Joe Hatfield, Communication Faculty Member, Wins Dissertation of the Year Award

Joe Hatfield
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Joe Hatfield

Joe Edward Hatfield, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the U of A, won the Dissertation of the Year Award issued by the GLBTQ Studies Division at the 108th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association. The Dissertation of the Year Award recognizes one outstanding dissertation advancing GLBTQ communication scholarship.

Hatfield's dissertation is titled "The Rhetorical Afterlife of Leelah Alcorn: A Trans* Hauntology." The project merges multiple methodological frameworks, including historiography, rhetorical criticism and digital network analysis, to analyze the mediated history of trans suicide, with a focus on the broad context circumscribing the 2014 suicide of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn.

Before arriving as a faculty member at the U of A, Hatfield completed the dissertation at the University of Colorado Boulder under the supervision of adviser Ted Striphas, an associate professor of media studies.

The award committee said of the project: "This dissertation makes important contributions to critical conversations and concepts at the intersection of transgender studies and the rhetorics of public memory."

Thus far, Hatfield has published numerous articles and book chapters from the dissertation, including "The Queer Kairotic: Digital Transgender Suicide Memories and Ecological Rhetorical Agency" in Rhetoric Society Quarterly in 2019 (winner of the annual Charles Kneupper Award recognizing the best article published in that year's volume of the journal); "#leelah alcorn: Trans*-ing Rhetorical History in the Digital Humanities Lab" in Reframing Rhetorical History: Cases, Theories, and Methodologies in 2022; "Blake Brockington's Rhetorical Afterlife: Fugitive Black Trans* Data and Queer Kairotic Methodology" in The Routledge Handbook of Queer Rhetoric in 2022; and "Moments of Shame in the Figural History of Trans Suicide" in Cultural Studies, forthcoming in 2023.


Joe Edward Hatfield, assistant professor
Department of Communication


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