Diane Price Herndl
Diane Price Herndl
Office: CPR 335
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 almost 30 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 has focused for the last several years on the cultural discourses of breast cancer, from autobiographies to novels, poetry, and art, and from Supreme Court decisions to pink-ribbon campaigns. 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 teaching covers a pretty wide range; over the last twenty years, I have taught more than forty different courses, from introductory classes to graduate seminars, and in both English and Women’s and Gender Studies. I frequently teach Feminist Theory, Body Politics, and Politics of Women’s Health. Some of my other favorite courses have included Women Writers of Color Re-writing History; Toni Morrison and Critical Race Theory; Aliens, Monsters, and Cyborgs in Science Fiction Film; and Bodies and Technology: Reading Gender in the Posthuman Era.