Professor Patia is an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Writing, and Public Discourse at Whitman College. She fell in love with the study of rhetoric as an undergraduate student who was eager to change the world. In her classes, Professor Patia hopes to kindle the same spark of wonder and excitement in her students that she felt when she first encountered rhetoric as a student. Rhetoric is the interdisciplinary study of language, politics, history, and culture, allowing students to ask big questions about how symbolic communication shapes our world and equipping them with the tools to make a difference. Professor Patia tends to adopt a discussion-oriented approach in many of her courses (especially the upper 300-level seminars), treating students as fellow interlocutors in critical inquiry of the subject matter.
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 rhetors to create a more just world. This is necessarily complemented by interrogating discourses of 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 analyze 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.
Professor Patia teaches classes on rhetorical criticism and theory; rhetoric and public culture; rhetoric and social protest; rhetoric, gender, and sexuality; rhetoric and violence; immigration and border discourses; the black freedom struggle; and rhetorics of feminism. Many of her courses count toward the Gender Studies major and minor program at Whitman, and she is available to serve on Gender Studies senior thesis committees. 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.
Professor Patia received her Ph.D. in Communication Arts and Sciences from Penn State and her M.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Minnesota. Her undergraduate degree is from Northwestern University, where she double majored in rhetoric and political science. She is a member of the Rhetoric Society of America and the National Communication Association.
Ph.D. Communication Arts and Sciences
The Pennsylvania State University
M.A. Communication Studies
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
B.A. Communication Studies and Political Science
Northwestern University - School of Communication
Articles and Book Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
Kirt H. Wilson and Kaitlyn G. Patia. “Authentic Imitation or Perverse Original: Learning about Race from America’s Popular Platforms.” In Thinking Together: Lecturing, Learning, and Difference in the Long Nineteenth Century, edited by Angela G. Ray and Paul Stob, 72-94. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2018.
Book Reviews and Reference Articles
Kaitlyn G. Patia. “W.E.B. Du Bois: Situated Knowledge in Action.” In An Encyclopedia of Communication Ethics: Goods in Contention, edited by Ronald C. Arnett, Annette M. Holba, and Susan Mancino, 137-141. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2018. Kaitlyn G. Patia.
Review of: Robert E. Terrill, Double-Consciousness and the Rhetoric of Barack Obama: The Price and Promise of Citizenship (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2015). Reviewed in The Quarterly Journal of Speech 103, no. 4 (2017): 426-431.
“The (F)utility of Knowledge: Examining Jane Addams’ Role as ‘Interpreter’ of Marginalized Experiences for Privileged Audiences,” a research paper accepted for presentation at the 19th Biennial Rhetoric Society of America Conference, Portland, OR, May 21-24, 2020. Conference subsequently canceled due to COVID–19 pandemic.
“‘I Live in the Future’: Cruising the Dystopia of Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer and Imagining Queer Black Feminist Futurity,” Midwest Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association Conference; Indianapolis, IN; October 4-7, 2018.
“Sympathy for the ‘Devil Baby’: Social Memory, Women’s Solidarity, and Democratic Faith at the Margins”; 18th Biennial Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America; Minneapolis, MN; May 31 - June 3, 2018.
“Strange and Beautiful Stories: Memory, Faith, and Futurity in W.E.B. Du Bois’ Darkwater,” National Communication Association, Dallas, TX, November 16-19, 2017.
“Solidarity as the Meeting of Love and Justice? Jane Addams and the Chicago Garment Workers Strike,” National Communication Association, Dallas, TX, November 16-19, 2017.
“Commemorating Reconstruction: W.E.B. Du Bois, the Niagara Movement, and the Struggle Against White Supremacy,” National Communication Association, Dallas, TX, November 16-19, 2017.
“Queering Obama: Searching for Worldmaking Possibilities in Obama’s ‘Doubled Rhetoric,’” National Communication Association, Dallas, TX, November 16-19, 2017.
Awards, Fellowships and Grants
Mellon Periclean Faculty Leader, Andrew W. Mellon Periclean Faculty Leadership (PFL) Program in the Humanities, 2020-2022 cohort.
RSA Dissertation Award Finalist (2019), Rhetoric Society of America, 2020.
Pedagogy Innovation Grant (with Lydia McDermott and Matthew Bost) to support curricular revision and the creation of the new Rhetoric, Writing, and Public Discourse department at Whitman College, 2019.
Diversity Innovation Grant to support “Pacific Northwest Rhetoric, Race, and Media Symposium,” Whitman College, 2016.
Diversity Innovation Grant to support “Civic Conversations in the Community” / “Walla Walla Talks” event, Whitman College, 2016.
Pre-doctoral Fellow, Center for Humanities and Information, The Pennsylvania State University, 2015-2016.
Humanities Initiative Dissertation Grant, College of the Liberal Arts, The Pennsylvania State University, 2015.
Nancy and Joseph Birkle Student Engagement Award, Center for Democratic Deliberation, The Pennsylvania State University, 2015.
Pre-doctoral Research Award (utilized to conduct archival research at Moorland-Spingarn Research Center), Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, 2015.
Sparks Fellowship, College of the Liberal Arts, The Pennsylvania State University, 2013-2014.