Michelle Colpean is a doctoral candidate studying Rhetoric and Public Advocacy. She has a graduate certificate from the University’s Department of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies, where she currently holds a graduate teaching appointment.
Her research interests are focused at the intersections of contemporary rhetorical theory, gender and sexuality studies, and transnational feminist theory. Her dissertation project centers on representations of Muslim, Arab, and Middle Eastern women in contemporary U.S. media, and how public discourse about these subjects works to constitute audiences in ways that are closely articulated with nation and citizenship. Her scholarship pulls together bodies of theory on gender, racialization, and the formation of national imaginaries, and aims to rethink dominant rhetorical narratives through questioning Western-centric feminist epistemologies. Additional projects currently making their way through the publication pipeline work to complicate popular feminist politics as they explore how Muslim women use online spaces to resist imperialist feminist politics, critique a lack of reflexivity and the re-centering of whiteness in feminist comedy, and push other rhetorical scholars to engage questions of transnationality and race in their research. Her projects are unified around interests in pulling the margins to the center, deconstructing investments in normative whiteness, and identifying discursive practices that marginalize and oppress communities.