Lauren Seitz (’20) has received the 2020 National Communication Association Top Rhetorical M.A. Thesis Award. Her thesis, “France Deserves to be Free”: Constituting Frenchness in Marine Le Pen’s National Front/National Rally,” examines the constitutive power of the rhetoric and media coverage of Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French far-right party known (at different points in time) as the National Front or National Rally. As one of the reactionary populist leaders who has gained increased legitimacy in their country’s electoral processes, Le Pen engages in victimage and scapegoating, casting the French people as victims of elites, globalists, and immigrants, and normalizing far-right nationalism and a reactionary vision of Frenchness.

Seitz’s thesis makes important contributions to two conversations in rhetorical studies within which there is comparatively little research: 1) the rhetoric of far-right nationalism and 2) the rhetoric of international women leaders. Although a flurry of research on Donald Trump has been published in the preceding two years, Communication Studies scholars have been slow to examine other contemporary reactionary political figures such as Boris Johnson and Marine Le Pen. Even more scarce is research on women politicians operating outside of the United States. As we in the U.S. grapple with the fact that 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump in 2016, Lauren’s paper explicates some of the reasons why reactionary rhetoric appeals to women and men outside of the U.S. as well.

In fall 2020, Seitz’s thesis was elected by the Colorado State University Graduate School to be the CSU nominee for the Western Association of Graduate Schools ProQuest Award (Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, and Business category). She graduated from CSU in Spring 2020 and is now pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois.

  • 30, 2020
  • Tags: graduate, NCA, award, Seitz
  • Image: Seitz