Dana L. Cloud

Dana L. Cloud is an American communication professor. Cloud’s primary research focuses on rhetoric, cultural theory, gender theory, and queer theory. She is best known for her 1998 book Control and Consolation in American Culture and Politics: Rhetoric of Therapy in which she coined the term “rhetoric of therapy“.

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At Pennsylvania State University, Cloud received her B.A./B.S. English and telecommunications double major in 1986. Cloud received her M.A. in rhetorical studies from the University of Iowa in 1989. In 1992, she received her Ph.D. in Rhetorical Studies from the department of communication studies at the University of Iowa.

Cloud was a faculty member in the department of communication studies, part of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies and the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, from January 1993 to August 2015. Cloud served as the director of graduate studies in department of communication Studies at the University of Texas, Austin, from August 2008–2015.[1]

From August 2015 to May 2019, Cloud was a professor and the director of graduate studies at Syracuse University.

Cloud, who was a communications and rhetorical studies professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse, is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (against Israel) movement and describes her views as radical liberalism. She has been named to various “blacklists” of professors during her career.

Cloud’s research interests include critical rhetorical and cultural studies, including Marxist theory, feminist theory, public sphere theory, and postmodernism; the rhetoric of social movements; representations of sex, gender, and race in popular media; activist scholarship; and scholarship about activism.”[2]

Cloud is credited with creating the term “rhetoric of therapy” in her 1998 book, Control and Consolation in American Culture and Politics: Rhetoric of Therapy.[citation needed] In this book, she describes rhetoric of therapy as “a set of political and cultural discourses that have adopted psychotherapy’s lexicon—the conservative language of healing, coping, adaptation, and restoration of previously existing order—but in contexts of social and political conflict.”[3] The book explores what occurs when political activism and the pursuit of social change is replaced by personal, psychological changes. Cloud credits this therapeutic shift in American culture to personal changes rather than social changes. In this book, Cloud argues that “the purpose of this therapeutic discourse is to encourage people to focus on themselves and their private lives rather than to attempt to reform flawed systems of social and political power.”[4]

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. . . Dana L. Cloud . . .

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