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Robert Vega, Director FAC 18 / 2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200 78712-1508 • 512-471-7900

Faculty Profiles - Women's & Gender Studies

Dr. Dana Cloud – Gender and Communication Studies


Academic Background: Ph.D. & M.A., Communication Studies, University of Iowa – Iowa City, IA; B.A., Telecommunications and English, Pennsylvania State University – University Park, PA

What made you decide to go to graduate school?
I never wanted to leave school! As a junior and senior at Penn State, I took graduate classes and worked with faculty in the field of communication studies and discovered that I was passionate about the life of the mind. I did take a year off, and worked as an office manager for an independent feminist filmmaker in Pennsylvania.

What was your dissertation topic when you were in grad school?
How the language of therapy is used in politics and popular culture to encourage personal responses to political and social problems; for example, support groups for families in wartime, the rhetoric of family values, some versions of feminism (self-help or power feminism), responses to worker dissatisfaction in the workplace by management. This work became a book,Control and Consolation in Politics and Popular Culture: Rhetorics of Therapy(Sage, 1998).

What are your areas of specialization?
Marxist theory, public sphere theory, feminist theory; social movements; the critique of popular culture (emphasis on race, class, and gender); and the US labor movement.

What topics do you teach at UT?

• Undergrad: Gender and Communication (CMS 367)
• Grad: Feminist Theory and Rhetorical Criticism

What is your current research focus?
I am finishing a book on democratic reformers in labor unions, which will come out next year on the University of Illinois Press. I always have a number of projects going.

Did you participate in a research project as an undergraduate?
I did an undergraduate thesis on the rhetoric of screenwriting, and even wrote a screenplay. It was pretty bad. As noted above, I did start to learn from graduate faculty during my undergraduate career.

What makes a good grad student?

• A thick skin and the ability to take and use constructive criticism.
• Passion for answering pressing questions about the world.
• Community orientation.
• Strong writing and analytical skills.
• Perseverance.

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