francess [at] usc [dot] edu
Francesca Marie Smith received an honors BA degree in linguistics from Stanford University, studying critical discourse analysis and sociolinguistics in the context of women's magazines and messages of morality. She then earned her MA degree in communication at Pepperdine University, concentrating on critical studies of media and rhetoric; her master’s thesis focused on Condoleezza Rice and the strategies she uses to balance the intersectional identity elements of race, gender, and presidentiality. After graduating, Francesca taught Public Speaking and Rhetorical Analysis at Pepperdine while continuing her career as a debate coach for various Southern California forensics programs. Since the age of three, Francesca has also been a professional performer, enjoying some success in Hollywood as an actress while also teaching and performing a variety of dance styles. At USC, she focuses primarily on rhetorical representations of (dis)ability in mass media, situating her work at the intersection of rhetorical theory and criticism, cultural and fan studies, and media criticism. Ultimately, she is interested in building more productive relationships between academia and media producers, and sees her work as being driven by equal commitments to pedagogy, ethics, and social change.