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Loretta LeMaster

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Assistant Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1205
Asst Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1205
Biography: 

Lore/tta (formerly: Benny) LeMaster (she/they) is a critical/cultural communication and performance scholar. They study the performative, discursive, and material constitution of cultural difference as it manifests at both individual and systemic levels. With an intersectional focus on difference, they are interested in the performance of identity, non-normative modes of relationality, and mundane performances of self and/as culture.

They use both text-centered methods as well as performative and critical field methods including autoethnography, critical and performance ethnography, critical rhetorical methods, and arts-based approaches. The critical rhetorics that help shape their intersectional lens include: critical (mixed-)race, queer and trans of color, trans/feminist, and critical disability/crip theories.

Education: 
  • Ph.D. Communication Studies, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 2016
  • M.A. Communication Studies, California State University, Long Beach, 2010
  • B.A. Sociology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, California State University, Long Beach, 2007
Research Interests: 

LeMaster identifies as an intersectionality scholar and pedagogue who studies the performative, discursive, and material constitution of cultural difference as it manifests at both individual and systemic levels. With an intersectional focus on difference, they are interested in the performance of identity, non-normative modes of relationality, and mundane performances of self and/as culture. The methods that they most regularly utilize include both text-centered methods as well as performative and critical field methods such as autoethnography, critical and performance ethnography, critical rhetorical field methods, and arts-based approaches. The critical rhetorics that help shape their intersectional lens include: critical (mixed-)race, queer and queer of color, transfeminist, and critical disability/crip theories.

Publications: 

LeMaster, Benny. “(Un)Becoming Ally: Trans at the Intersections of Difference.” Women and Language, vol. 41, no. 1, 2019, pp. 155-158.

LeMaster, Benny. “Embracing Failure: Improvisational Performance as Critical Intercultural Praxis.”
Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, vol. 4, no. 4, 2018, 1-21. http://liminalities.net/14-4/embracing.pdf

LeMaster, Benny. “Transing Dystopia: Constituting Trans Monstrosity, Performing Trans Rage in Torrey Peters’ Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones.Monsters and Monstrosity, special issue of Popular Culture Studies Journal, vol. 6, no. 2-3,
2018, 96-117.

LeMaster, Benny. “Star Gazing: Transing Gender Communication.” Communication Teacher, 2018. doi.org/10.1080/17404622.2018.1468029.

LeMaster, Benny (with Greg Hummel). “We, Bully: On Politicizing Compulsory Bullying.” Communication Education, vol. 67, no. 4, 2018, pp. 520-527.

LeMaster, Benny. “ Notes on Trans Relationality.” QED: A Journal in LGBTQ Worldmaking vol. 4, no. 2, 2017, pp. 84-92.

LeMaster, Benny. “Unlearning the Violence of the Normative.” QED: A Journal in LGBTQ Worldmaking vol. 4, no. 2, 2017, pp. 123-30.

LeMaster, Benny. “Pedagogies of Failure: Queer Communication Pedagogy as Anti-Normative.” Theorizing Critical Intercultural Communication Pedagogy. Eds. A. Atay & S. Toyosaki. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2017, 81-96.

LeMaster, Benny. “Discontents of Being and Becoming Fabulous on RuPaul’s Drag U: Queer Criticism in Neoliberal Times.” Women’s Studies in Communication vol. 38, no. 2, 2015, pp. 167-186.

LeMaster, Benny. “On Strike!: A Poetic Autoethnography of Labor.” Departures in Critical Qualitative Research vol. 4, no. 2, 2015, pp. 83-95.

LeMaster, Benny. “Telling Multiracial Tales: An Autoethnography of Coming Out Home.” Qualitative Inquiry vol. 20, no. 1, 2014, pp. 51-60.

LeMaster, Benny. “Circles.” Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies vol. 10, no. 2, 2014, n.p.

LeMaster, Benny. “Queer Imag(in)ing: Liminality as Resistance in Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In.” Communication and Cultural/Critical Studies vol. 8, no. 2, 2011, pp. 103-123.

Fall 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 442Identity, Perf, Human Comm
COM 492Honors Directed Study
COM 493Honors Thesis
COM 604Theory Construction in Comm
COM 690Reading and Conference
COM 691Seminar
COM 692Research
COM 792Research
COM 799Dissertation
Summer 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 692Research
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 492Honors Directed Study
COM 493Honors Thesis
COM 607Contemporary Rhetorical Method
COM 691Seminar
COM 792Research
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 323Comm Approach Popular Culture
COM 442Identity, Perf, Human Comm
COM 604Theory Construction in Comm
COM 690Reading and Conference
COM 792Research
Summer 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 692Research
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 442Identity, Perf, Human Comm
COM 499Individualized Instruction
COM 691Seminar
COM 792Research
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 442Identity, Perf, Human Comm
COM 607Contemporary Rhetorical Method
COM 792Research
Summer 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 692Research
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 323Comm Approach Popular Culture
COM 442Identity, Perf, Human Comm
COM 499Individualized Instruction
COM 690Reading and Conference
COM 692Research
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
COM 442Identity, Perf, Human Comm
Presentations: 

