Dr. Suzanne Enck | Communication Studies

Dr. Suzanne Enck

Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Studies
(940) 565-4854
GAB 332

Personal Biography:

As a MidWestern transplant living in Texas, I am learning the ways of Southern culture one day at a time. Growing up in Ohio and attending Miami (of Ohio), I studied Political Science, Foreign Diplomacy, and Philosophy as an undergraduate and competed nationally with the Miami University speech team. Upon completing my B.A., I earned my M.A. inCommunication at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. It was during this intensive one-year program that I discovered my two passions in teaching and activism on behalf of survivors of gendered violence. I proceeded to teach and serve as the Director of Forensics for a year in Michigan at Oakland University and then moved to beautiful Bloomington/Normal, Illinois to teach at Illinois State University. While at ISU, I coached the highly decorated speech team (winning the national -NFA- tournament in 1999).

I moved from Bloomington, IL to Bloomington, IN in 1999 to pursue my Ph.D. at Indiana University-Bloomington. My doctoral degree was in Communication & Culture andAmerican Studies with an emphasis on rhetorical theory, gender studies, feminist social movement, and U.S. media cultures. Working closely with the local domestic violence shelter (Middle Way House) in Bloomington, I began studying representations of violence against women in U.S. public culture (primarily focusing on news accounts, movies, and legislative debates). Upon completing my degree in 2005, I accepted a tenure-track position with the Department of Communication Studies and Women's Studies Program at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. Having served as the interim coordinator of Women's Studies at EIU, I continue to root myself in both disciplines in a way that significantly informs my research, teaching, and service. While in Charleston, I also worked closely with the domestic violence prevention program (HOPE) and rape crisis center (SACIS).

Since 2009, I have been teaching here at the University of North Texas in Communication Studies. Allied with Women's Studies, I envision this position as one that builds bridges between various academic disciplines concerned with identity and difference. In particular, I seek venues for building partnerships between scholarship and activism (e.g., the Gender and Communication "Gender Fair") and believe strongly in the alliance between the roles of the academic/activist.

In my non-UNT life (as if there is one!), I enjoy bad coffee, good conversations, long car rides, and photographing the world around me. I am slightly addicted to Facebook, Coke Zero, and questionable television. An avid letter/card writer, I am always looking for the perfect postcard to send friends and loved ones. Reluctantly, I identify as a "crazy cat lady" (frequently posting pictures of my cats on Instagram and Facebook) and enjoy the company of two feline friends, Ari (my constant companion since 1995) and Kairos (the devil-cat). My favorite book is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and I'm a devoted fan of music, both familiar and new.

Teaching at UNT:

COMM 3440: Public Address Studies (Voices of Democracy)
COMM 4040: Rhetorical Theory
COMM 4140: Gender & Communication
COMM 5085: Pedagogy & Communication
COMM 5345: Rhetorical Theory (graduate)
COMM 5840: Feminist Rhetorical Criticism (graduate)

Program of Research:

Historically, the problem of what we call "domestic violence" has crystallized as a social ill that pits men against women and government/public against private interests. Questions over whether this abuse should be considered a family problem, feminist issue, and/or crime against the state have divided those who presumably want to help victims/survivors. Informed by over two decades of working with domestic violence prevention programs as a victims' advocate, board member, fundraiser, and crisis interventionist, My research agenda pursues two distinct, yet interrelated projects - one critiquing discursive constructions of domestic violence and one analyzing narratives of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women as they relate to gendered abuse and agency. In both projects, I am guided by the following research questions: 1) How do conceptions of gender and privilege inform our collective expectations for human agency? 2) How might we better imagine gendered representations in a culture steeped in hierarchical relations and ill-equipped to consider perspectives of the Other? 3) How can we shift from a cultural predisposition toward victim blaming and scapegoating to begin demanding systemic accountability and change? My inquiries demand a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing from critical/cultural rhetorical frameworks, media and film studies, gender/women's studies, critical race studies, American studies, ethnography/performance studies, cultural studies, and critical legal studies.

First, through analyses of textual fragments (e.g., news representations, legislative debates, music, and movies), I argue that the dominant representations that frame domestic violence limit in especially problematic ways the agency of all parties involved. Specifically, I critique the ways in which various cultural artifacts intersect to create hegemonic public vocabularies regarding issues of sex, gender, nation, race, sexuality, agency, and power as they relate to intimate violence. This project is culminating in a book manuscript tentatively titled Rhetorics of Abuse: Metaphors of Domestic Violence in addition to several article manuscripts listed below.

Second, approaching the problem of domestic violence from a different vantage, in 2011, I launched a project that combines ethnographic research and rhetorical analysis. Working in conjunction with an advocacy group working with women incarcerated in the Dallas County Jail - Resolana - I have conducted life history interviews with incarcerated women and ex-inmates benefitting from Resolana's mission to educate and empower women in jail. In this project, I take seriously the emancipatory potential of narrative as I have asked women to consider their life stories. Specifically regarding gendered violence, I argue that the ability to narrativize victimizing experiences is important to individual and collective recovery and broad-scale preventative efforts. In collecting the stories from the women of Resolana, I hope to enrich more widespread understandings of gendered violence as it relates to criminalized behaviors (e.g., drug use and prostitution) and what we socially choose to criminalize, promote social awareness about the risks faced by vulnerable populations, and demonstrate the promise of holistic, gender-sensitive programming for incarcerated women.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Suzanne M. Enck and Blake A. McDaniel, "Playing with Fire: Cycles of Domestic Violence in Eminem and Rihanna's 'Love the Way You Lie,'" Communication, Culture & Critique 5, no. 4 (2012): 618-644.

