Professor Patia teaches in Gender Studies and Rhetoric, Writing, and Public Discourse at Whitman College. She received her BA from Northwestern University, her MA from the University of Minnesota, and her PhD from Penn State. She teaches classes on public speaking; the rhetoric of social protest; rhetoric, gender, and sexuality; rhetoric and violence; immigration and border discourses; the black freedom struggle; and voices of women's rights activism. Many of these courses are cross-listed with or can count toward a major or minor in Whitman's Gender Studies and Race and Ethnic Studies Programs.
Her published research includes a book chapter (with Kirt H. Wilson) in Thinking Together: Lecturing, Learning, and Difference in the Long Nineteenth Century on how ideas about race and gender were constructed through popular entertainment in the late nineteenth century and a book chapter in An Encyclopedia of Communication Ethics: Goods in Contention on the works of African American educator and activist W.E.B. Du Bois.
In her teaching and research, Professor Patia examines how power is challenged and maintained through rhetorical and communicative processes. She explores these relationships of power and difference through historical and contemporary rhetorical efforts by marginalized individuals and groups to create a more just world, and by the powerful, who would maintain and expand the discriminatory policies and practices of the status quo. The aim of Professor Patia's work is to clarify the role of rhetoric in social change, and specifically what rhetorical practices tell us about how we can create and sustain a more just world.