"Star Gazing: Transing Gender Communication," Feminist and Queer Pedagogies Faculty Workshop. College of Wooster, 2018

“Intervening in Body Talk: Body Positivity and Criticality,” Project Humanities, ASU, 2019

“The Violence of Cissexism," Department of Communication Studies, CSULB, 2017

"Violence and Trans Communities,” Department of Communication Studies, CSULB, 2017

“Ethics in Community Performance Work,” Department of Theatre Arts, CSULB, 2017

"Performance Ethnography and Healing from Trauma,” Department of Communication Studies, CSULB, 2016

“Reimagining Coming Out,” Office of Multicultural Affairs, CSULB, 2016

"Performing Persona," Queer and Trans Rock Camp, Long Beach, CA, 2016

“Intersectional Popular Culture,” Queer and Trans Rock Camp, Long Beach, CA, 2016

“Gender, Communication, and Power,” Department of Communication Studies, Mt. San Antonio College, 2016

“Remembering 49… more; honoring space,” Office of Multicultural Affairs, CSULB, 2016

“The Autoethnographic and Praxis-Oriented Ethnographic Approach,” Department of Communication Studies, CSULB, 2016

“Content Analysis and Feminist Research Methods,” Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, CSULB, 2015

“Exclusionary Politics and Evolutionary Psychology,” interACT Performance Troupe, CSULB, 2015

“What Queer is, what Queer does,” Queer and Trans Rock Camp, Long Beach, CA, 2015

“Making Disney Cast Members,” Department of Communication Studies, SIUC, 2014

“Embracing the Improvisational," LGBTQ Resource Center, SIUC, 2014

"Religion and Spirituality in Queer Communities,” Isn’t It Queer, WDBX Community Radio, Carbondale, IL, 2013

“Mediating Queer Communities,” Isn’t It Queer, WDBX Community Radio, Carbondale, IL, 2013

“Behind the Scenes of the Disneyland Resort,” Department of Communication Studies, SIUC, 2012

“Creating Disney Magic,” Department of Communication Studies, SIUC, 2011

"Becoming Disney Cast Member,” Department of History, Vanguard University, 2011

"Homophobia and Transphobia in Higher Education,” interACT Performance Troupe, CSULB, 2011

"Upon our Return: Dialoguing Queer Liberation, Crafting Alliances," Office of Multicultural Affairs, CSULB, 2010

“Male Feminisms,” Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, CSU Fullerton, 2009

“Challenging Definitions of Gender Roles,” Sociology Summit, CSULB, 2007

“Intersecting Transgender and Gay Male Identities,”  Western Regional Conference, Delta Lambda Phi, 2007

Honors / Awards: 

Top Four Paper, “Embracing Failure: Improvisational Performance as Critical Intercultural Praxis," International and Intercultural Communication, WSCA, 2017

Top Four Paper, “Performing Temporal Uncertainty: Intersectionality and Queer Temporality," Ethnography Division, NCA, 2016

Top Four Paper, “Performing Ambiguity: Intersectionality and Queer Failure,” International and Intercultural Communication, NCA, 2016

Top Paper, “On the Limits of Possibility: Ontological Ruminations on Difference and Becoming," International and Intercultural Communication Interest Group, WSCA, 2014

Top Four Paper, “Becoming Midwest Genderqueer: Queer Performance Criticism in Neoliberal Times," Performance Studies Interest Group, WSCA, 2014

John T. Warren Excellence in Graduate Student Research/Creative Activity, Department of Communication Studies, SIUC, 2014

Top Graduate Research Presentation, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, SIUC, 2014

Top Four Paper, “A Genderqueer Phenomenology," Performance Studies Interest Group, WSCA, 2013

Top Performance, “On Strike: An Autoethnographic Performance of Labor," Performance Studies Interest Group, WSCA, 2013

Top Four Paper, “Schooling at RuPaul’s Drag U: The Normalization of Drag and Other Implications for a Queer Feminist Politic," Performance Studies Interest Group, Southern States Communication Association, 2013

Top Performance, “The Rain and the Leaves," Performance Studies Interest Group, Southern States Communication Association, 2013

Graduate and Professional Student Council Service Award, Graduate and Professional Student Council, SIUC, 2013

Ronald J. Pelias Graduate Service Award, Department of Communication Studies, SIUC, 2013

Top Four Paper, “Talking Back to Queer Theory: Moving Toward an Anti-Racist, Embodied Framework,” GLBTQ Communication Studies Division, NCA, 2012

Top Debut Paper, “Crafting an Ex-Gay Gender: The (Re)Construction of Community," International and Intercultural Communication, WSCA, 2011

Editorships: 

Kaleidoscope: A Graduate Journal of Qualitative Communication Research, 2014-15

Special Issue Editor

LeMaster, Benny (with Amber Johnson). “Unlearning Gender: Toward a Critical Communication Trans Pedagogy.” Communication Teacher, forthcoming.

LeMaster, Benny. “Queer of Color Criticism and Communication Studies.” Kaleidoscope, vol. 14, 2015.

Professional Associations: 
  • International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry
  • National Communication Association (NCA)
  • Western States Communication Association (WSCA)