Bernice Hausman


Bernice Hausman

Edward S. Diggs Professor in the Humanities


303 Shanks Hall
181 Turner St. NW
Blacksburg, VA 24061


(540) 231-8466


Department Membership



  • Cultural Studies of Medicine
  • Medical Rhetoric and the Medical Humanities
  • Maternity and Breastfeeding
  • Critical and Feminist Gender Theory
  • Vaccination Controversy

Professional Activities

  • Association for Bioethics and the Humanities
  • Breastfeeding and Feminism Collaborative
  • Rhetoric Society of America
  • American Association of University Professors
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Medical Humanities


  • Ph.D. University of Iowa
  • B.A. Yale University

Research Interests

    Awards and Honors

    • Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Award, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech. 2015.
    • Outstanding Dissertation Advisor, Social Sciences, Humanities, Education, and Business, Virginia Tech Graduate School. Spring 2014.
    • Outstanding Dissertation Advisor, Humanities, Business, and Social Sciences, Virginia Tech Graduate School. Spring 2010.

    Selection Publications


    • Mother’s Milk: Breastfeeding Controversies in American Culture. New York: Routledge, 2003.
    • Viral Mothers: Breastfeeding in the Age of HIV/AIDS. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011. 

    Edited Books

    Beyond Health, Beyond Choice: Breastfeeding Constraints and Realities. Edited by Paige Hall Smith, Bernice L. Hausman, and Miriam Labbok. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012.


    • Lenny Grant, Bernice L. Hausman, Margaret Cashion, Nicholas Lucchesi, Kelsey Patel, Jonathan Roberts.  “Vaccination Persuasion Online: A Qualitative Study of Two Provaccine and Two Vaccine Skeptical Websites.” Journal of Medical Internet Research 17.5 (May 2015): e133. DOI: 10.2196/jmir.4135. Web.
    • Bernice L. Hausman, Mecal Ghebremichael, Philip Hayek, Erin Mack., Mecal Ghebremichael, Philip Hayek, Erin Mack. “’Poisonous, Filthy, Loathsome, Damnable Stuff’: The Rhetorical Ecology of Vaccination Concern.” Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 87 (2014): 403-16. Web.
    • Heidi Y. Lawrence, Bernice L. Hausman, Clare J. Dannenberg. “Reframing Medicine’s Publics: The Local as a Public of Vaccine Refusal.” Journal of Medical Humanities 35.2 (2014): 111-129. Special issue: Medical Rhetoric. Ed. Lisa Keranen. DOI: 10.1007/s10912-014-9278-4.
    • Bernice L. Hausman. “Breastfeeding, Rhetoric, and the Politics of Feminism.” Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy 34.4 (2013): 330-344. Special Issue: The Politics of Breastfeeding. Ed. Jennifer Lucas. (invited) DOI: 10.1080/1554477X.2013.835673.

    Sponsored Research

    • An Epidemiology of Information: Data Mining the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. National Endowment for the Humanities, Digging Into Data Challenge. $123,778. PI E. Thomas Ewing. Co-PIs Bernice L. Hausman and Naren Ramakrishnan. In collaboration with Gunther Eysenbach, Toronto Centre for Global eHealth Innovation. January 2012-June 2014.
    • Blue Ridge Writing Project. National Writing Project. $35,000. PI Bernice L. Hausman. June 2011-June 2013.
    • Cumberland Plateau Health District Flu Vaccine Study. Virginia Department of Health. $28,000. PI Susan Marmagas, Co-PIs Bernice L. Hausman, Francois Elvinger, Clare Dannenberg. February-July 2011.

    Additional Information

    Bernice Hausman is a faculty affiliate in Women’s and Gender Studies, ASPECT, and Science and Technology in Society. She is also a professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, where she teaches a humanities course to second-year students and serves as an advisor to students interested in narrative medicine and the medical humanities. Her current research into vaccination involves qualitative ethnographic studies and a book about vaccine skepticism in the 21st century. She convenes the Vaccination Research Group (VRG; at Virginia Tech, a collaborative, team-based, humanities research group including undergraduate and graduate student researchers. She is also interested in the role of the humanities in public culture and how to promote the humanities as a critical component of sustainable communities in the 21st century.