Diane Price Herndl
Professor of Women's & Gender Studies
Professor of English
Office: CMC 202J
I have been the Chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies since 2013. I teach several courses in WGS on a semi-regular basis: at the undergraduate level, I teach the Politics of Women’s Health, Gender and Science Fiction, and I have taught Women of Color Writers. At the graduate level, I teach Advanced Feminist Theories and Body Politics regularly, and I have taught the Politics of Women’s Health for grad students, too.
I work at the intersection of several disciplines: feminist theory, American literature, medicine, and disability studies. I have long been interested in the ways that a medicalized view of the body shapes not just our perceptions of other peoples’ bodies, but of our own. I started working on American novels of the mid-nineteenth century that had plots centered on women’s illnesses, but I have—in the 30 or so years I’ve been working on this question—ended up branching out to lots of different texts (ads, science fiction film, advice books, and photography to name a few). The questions I ask have to do with how those texts use, invoke, or create a techno-scientific (or pseudo-techno-scientific) discourse to enframe bodies. My courses often focus on non-standard bodies: technologically enhanced bodies or bodies with disabilities or illnesses.
My scholarship focused for many years on the cultural discourses of breast cancer, from autobiographies to novels, poetry, and art, and from Supreme Court decisions to pink-ribbon campaigns. Lately, I’ve been looking at the role of disabled and/or technologically enhanced bodies in science fiction, especially when those bodies are involved in the gendering of folk, too. In addition to my work on bodies and cultural representation, I have published essays on American fiction, feminist theory, and narrative theory, as well as anthologies of feminist literary theory and of women’s literature.
Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
M.A., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
B. A., Texas Christian University