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Rhetoric, Culture, Engagement

  • Portrait of E Cram.

    E Cram

    Assistant Professor

    E Cram is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Gender, Women's & Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa. Their expertise includes queer ecologies, queer theory, settler colonialisms, environmental cultural studies, rhetorical criticism and publicly engaged collaborative scholarship. They are an Associate Editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Queer Studies & Communication.  

    In their first book, Violent Inheritance: Sexuality, Land, Energy and the Making of the North American West (University of California Press, 2022), Cram examines sexuality as a discernible force in environmental transformation. Re-reading archives of and public encounters with sites of settler colonialism and state violence throughout the North American West, Cram traces networks of capacity building that enabled both the production of bodily vitality and the exhaustion of racialized populations. Written for scholars in queer studies and the environmental/energy humanities, this book offers a grounded account of the importance of racialized sexualities in understanding the legacies of violence in making environments and energy cultures.

    Current projects include a book length project analyzing how dominant views of the environment intersected with sexuality, disability, and land use in the landscapes of 19th and 20th century state medical institutions. The project traces how public collaboration has transformed one of those sites through food access programs and collaborative practices of disability justice, in order to show the vital necessity of disability in contemporary conversations about environmental futures. Additional future projects include The Abundant Ecologies Collaborative with Prof. Constance Gordon (San Francisco State University), a digital humanities project that traces vernaculars of abundance across multiple spheres of environmental organizing. 

    Cram’s essays have appeared in The Quarterly Journal of Speech, Philosophy and Rhetoric, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Women’s Studies in Communication, among others, in addition to Queering the Countryside: New Directions in Rural Queer Studies (New York University Press, 2016). Dr. Cram is the 2014 recipient of the Stephen Lucas Debut Publication Award from the National Communication Association.

    In the department, Dr. Cram teaches undergraduate courses and graduate seminars in: gender, sexuality, and space; movements, protest, and resistance; rhetoric and the body; queer geographies; place, power, and public culture.

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    Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz

    F. Wendell Miller Associate Professor

    Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz joined the faculty after completing her Ph.D. in Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012 with a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from Duke University. 

    Fixmer-Oraiz's first book project, Homeland Maternity: US Security Culture and the New Reproductive Regime (University of Illinois Press, 2019), traces discursive alignments between motherhood and nation in homeland security culture. Taking a range of cultural sites and practices into account, she examines the recent history of US reproductive politics and the rhetorical challenges facing advocates for reproductive justice. She has published articles on rhetoric and reproduction, the commercial surrogacy industry, and third-wave feminism, as well as book chapters on the public debates surrounding birth control and communication activism pedagogy. She is currently collaborating with Sharon Yam at the University of Kentucky on a new book that explores how feminist reproductive health care providers and reproductive justice and rights advocates are crafting new vocabularies and practices to address the complexities of gender in pregnancy, childbirth, and family formation. 

    Her research appears in journals and edited volumes, including Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Women’s Studies in Communication, and Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. She serves on the editorial board of Quarterly Journal of Speech and Women’s Studies in Communication and is the co-author of the textbook Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture with Julia T. Wood.

    Fixmer-Oraiz teaches courses in rhetorical theory and criticism, gender and sexuality studies, social movements and feminisms. She encourages connections between theory and practice, the community and the classroom, through service-learning and experiential education, and is involved in various community-based reproductive justice initiatives.

  • Jiyeon Kang

    Jiyeon Kang

    Associate Professor

    Jiyeon Kang’s academic interests include digital media, publics and counterpublics, global higher education, and East Asia. She is especially interested in how marginalized groups reshape dominant discourses and create livable conditions in an inhospitable environment. She has studied this communicative process in a variety of contexts in the U.S. and East Asia.

    One component of her research focuses on conceptualizing the democratic potential of the Internet in the contexts of youth-driven social movements and online communities. Her first book, Igniting the Internet: Youth and Activism in Postauthoritarian South Korea, examines a decade of Internet activism in South Korea and accounts for the process whereby teenage Internet users’ captivation with issues close to them reshaped their political sensibilities and established a new movement repertoire.


    With another set of projects, she pursues the question of intercultural and international coexistence in the global integration of politics, economy, and technology. The modern environment forces people to share the same physical and online space without a clear vision of what constitutes an ethical model of coexistence. The marginalized are already part of this integrated network but are subject to surveillance and policing, while multicultural liberal society asks ethnic minorities and migrants to add “diversity” but provides an uncertain return. Her recent articles call for an ethical framework that accounts for varying ability to shun unwanted attention and share the common space in an equitable manner.


    Kang’s current book project, Making Study Abroad Livable: The Commodification of Chinese Students and Their Responses in the U.S. and South Korea, examines emergent norms of intercultural and international coexistence in the undergraduate student interchange among South Korea, China, and the U.S. Even though Chinese undergraduate students have been financial lifelines for struggling universities in the U.S. and South Korea, international students who navigate the modern marketized university system must nonetheless develop vernacular strategies to make educational exchange “livable.”

  • David Supp-Montgomerie

    David Supp-Montgomerie

    Associate Professor of Instruction, Director of Iowa Program for Public Life

    Dr. David Supp-Montgomerie is a Lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies and Director of the Iowa Program for Public Life. He received his Ph.D. in Communication Studies and earned a certificate in Cultural Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to coming to Iowa, he was a Teaching Fellow at Quest University Canada in British Columbia. His research focuses on practices of public culture. His current research examines the role of rhetoric in U.S. public and political culture and addresses the ethical and political demands that citizens face when communicating deliberatively in public. He is particularly interested in the effects of apparent artificialness in democratic speech and the precarity of sincerity as an ethical baseline for communication.

    Through his work directing the Iowa Program for Public Life (IPPL), Supp-Montgomerie trains students to partner with community organizations to support healthy deliberation about state and local issues. The goal is to create the capacity for citizens to shape their collective future together. Students can take courses, such as “Solving Public Problems,” join the IPPL’s Student Associate Program, or complete a nonprofit strategic communication internship.

    David teaches on the broad themes that orient students to communication and culture, as well as the specific theoretical and practical tools involved in rhetoric, media, and ethics. These have included: rhetorical theory and criticism; political communication and deliberation; ancient Greek literature, philosophy, and culture; and public and professional communication skills. In all of his classes he seeks to create affirming and intellectually rigorous classrooms focused on nurturing students’ civic and scholarly voices.