Cara Anne Finnegan

Professor - Art + Design

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Professor Finnegan is a scholar of rhetoric, public address, and the history of photography. Her research and teaching explore the role of photography as a tool for public life. 

Academic Service

My administrative leadership roles at the University of Illinois have included directing the campus's general education course in Oral and Written Communication (CMN 111-112), running the Communication department's graduate program, serving as associate head of the Communication department, and working as interim associate dean for humanities and arts at the Graduate College. 



Education/Academic qualification

Communication, Ph.D., Northwestern University

Communication, M.A., University of Maine

Communication and Journalism, B.A., University of St. Thomas


  • E11 America (General)
  • Great Depression
  • U.S. presidency
  • TR Photography
  • history of photography
  • contemporary photography
  • NE Print media
  • print culture
  • art
  • visual culture
  • P Language and Literature
  • rhetoric
  • communication
  • U.S. public address

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the expert's scholarly documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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photography Social Sciences
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Great Depression Social Sciences
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history Social Sciences
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Research Output 1995 2018

The Critic as Curator

Finnegan, C. A., Aug 8 2018, In : Rhetoric Society Quarterly. 48, 4, p. 405-410 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


Sharon Ann Musher. Democratic Art: The New Deal's Influence on American Culture

Finnegan, C. A., Jun 2016, In : Journal of American History. 103, 1, p. 243-243 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Great Depression
civil war
mass culture

Slave photographs in Lincoln

Finnegan, C. A., Mar 1 2015, In : Rhetoric and Public Affairs. 18, 1, p. 129-134 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Art Controversy in the Obama White House: Performing Tensions of Race in the Visual Politics of the Presidency

Finnegan, C. A. & Mixon, A. J., Jun 1 2014, In : Presidential Studies Quarterly. 44, 2, p. 244-266 23 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Barack Obama
White House

Activities 2008 2018

  • 3 Membership of board
  • 2 Invited talk

Penn State University Press RSA Series in Transdisciplinary Rhetoric (External organization)

Cara Anne Finnegan (Member)
2013 → …

Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

A Presidency in Pictures

Cara Anne Finnegan (Speaker)
Nov 2015

Activity: Talk typesInvited talk

Rhetoric Society Quarterly (External organization)

Cara Anne Finnegan (Member)
2016 → …

Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

Rhetoric & Public Affairs (External organization)

Cara Anne Finnegan (Member)
2008 → …

Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

Disciplinary Assumptions and Institutional Pasts: Speech and Writing at Illinois

Kelly Allison Ritter (Invited speaker), Cara Anne Finnegan (Invited speaker)
Mar 7 2018

Activity: Talk typesInvited talk