*Earlier version presented as Top Paper in Popular Culture Division at Southern Speech Communication Association 2013 conference.

Suzanne M. Enck-Wanzer, "All's Fair in Love and Sport: Black Masculinity, Domestic Violence, and the Media," Communication & Critical/Cultural Studies 6, no. 1 (2009): 1-18.

Also invited as a "translation essay" entitled "Black Athletes and Domestic Violence in the News" for Communication Currents (February 2009). Found at: http://www.communicationcurrents.com/

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

Suzanne M. Enck, "Resisting Gendered Violence through the Classroom: A Feminist Activist Approach to Communication Studies," in Communication Activism Pedagogy, eds. Lawrence R. Frey and David L. Palmer (Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, forthcoming Spring 2013).

Suzanne M. Enck-Wanzer and Scott Murray, "'How to Hook a Hottie': Teenage Boys, Hegemonic Masculinity, and CosmoGirl! Magazine," in Mediated Boyhood: Boys, Teens, and Tweens in Popular Culture and Media, ed. Annette Wannamaker (New York: Peter Lang, 2010), 57-77.

Invited Book Chapters

Suzanne M. Enck-Wanzer, "Seeing Family Violence Differently: Shifting Perspectives from Social Science to Rhetorical," in Family Violence: Communication Processes, eds. Dudley D. Cahn and Sally A. Lloyd (New York: State University of New York Press, 2009), 113-132.

Suzanne M. Enck-Wanzer, "Beyond the Burning Bed: The Life, Trial, and Aftermath of Francine Hughes," in Famous American Crimes and Trials, Volume 4, eds. Steve Chermak and Frankie Bailey (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004), 211-231.

Manuscripts in Progress

Blake A. McDaniel and Suzanne M. Enck, "Narratives of Abuse: Seeking Rehabilitation Through the Stories of Incarcerated Women" (article to be submitted in February 2013). *Top Paper in Gender Studies Division at Southern Speech Communication Association 2013 conference.

Suzanne M. Enck, Rhetorics of Abuse: Metaphors of Domestic Violence (book manuscript: in progress)

Carolyn M. Sandoval and Suzanne M. Enck, "Complicating Notions of Guilt and Innocence: Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women's Stories of Agency and Resistance" (article manuscript: in progress).

L. Hailey Drescher and Suzanne M. Enck, "The Literacy of Pain: An Autoethnographic Account of Negotiating Immediacy Skills in the Face of Death" (article manuscript: in progress).

Suzanne M. Enck, "Seeing Domestic Violence: Gender, State Legibility, and Metis in the Violence Against Women Act" (article manuscript: in progress).

Suzanne M. Enck, "Pathologizing Abuse: Disease Metaphors and Representations of Domestic Violence" (article manuscript: in progress).

Suzanne M. Enck and Sara Shaunfield. "A Cancer Comedy?: A Feminist Critique of The Big C" (article manuscript: in progress).

Commitment to Service:
I actively serve at the departmental level, within my local community, and at the national level. Within the department, I am the advisor for our honorary organization, Lambda Pi Eta and am always looking for more bright students to join the ranks! Locally, I volunteer with Resolana in the Dallas County Jail. In this context, I offer programming support by designing and facilitating communication skills classes (e.g., interviewing & resume writing, healthy communication skills) and was the Chairperson for the organization's 2011 Westside Music Festival. Nationally, I have served in the leadership of NCA's women's caucus for many years and currently serving as the organization's webspinner and historian (www.ncawomen.org). I am also on the editorial board for Women's Studies in Communication.

Notable Activities & Awards:
Since arriving at UNT, I have received two Junior Faculty Summer Research Fellowships: supporting research on my book project during the summer of 2010 and enabling research in the Dallas County Jail in 2011. I have also received a Research Initiative Grant to support interviews with incarcerated women. In the fall of 2011, I was awarded the national Organization for Research on Women and Communication (ORWAC) research grant to continue this research with Resolana in the Dallas County Jail. In 2010, I earned a Transformative Instruction Initiative Fellowship to help infuse her Gender & Communication course with more attentiveness to sexual orientation and racial diversity.

I have received Top Paper honors at the National Communication Association (NCA) (Critical and Cultural Studies Division, Kenneth Burke Society, and the Feminist & Women Studies Division), from the Southern Speech Communication Association (SSCA) (Gender Studies Division and Popular Culture Division) and from the Central States Communication Association (from the Media Studies Interest Group). A former John H. Edwards fellow for my integration of scholarship with public service, I have been named a Vagina Warrior, won the City of Bloomington's (IN) "Heart and Hand" award, and serve as a "Sunbeam" for theSunshine Lady Foundation, who recognized me with their biennial national peace award.

File attachments: 
PDF icon Suzanne Enck Curriculum Vita.pdf225.27 KB

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