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Heather Stassen-Ferrara


As a student in the rhetoric and public culture track, my research interests are primarily in the general area of marginal public culture phenomena including, but not limited to, plural marriage, urban legends, "outlaw" sports, and guilty pleasures.  While in the rhetoric track, I use multiple methods in order to answer any given question.  Past research methods utilized include ethnography, narrative, rhetorical criticism/analysis, qualitative and quantitative survey methods, and content analysis.  My secondary is in the area of organizational and interpersonal communication.  Specifically, I am interested in family communication and structure, social change, and the notion of the self and/as other in romantic relationships. Current research includes work on including the other in self during between romantic partners, junk mail's dyadic masquerade, social change brought about in the area of plural marriage through television programs and newspaper accounts, and social capital and community within the world of amateur drag-racing. I am also working towards a certificate in women's studies.

I currently teach classes in argumentation (COMS 215) and persuasion (COMS 342).  In the past, I have also tought the basic public speaking course (COMS 103) and assisted classes in organizational communication during my time at Ithaca College. 

On a personal note, I am a huge Yankees fan (much to the disgust of my students), participate in amateur drag-racing, and enjoy spending time with my family and friends.