While communication scholars have dedicated much research towards defining and furthering effective communication, explorations of speech disability, especially from a critical lens, are largely absent in these pursuits. I conducted a critical rhetorical analysis of the (dis)embodiments of disabled speakers through examining segments from the 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC) program that cover Joe Biden’s story as a person who stutters, and episodes of StutterTalk, a podcast created by and featuring people who stutter. Moreover, I organize this thesis around two claims: (1) As a person who stutters with certain privilege and power, Joe Biden’s DNC story further secured himself a rhetorical ability that is rooted in ableism, and (2) podcast participants from StutterTalk practice a more ethical rhetorical ability as illuminated in their discourse around Joe Biden’s stutter. Lastly, I develop a theoretical framework of rhetorical ability that emphasizes embodiment as crucial in moving towards ethical rhetorical ability.
rhetorical ability, critical disability studies, stuttering, public speaking, joe biden, stuttertalk
Level of Degree
Department of Communication and Journalism
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Mulle, Katherine. "Reimagining Rhetorical Ability: (Dis)Embodiments of Disabled Speakers in the StutterTalk Podcast and the 2020 Democratic National Convention." (2022). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/cj_etds/142