University of South Florida
College of Arts and Sciences
Diane Price Herndl
Office: CMC 202
Email: priceherndl (at) usf.edu
I am currently the Chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, though I still direct dissertations for English. I teach several courses in WGS that English students take on a regular basis: at the undergraduate level, I teach Women of Color Writers, and at the graduate level, I teach Advanced Feminist Theories and Body Politics. I teach courses on the Politics of Women’s Health at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
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 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.