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York College of PA Professor to Serve as CATO Institute Visiting Scholar

December 19, 2022
Erec Smith CATO

York College of Pennsylvania Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Erec Smith will serve as a Visiting Scholar in the Politics and Society Department at the Cato Institute during the Spring 2023 semester. The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization – or think tank – that creates a presence for and promotes libertarian ideas in policy debates.

Smith is cofounder of Free Black Thought, a small group of scholars, technologists, parents, and American citizens determined to amplify vital black voices that are rarely heard on mainstream platforms. He also serves as an advisor for the Institute for Liberal Values as well as for Counterweight, a nonpartisan grassroots movement advocating for liberalism. 

“The visiting fellowship would provide you the opportunity to continue your scholarship and writing on free speech, academic freedom, and tolerance and to further develop a comprehensive vision for Free Black Thought,” said Emily Ekins, Vice President and Director of Polling at the Cato Institute. “We feel your work is tremendously important and hope to provide you with more opportunity to devote to your research and these ideas.”

At York College, Smith’s research areas have included political rhetoric, Buddhist philosophy and rhetoric, rhetorics of diversity, composition pedagogy, and discourse and identity. He has published many works, including The Making of Barack Obama, The Politics of Persuasion: An Exploration, and A Critique of Anti-Racism in Rhetoric and Composition: The Semblance of Empowerment.

Smith has a bachelor’s degree in English from Ursinus College, a master’s degree in English with a concentration in literature from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and a doctoral degree in English with a concentration in language, literacy, and rhetoric also from the University of Illinois-Chicago.