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Beth Waggenspack

Beth M. Waggenspack, Associate Professor

Beth M. Waggenspack, Associate Professor
Beth M. Waggenspack, Associate Professor

School of Communication
147 Shanks Hall
181 Turner Street NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-7625 |

Beth Waggenspack is an associate professor at the School of Communication.

  • American First Ladies
  • Women's Political Rhetoric
  • Adoption Rhetoric
  • Rhetorical History, Theory, and Criticism
  • Persuasion
  • Introduction to Communication Theory
  • Social Movement Rhetoric
  • PhD, The Ohio State University
  • MA, Texas Tech University
  • BA, Muskingum College
  • National Communication Association 
  • Eastern Communication Association
  • Central States Communication Association
  • Member, Virginia Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence, 2000
  • Virginia Tech Alumni Teaching Award, 2000
  • College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award, 2007


Wallace, S. P., Waggenspack, B. and Hubbert, K. (2008). Communication: Principles of Tradition and Change. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt.


Book Chapters

Waggenspack, B. (2019). Huma Who? Abedin’s Incomplete Narrative. In Sacco, J. (Ed.) Women of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Landham, MD: Lexington.

Waggenspack, B. and VanDyke, M. (2016).  Mountaintop Coal Mining: A Stain on the Conscience of America.   In B. Duffy and R. Besel, (Eds.). Green Voices: Defending Nature and the Environment in American Civic Discourse.  Westport, CT: Greenwood.

Waggenspack, B.  (2013).  Media Depictions of Adoption Narratives. In D. Leoutsakas and S. Marrow (Eds.), More than Blood: Today’s Reality and Tomorrow’s Vision of Family. Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt. 372-385.

Waggenspack, B.   (2010). Deceptive Narratives in the 2008 Presidential Campaign.  In R. Denton, Jr. (Ed.),  Studies of Identity in the 2008 Presidential Campaign. Boulder, CO: Rowman & Littlefield. 155-200. 

Waggenspack, B. (2006).  Eleanor Roosevelt: Social Conscience for the New DealIn T. Benson (Ed.),American Rhetoric in the New Deal Era, 1932-1945  (Volume 7 of A Rhetorical History of the United States). East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. 157-209.

Waggenspack, B. (2005). Marian Wright Edelman. In Bernard Duffy and Richard Leeman, (Eds.),  American Voices. Westport, CT: Greenwood. 133-140.

Waggenspack, B. (2004) Helen Herron Taft: Opportunity and Ambition. In M. Wertheimer and N. Gutgold, (Eds.), Inventing Their Voices: The Rhetoric of American First Ladies of the Twentieth Century. Rowman & Littlefield. 59-78.

Waggenspack, B. (2004) Women's Role in Rhetorical Traditions (45-47); Aspasia of Miletus (48-50); Women's Rhetoric from Medieval to Enlightenment Times(112-117); Prelude to the Platform: Woman's Transition to the Public Sphere (137-145); Women Emerge as Speakers: Nineteenth-Century Transformations of Women's Role in the Public Arena (219-236); Into the Twenty-First Century: Contemporary Directions in Women's Rhetoric (459-469). In Golden, J., Berquist, G., Coleman, W. and Sproule, J. M. (Eds.), The Rhetoric of Western Thought, Tenth Edition. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Additional Information 

Dr. Waggenspack's scholarship generally focuses on women and their rhetorical voices. Recent critical essays include analysis of the persuasive communication of American First Ladies (Helen Herron Taft, Eleanor Roosevelt) to women who argue for social change, such as children's rights spokesperson Marian Wright Edelman, environmental activist Ashley Judd, and women's rights advocates Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, and Lucretia Mott. Her analyses of the contributions of women to the span of rhetorical theory and history are featured in The Rhetoric of Western Thought.

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