Communication Studies

Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

October 2019

  • Associate Professor of Communication Studies Valerie Renegar published “Evil Is Part of the Territory: Inventing the Stepmother in Self-Help Books” with coauthor Kirsti Cole in the most recent issue of Women’s Studies in Communication. In the article, Renegar and Cole examine best-selling self-help books aimed at stepmothers to determine how stepmothers are being defined and how their expectations are shaped and managed by the rhetoric of such books.





  • Associate Professor in Communication Studies Valerie Renegar published “Evil is Part of the Territory: Inventing the Stepmother in Self Help Books”  with coauthor Kirsti Cole in the most recent issue of Women’s Studies in Communication. The article looks at best selling self-help books aimed at stepmothers to determine how stepmothers are being defined and how their expectations are shaped and managed by the rhetoric of the books. 





September 2019

  • Associate Professor of Communication Studies Valerie Renegar presented her research on the discourse surrounding stepmothers at the Rhetoric Society of Europe’s Rhetoric in Society 7 conference in Ghent, Belgium in September. Her paper, “Old Stereotypes, Worn Metaphors, Outdated Fairy Tales: Stepmother Self-Help Books as (Useless) Equipment for (Barely) Living,” was coauthored with Kirsti Cole from Minnesota State University–Mankato. This is the pair’s third professional achievement in the area of mothering rhetoric.





  • Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Lamiyah Bahrainwala published an article titled “Blind Submission” in the journal Communication, Culture & Critique. Bahrainwala noticed that Muslim men were posting YouTube videos of themselves blindfolded, standing on street corners, and asking for hugs from passersby to prove that they are “not terrorists.” What fresh nonsense is this? Bahrainwala wondered, and wrote about the intersections of terrorism and disability.





July 2019

  • Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Lamiyah Bahrainwala published an article titled “Nike Unveils Muslim Women Athletes” in the journal Feminist Media Studies, which she coauthored with Erin O’Connor from the University of Texas at Austin. This paper grew from their reaction to Nike’s ad for its Pro Hijab, which you can watch here.





April 2019

  • Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Lamiyah Bahrainwala was an invited speaker on a panel hosted by the Communication Studies Graduate Council at the University of Texas at Austin. She addressed anxieties about academic precarity, the job market, and transitioning to faculty status.





March 2019

  • Southwestern University had a strong showing at the 2019 Western States Communication Association Conference in Seattle, WA, at the end of February. Sarah Beard ’19 presented “The Rhetorical Strategies of Humor in John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight,” her signature work from Associate Professor of Communication Studies Valerie Renegar’s fall capstone class.  Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Lamiyah Bahrainwala presented a paper titled “Shitholes: Infrastructure and Anatomy” as part of the environmental communication division, and Renegar responded to a panel titled “Gender and Health in the Workplace” on behalf of the Organization for Women and Communication.





February 2019

  • Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Lamiyah Bahrainwala earned a national grant to support the Muslims in Academia Symposium at Southwestern University. The symposium will take place 8:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m. on Monday, March 4, 2018.





December 2018

  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Lamiyah Bahrainwala facilitated a panel titled “Talking about Race with your Child” through the Parent Advisory Committee at Child’s Day Child Development Center on Dec. 5, 2017. The panel featured experts from education, social work, and policy to provide specific strategies for parents to talk about race and racism with preschool-aged children.





  • Eleven Southwestern University faculty members have won Sam Taylor Fellowship grants to support their research, with award amounts ranging from $1,000 to $1,600. Sam Taylor Fellowships are selected through a competitive application process and are provided by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. This year’s recipients are

    • Professor of Physics Steven Alexander, “Generating Energy from Hot Sidewalks” (awarded $1,200)
    • Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Lamiyah Bahrainwala, “The Politics of Stealth Halal: Re-Presenting the Islamic Origins of U.S. Meat Products” (awarded $1,600)
    • Associate Professor of German Erika Berroth , “Nature Education in the German Classroom: Possibilities for Integration and Inclusion?” (awarded $1,400)
    • Professor of Biology Romi Burks, “Unravelling the Mystery: Genetic Differentiation of Chinese and Japanese Mysterysnails Using 16S” (awarded $1,400)
    • Assistant Professor of History Jethro Hernandez Berrones, “With Indigenist Spirit: Doctors on Spiritual Practices in Post-Revolutionary Mexico” (awarded $1,500)
    • Professor of Anthropology Melissa Johnson, “Human–Jaguar Becomings and Racial Capitalism in Belize” (awarded $1,000)
    • Associate Professor of French Francis Mathieu, “Research on Claire de Duras’s Avant-Garde Novella, Ourika” (awarded $1,400)
    • Associate Professor of French Aaron Prevots, “Gestures toward the Sacred: Guillevic, Vargaftig, Tellermann, Michel” (awarded $1,400)
    • Associate Professor of Communication Studies Valerie Renegar, “Contemporary Modes of Parenting: Disrupting the Representation of Stepmothers in Popular Culture” (awarded $1,500)
    • Associate Professor of Spanish Maria De Los Angeles Rodriguez Cadena, “Cultural Memory and Historical Fiction: Women of the Past on Television and Film by Four Contemporary Mexican Women Directors” (awarded $1,400)
    • Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor, “Researching Attachments to American Political Institutions” (awarded $1,600)