Dr. Suzanne Enck | Communication Studies

Dr. Suzanne Enck

Department Chair and Associate Professor
(940) 565-4854
GAB 309F

Personal Biography:

As a MidWestern transplant living in Texas, I continue to learn 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. in Communication at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. It was during this intensive one-year graduate program that I discovered my two passions in teaching communication and activism on behalf of survivors of violence and systemic oppression. 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 ISU speech team (this team captured the national -NFA- tournament title in 1999).

I moved from Bloomington, IL to Bloomington, IN in 1999 to pursue my Ph.D. at Indiana University-Bloomington where I earned my Ph.D. in Communication & Culture, while minoring in American Studies, with emphases on rhetorical theory, gender studies, feminist activism, social movement(s), 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 doctoral 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. While at EIU, I served as the interim coordinator of the Women's Studies Program and have continued to root myself in both disciplines in a way that significantly informs my research, teaching, and advocacy. In Charleston, I also had the formative opportunities to work 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 UNT's Women's & Gender Studies program, I envision my current appointment as one that builds bridges between various academic disciplines concerned with identity and difference. In particular, I seek venues for building partnerships between teaching (e.g., the Gender and Communication "Gender Fair"), service/activism, and scholarship; I believe strongly in aligning my roles of academic-and-activist.

In my non-UNT life, I enjoy board games, classic video games, and late-night shopping. I am slightly addicted to the depths of social media and questionable television pleasures. An avid letter/card writer, I am always looking for the perfect postcard to send friends and loved ones. My partner, Blake, and I enjoy the company of our two feline furballs, Kairos (the devil-princess) and Zeke (the ginger-boy puppy-cat), and our perfectly proportioned pup named Millie (a black lab-corgi-dachshund mix). My favorite book is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and I'm a devoted fan of music, both familiar and new.

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 three distinct, yet interrelated projects - one critiquing discursive constructions of domestic violence; a second project analyzing narratives I collected from incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women as they relate to gendered abuse and agency; and in a third, I consider the emancipatory potential and limitations of implementing practices of feminist pedagogy.

In all of these 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, alienation, 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.

Journal Articles:

Suzanne Marie Enck, "Disentangling Gender Violence Activism from the Pernicious Legacies of Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy," Women's Studies in Communication [forthcoming] (Invited for "Conversation and Commentary" series on Gender & Violence).

Suzanne Marie Enck, The Praxis of Rhetorical Attitudinizing: Productive Criticism as

Civic Engagement, Review of Communication 16, no. 1 (2016): 92-94. (Invited)

Suzanne M. Enck and Megan E. Morrissey, "If Orange is the New Black, I Must be Colorblind: Framings of Post-racism in the Prison-Industrial Complex," Critical Studies in Media Communication 32, no. 5 (2015): 1-15.

L. Hailey Drescher and Suzanne Marie Enck, "The Literacy of Pain: An Autoethnographic Account of Negotiating Immediacy Skills in the Face of Death," Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 4, no. 3 (2015): 27-50.

Suzanne Marie Enck, "Planning a Gender Fair as a Semester-Long Final Project," Communication Teacher 29, no. 2 (2015): 1-8.

Suzanne Marie Enck and Blake A. McDaniel, "'I Want Something Better for My Life': Personal Narratives of Incarcerated Women as Performances of Agency," Text & Performance Quarterly 35, no. 1 (2015): 43-61. Published online: November 20, 2014.

  • Earlier version presented as Top Paper in Gender Studies Division at Southern Speech Communication Association 2013 conference.
  • Also invited as a "translation essay" entitled "Narratives Behind Bars: Incarcerated Women, Motherhood, and Meaning Making" for Communication Currents 10, no. 1 (February 2015).

Suzanne Marie 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 2012 conference.

Suzanne Marie 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 Marie Enck, "Resisting Gendered Violence Through the Classroom: A Feminist Activist Approach to Communication Studies," in Teaching Communication Activism: Communication Education for Social Justice, eds. Lawrence R. Frey and David L. Palmer (Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2014).

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, 2014).

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.

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.

Manuscripts in Progress:

Suzanne M. Enck, Storying Carceral Survival: Exploring Women's Pathways to Incarceration (book manuscript: in progress).

Suzanne M. Enck, "(Dis)Regarding the Rices: Disciplining Blackness in the Domestic Violence Discourse About Ray & Janay Rice" (article manuscript in progress).

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

Teaching & Mentoring

To galvanize capable public citizens with robust critical thinking and writing skills, I seek to convert challenging theoretical materials into praxis-based learning opportunities in my classes. For example, in my Gender & Communication course, I created The Gender Fair outreach project in the fall of 2009 and this has grown dramatically each semester (reaching 7000+ attendees in the 11 fairs from 2009-2014). I was also awarded a $3000 Transformative Instruction Initiative grant in 2010 to better integrate issues of intersectionality into my teaching.

I am exceptionally invested in both undergraduate and graduate education and I actively mentor students in writing by co-authoring manuscripts and by crafting assignments that produce conference and publication-worthy work. Serving the Department of Communication Studies as the Director of Graduate Studies, I look forward to continuing to build our master's degree program with more opportunities to enable our students to reach their maximum potential. This requires both an ongoing attentiveness to cultivating exceptional undergraduates in our department (so that we might recruit them into our own challenging graduate program) and ongoing efforts to network with faculty and undergraduate students at other universities across the nation to build bridges from their strong programs into our Mean Green graduate family.

Course Development at UNT:
COMM 3440: Public Address Studies (Voices of Democracy)
COMM 4040: Rhetorical Theory
COMM 4140: Gender & Communication

COMM 4849: Rhetorics of Social Movement

COMM 4849: Feminist Activism

COMM 5085: Pedagogy & Communication
COMM 5345: Rhetorical Theory
COMM 5840: Feminist Rhetorical Criticism

COMM 5340: Rhetorical Methods

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 the Communication Organization of Graduate Students (COGS) and serve on the graduate standards committee. On campus, I serve on the College of Arts & Social Sciences faculty council and Women's & Gender Studies advisory committee. I am also active on UNT's Committee on the Education & Prevention of Sexual Assault & Interpersonal Violence and Green Dot violence prevention program.

Locally, I am on the steering committee for the Denton Feminist & Queer Coalition (DFQC) and have volunteered with Resolana in the Dallas County Jail (focused on empowerment and educational programs for incarcerated women).

Nationally, I have served in the leadership of the National Communication Association's women's caucus for many years as the organization's historian. I am currently on the leadership committee for NCA's Feminist & Women's Studies Division. I also serve on the editorial boards for Women's Studies in Communication and the Southern Communication Journal.

Notable Activities & Awards
The national Organization for Research on Women and Communication (ORWAC) awarded me a research grant ($1000) in 2011, and I have secured $18,725 in internal research grants since arriving at The University of North Texas.

In 2016, I received the Outstanding Scholar-Activist Award from NCA's Critical & Cultural Studies Division. I have also 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 (Media Studies Interest Group). A former John H. Edwards fellow for my integration of scholarship with public service, I have twice been named a local Vagina Warrior, I won the City of Bloomington's (IN) "Heart and Hand" award, and continue to serve as a "Sunbeam" for the Sunshine Lady Foundation, who recognized me with their biennial national peace award in 2004.

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