Jeff Bennett

Communication Studies
The University of Iowa

Jeff recently published his first book, Banning Queer Blood: Rhetorics of Citizenship, Contagion, and Resistance (University of Alabama Press). This analysis, which places contemporary rhetorical theory in conversation with identity and movement studies, focuses on the federal donor deferral policies that prohibit gay men from giving blood. Although organizations such as the FDA purport to secure public safety through a scrupulous deliberative process, Jeff argues these measures are substantiated by a deleterious scientific discourse that positions gay men as contagions. As a remedy, queer men have responded by quietly donating blood and verbally protesting in the ritual site. These practices underscore the constitutive, vernacular, and discursive modalities of citizenship, illustrating that civic identity rests not in the prescribed normativities of institutions, but the quotidian lives of social actors.

In addition to the book, Jeff's work has also appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Text and Performance Quarterly, the Journal of Homosexuality, and the Southern Communication Journal.

Jeff's current research project, tentatively titled "Critical Conditions: Diabetes and the Management of the Human Body," is a continuation of his work completed on the relationship between blood symbolism, public policy, and the cultural construction of citizenship. "Critical Conditions" investigates the trope of "management" employed by institutions to regulate and discipline the bodies of people with diabetes.

The National Communication Association recently named Jeff the recipient of the Karl R. Wallace Memorial Award.