Kelly Happe is associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Institute for Women's Studies.
Dr. Happe’s scholarship has appeared in The Quarterly Journal of Speech, New Genetics and Society, MediaTropes, 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 as part of its "Biopolitics" series 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." She is co-editor of the 2018 book Biocitizenship: On Bodies, Belonging, and the Politics of Life, also with NYU Press.
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 politics and philosophy of emerging biological concepts, and in particular, their influence on the humanities and social sciences. She also writes on various topics related to rhetoric, utopia, and radical economic thought. Her next book project, tentatively titled Capacitating Capital: Rhetoric, Bodies, and History in the Bioeconomy, addresses the rise of new materialism and biopolitics in the academy, arguing that by failing to account for the relationship between capital, exploitation, and bodily matter, these disciplinary interventions not only have limited explanatory value, they risk undermining effective articulations of resistance and freedom.
In addition to her scholarship, Prof. Happe teaches courses in rhetorical theory, feminist theory, research methods, science studies, and environmental communication. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Quarterly Journal of Speech and Rhetoric of Health and Medicine as well as the advisory board for the “Rhetoric and Public Culture: History, Theory, Critique” book series with University of California Press. She is currently Book Review Editor at the journal Philosophy and Rhetoric.
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. Her work was supported by a Cultural Studies Fellowship, a Mellon Pre-doctoral Fellowship, and she was the recipient of the best dissertation of the year award from the Women's Studies department.
UNC Charlotte Ethics Center, February 19, 2020