Department of Communication Studies

Catherine Helen Palczewski



Research Interests

Her research specialties include: rhetorical theory and criticism, feminist theory and criticism, political communication, social movements, and argumentation theory. Her work tends to focus on how marginalized groups rhetorically construct their messages to gain access to, and be legible in, the dominant public sphere.

Personal/Professional Interests

She is a Professor of Communication Studies and Affiliate Faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies. She also served as the Director of Debate from 1994-2009. She received my B.S., M.A, and Ph.D. from Northwestern University where she also competed in policy debate. She was a member of the 1987 US team, and in 1999 served as coach of the team, that participated in the Committee on International Discussion and Debate tour of Japan. She recently completed a three-year term as co-editor for the American Forensic Association journal Argumentation and Advocacy. Her work has appeared in that journal, as well as in the Quarterly Journal of SpeechCommunication StudiesNWSA Journal, and The Southern Communication Journal. She received the 2010 Francine Merritt Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Lives of Women in Communication, the 2009 Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, the 2008 University of Northern Iowa College of Humanities and Fine Arts Faculty Excellence Award, the 2004 George Ziegelmueller Outstanding Debate Educator Award, and the 2002 Rohrer Award for the Outstanding Publication in Argumentation. In 2001, she was the keynote speaker at the AFA/NCA Biennial Conference on Argumentation, a conference she directed in 2013. She edited the selected works from that conference: Disturbing Argument (Routledge, 2014). She co-authored Gender in Communication (2nd ed., Sage, 2014), which was shortlisted for the International Gender and Language Book Prize in 2008, and Rhetoric in Civic Life (Strata, 2012). Web Site:


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