conversations with his family.

“I want to have meaningful dialogues or debates with them about some of these things, and maybe even about some of the things that I find maybe more problematic about some of the opinions or beliefs that they hold,” Musgrave said.

Learning the history, how it's changed and where we are today were very important to form a base level of understanding between him and his family, Musgrave said.

Throughout his writing process, historical events have happened which required Musgrave to rewrite and reconsider things in his dissertation.

“I thought I knew what it was going to be about, and then it changed entirely to adjust pace and adjust course because of what was happening with the White House and with Trump-ism and with the riots on the Capitol,” Musgrave said. “I was writing my last chapter of the book, and I was even having to change it day by day with the manuscript I submitted. So, the last chapter in the book is about corporate personhood Donald Trump and Trumpers, basically.”

Musgrave said the relief of submitting the final product is where he felt a lot of gratification, but it also comes with anxiety waiting for what the editors are going to say about it. Although submitting the final product was rewarding, according to Musgrave, it is also one of the most frustrating things he has done.

Musgrave said if the book manuscript gets published, it would most likely not be available until 2022. Local resources such as Kent Library will have access to it, and it will also be available to purchase on Amazon.

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