Diane Price Herndl
Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Professor of English
Office: CMC 202J
I was the Chair of the Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from 2013 until 2023 and have returned to the faculty, but I am on professional development leave during the 2023-24 school year. I teach several courses in WGSS 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. My newest scholarly work is on the role of feminism and anti-racism in higher education administration; in particular, I have been looking at the effects of Florida’s recent anti-woke legislation on WGSS programs across the state as well as on strategies of feminist and anti-racist leadership.
Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
M.A., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
B. A., Texas Christian University