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Kelly Happe

Associate Department Head
Core Faculty, Institute for Women's Studies

Contact Info

629 Caldwell Hall

 Dr. Happe, Professor of Communication Studies and Women's Studies, is a rhetorical theorist and critic working at the intersection of Marxism, feminism, science studies, and biopolitics. Her scholarship has appeared in Theory and Event, The Quarterly Journal of SpeechNew Genetics and Society, Philosophy and Rhetoric, and other venues.  Her book, The Material Gene: Gender, Race, and Heredity After the Human Genome Project was published by NYU Press and is winner of the 2014 Diamond Anniversary Book Award from the National Communication Association. Dr. Happe is also the recipient of the 2014 Golden Anniversary Monograph Award for her essay "The Body of Race: Toward a Rhetorical Theory of Racial Ideology,” also from the National Communication Association. She is co-editor of the 2018 book Biocitizenship: On Bodies, Belonging, and the Politics of Life.

Most recently, she was awarded the 2019 Creative Research Medal for the Humanities and Arts by the University of Georgia. In 2017-2018, she completed a Study in a Second Discipline Fellowship in the Department of Genetics with one of the nation's leading epigenetics researchers.  The fellowship is part of her ongoing work on the social history and philosophy of biological concepts. She continues work on a series of essays on rhetoric, utopia, and radical economic thought, and is in the early stages of co-editing a book on the rhetorics of care. Her next book, titled The Body Plastic: Rhetorics of Race and Value in Science is under contract with NYU Press. The book theorizes and describes the role of scientific theories in capacitating the debilitated and racialized body for value-making in late capitalism and so contributes to ongoing debates about Marxist understandings of rhetoric, new materialism, and biopolitics.

In addition to her scholarship, Prof. Happe teaches courses in rhetorical theory, feminist theory, social movements, queer theory, Marxism, and science studies. In 2019 she was selected to teach in UGA’s Study Abroad program in Oxford, UK. She serves on the editorial boards of Quarterly Journal of Speech and Rhetoric and Public Affairs as well as the advisory board for Review of Communication. She has served as Book Review Editor for Philosophy and Rhetoric since 2017.

Professor Happe received her PhD in rhetoric, with a secondary emphasis in media studies and cultural studies, at the University of Pittsburgh under the direction of Carol Stabile. While there, she also studied extensively with faculty in the Cultural Studies program and the History and Philosophy of Science department and her work was supported by a Cultural Studies Fellowship and a Mellon Pre-doctoral Fellowship. She has been active in local community organizing, serving as a board member for the organization Athens for Everyone (including serving as its President for two years) and leading its coalitional efforts to institute criminal justice reform in Athens, GA. She is a proud member of Local 3265 of the United Campus Workers of Georgia.

Upcoming talks:

"Plasticity and the Life Sciences: Race and the Creation of Value in Late Capitalism." University of Sassari, Italy, July 30th. 

"Why the Race Concept Persists in the Life Sciences: Ideology, Biopolitics, and Capital." XXV World Congress of Philosophy, Rome, Italy, August 6th.






Dr. Happe was awarded the 2019 Creative Research Medal for the Humanities and Arts by the University of Georgia.

Curriculum Vitae:
Articles Featuring Kelly Happe

Dr. Happe was honored this semester with the Creative Research Medal in the Humanities and Arts for her work on the implications of race and gender in genomic science. 

My Graduate Students

Clint Bennett

Graduate Student

Mik Davis

Graduate Student

Christina Deka

PhD Candidate

Allison Doherty

PhD Candidate

Joey Konrad

Graduate Student

Morgan Thoem

Graduate Student

Allegro Wang

Graduate Student

More of My Graduate Students

Blake Cravey

PhD Candidate

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