nelson mandela

Roberta Chevrette is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at Middle Tennessee State University.  She completed her Ph.D in Communication and a graduate certificate in Gender Studies at Arizona State University in July 2016. She holds a BA in Anthropology and Women’s Studies from Sacramento State University.

Dr. Chevrette is a critical rhetorical scholar committed to examining relationships among communication, identity, and social justice. Her research employs queer, feminist, and postcolonial frameworks to engage questions of difference, representation, embodiment, and whiteness. Her research appears in journals including Communication Monographs, Communication Theory, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, and Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, and in book chapters including an essay in the award-winning edited volume, Text + Field: Innovations in Rhetorical Method. Her most recent research article, “The FEMEN body can do everything: Generating the agentic bodies of social movement through internal and external rhetorics” is available here.

Dr. Chevrette is co-author of the book Dangerous Dames: Representing Female Empowerment in Postfeminist Media (with Drs. Heather Hundley and Hillary A. Jones). This book illuminates the rhetorical work performed by contemporary representations of a specific type of postfeminist hero who has garnered a lot of cultural capital: women who are smart, capable, physically agile and fit, and proficient with weaponry and technology. Using rhetorical criticism and critical theory, the book examines a range of contemporary texts, including Kill Bill, Volumes I and IIThe Hunger GamesWonder WomanAtomic BlondeProud MaryThe Bionic WomanDeus ExDark Matter; and Caprica. The book contributes to a robust existing conversation about postfeminist media, tracing how representation has changed in recent years and engaging with new bodies of theory.

Dr. Chevrette also recently co-edited a special forum with Dr. Shinsuke Eguchi from University of New Mexico, titled “‘We Don’t See LGBTQ Differences’: Cisheteronormativity and Concealing Phobias and Irrational Fears Behind Rhetorics of Acceptance.” Together, contributing authors interrogate how, much like the logics of colorblindness and post-racialism elide and uphold racist structures and practices via claims of “not seeing race,” claims to “not see LGBTQ differences” uphold cisheteronormativity.  Examining lived experiences of queer exclusion that stand in stark contrast to the neoliberal rhetoric of diversity and inclusion, the articles in this forum make visible the phobias and irrational fears concealed within ostensibly progressive languages that mask structural oppression behind the professed equal acceptance of all genders and sexes.

Dr. Chevrette has taught a range of interdisciplinary courses in communication and women’s and gender studies including Rhetorical Theory and Approaches, Gender and Communication, Women in the Media, Introduction to Women’s Studies, Intercultural Communication, Critical Methods in Communication, Persuasion, Communication Theory, and Public Speaking. By connecting theory with lived experience, her teaching guides students to become aware of, and critically examine, the ways language, symbols, and ideologies shape cultural and communicative structures and practices.

Please follow the links to find out more about Roberta’s teaching and scholarly activities. Thank you for visiting!