Agora Speaker Series: Department of Communication, Graduate Student Pre-Conference Presentations

November 2, 2018 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Location and Address

208B Cathedral of Learning

Directions and Parking Information

Garage and street parking available

While attending this event you may be captured on film, video, photo, etc. that could be used for marketing or recruiting purposes on brochures, social media, digital presentation, news story, website or any other digital electronic device.

Schedule of Events

“Withheld Medicalization: The FDA’s General Considerations for the Clinical Evaluation of Drugs and the Construction of the Female Medical Subject”

In 1977, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the General Considerations for the Clinical Evaluation of Drugs, one of the earliest efforts by the FDA to offer scientists direction about the creation of clinical drug trials. The document provides guidelines on special considerations for male and female research subjects. Situated in a historical moment of rising medicalization--or, the transformation of social problems into medical problems--the sexed and gendered guidelines constructed the ideal research subject in ways that resulted in underrepresentation of women in medical research. Within the interdisciplinary field of health studies, medicalization has had widespread treatment both as a theory and through case studies, leading to a proliferation of theoretical concepts, including "undermedicalization" and "stratified biomedicalization." While these terms begin to address issues of unequal distribution of medicine, neither concept fully accounts for how medicalization is denied to certain populations. In this project, I offer a new term, "withheld medicalization," that accounts for the ways systemic power structures produce un/worthy medical subjects through language. I perform a close-textual analysis of the FDA's General Guidelines to reveal how the FDA metonymically reduces the category of "woman" to a normative female body's sexual and reproductive capacities, enabling the discursive production of all female-women's bodies as too complex and untrustworthy to be researched.


Hillary Ash
“Playing at the Funerary Pyre: Rhetoric at Play in Plato’s Menexenus”


Ryan Blank
“‘All The Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud Wasn’t Out to Destroy Western Civilization’: The Lost Object of White Nationalism”

This presentation will examine the centrality of whiteness as a trope in white nationalist fantasies. I argue that the structure of trope invoked in the mission statement of The Occidental Observer, a white nationalist journal, indicates that affective attachment to the fantasy of white victimhood is the condition of possibility for identification with the reactionary white nationalist subject. Following Corey Robin's argument that the reactionary subject enjoys the objects of its desire "precisely as they are being…taken away" by wrapping them up in a "narrative of loss," I claim that fantasies of white nationalism find their support in illicit enjoyment of whiteness as a lost object. The rest of the presentation will proceed in two parts: first, I will demonstrate the generative intersection between Sylvia Wynter and Jacques Lacan's work on the rhetorical dimension of identification by analyzing MacDonald's use of "white identity" as a trope. I then conclude with by applying the concept of identification to how the white nationalist subject finds enjoyment in whiteness.


Rishi Chebrolu