You are here

Rhetoric, Culture, Engagement

  • Portrait of E Cram.

    E. Cram

    Assistant Professor

    E Cram earned a PhD in Communication and Culture at Indiana University in 2015, with concentrations in Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, and Rhetoric and Public Culture. Dr. Cram’s scholarship examines intersections between queer and trans studies and the environmental humanities—exploring cultural geographies of gender, sexuality, violence, (dis)ability, and health/wellness. Their current book project, Violent Inheritance: Land, Sexuality, and the Making of the North American West (under contract with the University of California Press) examines the convergence between histories of sexuality, land use, violence and environmental memory. Their 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.

  • NFO Headshot

    Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz

    Assistant 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. 

    Natalie’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. 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. 

    Natalie 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 online activism, youth culture, vernacular rhetoric, and globalization.

    Her research focuses on conceptualizing the democratic potential of the Internet, with a specific interest in the communicative dynamics and cultural norms that have emerged in the contexts of youth-driven social movements and online communities. Her forthcoming book Igniting the Internet: Youth and Activism in Postauthoritarian South Korea examines a decade of Internet activism in South Korea by combining rhetorical analysis of online communities with ethnographic interviews. The book attends to the political significance of the Internet as not only an extension of existing politics but also a new social space in which the circulation of multisensory texts invites users to act upon their previously unarticulated yet shared desires and grievances. It also draws attention to long-term changes in political sensibilities even after the period of activism has passed. She has additionally published articles on vernacular discourse on the web, collective agency, unintended political effects, and memories of Internet-born activism.

    Kang’s upcoming projects explore “new civilities” on the Internet, referring not simply to politeness but to the transforming social and ethical norms of coexistence. Her article-length project examines how a marginalized group maintains its distinct style in the digital environment, resisting attempts to dismiss it as emotional, rude, or disrespectful. She is concurrently working on a collaborative book-length project with Nancy Abelmann and Xia Zhang on the novel and varied civilities at play in the online communities of international undergraduate students in the U.S., China, and South Korea.

  • Portrait of Darrel Wanzer-Serrano.

    Darrel Wanzer-Serrano

    Associate Professor

    My academic interests are focused on the relationships between race, political possibilities, and rhetoric in the United States. I am deeply interested in the way that theories of race and problematics of difference can and do inform our conceptualizations of public culture. I have particular interests and expertise in Latina/o/x studies and the coloniality of knowledge/power/being. My scholarship complicates (modern/Western) rhetorical theory by putting it into conversation with critical race and decolonial theory in a manner that makes local knowledges and communication practices intelligible, and advances more inclusive theorizing in the discipline. My work has appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Communication Theory, Environmental Communication, Communication, Culture, & Critique, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, and my pioneering book The Young Lords: A Reader (New York University Press, 2010).

    My most recent book, The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation (Temple University Press, 2015), has received numerous accolades, including the 2017 Book of the Year Award from the National Communication Association's Critical/Cultural Studies Division. The Young Lords were a revolutionary, multi-ethnic, grassroots political organization comprised of young men and women throughout New York City and included branches across the country and Puerto Rico. In the book, I treat the Young Lords as a critical and representative example of decolonial or anti-systemic social movement struggling against modern/coloniality. What makes the Young Lords particularly interesting is the way in which they advanced their agenda through a political style that operated functionally at the intersections of competing socio-rhetorical traditions and through various discourses including speech, poetry, images, and embodied performance. Their critical geo-/body politics targeted the intersectionality of oppression along gendered-raced-classed axes from the late 1960s until the mid 1970s. Beyond an analysis of the Young Lords, I also make the case for rethinking rhetorical criticism as decolonial practice.

    Most recently I have begun work on my next book project, which I am tentatively calling Possession: Crafting Americanity in Congressional Debates over Puerto Rico’s Status. Where my Young Lords project was focused on the ways in which people challenge coloniality, this new project is concerned with the ways in which coloniality (a) manifests itself in political discourse about Puerto Rico and (b) is in some ways central to the US American national imaginary. While other scholars have done exemplary work examining the implications of key pieces of Congressional legislation, Supreme Court decisions, and Executive branch decision-making for the island of Puerto Rico, little work has flipped the lens around to engage in detailed analysis of the legislative (rhetorical) history that undergirds one of the few remaining colonial relationships in our contemporary world. Instead of asking (as many existing studies do) What does this legislation mean for Puerto Rico? I ask, What do the debates over this legislation mean for the United States? Drawing connections between the logics of possession, master morality, and the rhetoric of modernity, I also hope to build upon Aníbal Quijano and Emmanuel Wallerstein’s “Concept of Americanity” to develop a sense for how the rhetoric of Americanity is structured in the United States post-1898.

    More about my research, teaching, and topics I find important can be found on my personal website at: