Maxwell Schnurer


Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Maxwell Schnurer (he/his) is the chair of the Communication Department at Cal Poly Humboldt.  With a Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh in Rhetoric and Women’s Studies, Dr. Schnurer’s academic work has been in the areas of social movements, critical and cultural theory, anti-violence, restorative justice, digital communication, and rhetoric of science.  

Dr. Schnurer has been organizing survivor-centered anti-violence work at Cal Poly Humboldt for more than 15 years anchored in the Sexual Assault Prevention Committee.  Dr. Schnurer has led the committee, helped to develop award winning movements to interrupt harm, created and taught cutting edge prevention curriculum and implemented key policy work to help the university better respond when someone is hurt.  In 2019 Dr. Schnurer and Dr. Kim Berry were awarded a California State University Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award for their groundbreaking anti-violence work. 

Dr. Schnurer is the academic coordinator for the Communication BA in Pelican Bay State prison. The program is the first 4-year degree program at the highest security yard in a Maximum Security Prison in California.  Dr. Schnurer has helped to develop curriculum, taught in Pelican Bay, developed state-wide partnerships, write grants and guide policy to serve system-impacted students in Pelican Bay and formerly incarcerated in collaboration with Project Rebound and the Transformative Restorative Education Center at Humboldt. 

Dr. Schnurer teaches Social Advocacy, Digital Communication, Critical and Cultural Studies, Rhetoric of Science, Act to End Sexualized Violence, Public Presentations, Communication Capstone, Introduction to Communication, Theories of Communication Influence, Communication Theory, Gender and Communication and other courses in the Communication department and CRGS departments.  

Dr. Schnurer serves in key leadership positions on the campus and has contributed to most initiatives for student success and retention.  He has led in areas of policy, advising, learning communities, student need, justice and inclusion. 

Dr. Schnurer has created documentaries, and authored texts on social movements, community organizing, civic culture, digital communication.  Schnurer is the co-author of the best-selling debate textbook Many Sides: Debate across the Curriculum (IDEA Press, 2000, 2002).  In addition here is a selection of some of his other publications: 

“Documenting Digitization: Archiving the Voices of Humboldt Students Acting to End Sexualized Violence.” Association for Computers and Humanities. Documentary film. Summer 2021.

“Parsing Poverty: Farm subsidies and American Farmland Trust.” Rhetoric of Food: Discourse, Materiality and Power. Routledge: New York New York. 2012.  89-101.

“Corporate direct action: a Juxtaposition.” Coauthored with Scott Paynton. Journal of Business and Professional Ethics. Forthcoming Spring 2011.

“Learning: An accessible artifact for discussion of anarchy in education.” Coauthored with Laura Hahn. Contemporary Anarchist Studies. Routledge 2009.

“They Took Ulrike Meinhof’s Brain: A Comparative Study of the Causes of and Justifications for Militant Direct Action” Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of Mother Earth. Oakland CA: AK Press. April 2006.

“Gaming as Control: Will to Power, the Prison of Debate and a Game Called Potlatch” Contemporary Argumentation and Debate. Forum Section. Spring 2004.

“Participation to Praxis: Public Debate as Amplification of Civic Culture” In La situation deliberative dans le debat public (Eds. B. Castagna, S. Gallain, P. Ricaud, and J.P. Roy). Presses Universitaires Francois-Rabelais: Tours. 2004.

“At the Gates of Hell: The Animal Liberation Front and Holocaust Resistance.” Terrorists or Freedom Fighters: Critical Reflections on Animal Liberation. Edited by Steven Best and Anthony Nocella. Lantern Press. 2004.

Dr. Schnurer is also a DJ, record collector, artist, folk scientist and the creator of hand-made electronic instruments.  


Areas of Interest: 

Rhetoric, Social Movement Sudies, Gender, Theory, and Freedom.

(707) 826-3282
Telonicher House, Room 4