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 before choosing to devote her time more fully to her academic pursuits. However, she continues to teach and study ballroom dancing, and she is also the director of a local non-profit arts and education group. At USC, she has primarily focused on entertainment media, cultural studies, the communicative elements of dance, (dis)ability rhetoric, and more general issues of rhetorical theory and criticism; her current research is focused on the representation of (dis)ability in the mass media. 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.