Isaac West

Associate Professor
PhD, Indiana University
127 Becker Communication Studies Building
Office Hours: 
Mon & Weds 1:30P-3:00P
Curriculum Vitae: 
Research Interests: 
rhetorical, legal, cultural, and queer studies

Professor West teaches undergraduate courses such as The Art of Persuading Others, Studying Communication: Methods, Legal Communication and Culture, and Queer Rhetorics. At the graduate level, he teaches regularly seminars on contemporary rhetorical theory and criticism, everyday life, and queer studies.

Professor West’s research revolves around questions of gender, sexuality, and citizenship. His first book, Transforming Citizenships: Transgender Articulations of the Law (Sexual Cultures Series, NYU Press, ) contextualizes trans* claims of citizenship to demonstrate how they queering legal norms and conventions. By reframing citizenship as a performative identity or as performatively produced, meaning that it is a speech act with the potential to enact dissident meanings and transform these discourses as they are invoked and embodied, we are obliged to calibrate our judgments about the normative forces of citizenship against a more dynamic model of meaning-making. Put another way, when transpeople act as citizens, they are simultaneously enacting familiar scripts and language, yet in the process of making these demands they are transforming the meaning of citizenship itself and thereby exposing the fragility and malleability of norms and intelligibility. Transforming Citizenships was a finalist for the 2014 Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies.

 Professor West’ next book-length project, tentatively titled, We, the Persons, explores rhetorics of personhood and their circulation in legal and political spheres as well as in various forms of popular culture. We, the Persons will trace the rhetorical history of personhood in American law so that we might place contemporary controversies about personhood into several contexts. In addition to the historicizing of personhood as a legal category, this book will engage how legal personhood influences American campaign laws, reproductive politics, and interspecies relationships.

Professor West’s publications can be found here: