Jennifer Borda

Co-Director, Civil Discourse Lab
Phone: (603) 862-3079
Office: Communication, Horton Social Science Center Room 145C, Durham, NH 03824
Pronouns: She/her/hers

Jennifer L. Borda is Professor of Communication, specializing in rhetoric, feminist studies, civil discourse and democratic deliberation. She is author of Women Labor Activists in the Movies: Nine Depictions of Workplace Organizers, 1954-2005 (McFarland Publishers, 2010) and co-editor of The Motherhood Business: Consumption, Communication, and Privilege (University of Alabama Press, 2015). Her essays have been published in various academic journals and anthologies, including Quarterly Journal of Speech, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, the Journal of Deliberative Democracy, Communication Monographs, Feminist Media Studies, and The Routledge Companion to Motherhood, among others. She is Co-founder/Co-Director of the UNH Civil Discourse Lab (CDL), which is committed to non-partisanship and a focus on process rather than product or content. The CDL trains students to become neutral facilitators of challenging and contentious discussions, using small groups to focus participants on fundamental differences, shared values, and listening to each other’s perspectives, in order to encourage greater understanding. In 2021, she was awarded the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award for the UNH College of Liberal Arts. Borda also received a UNH Center for the Humanities fellowship in 2014 for her research focusing on how discourse and ideologies about women, work, motherhood, and identity have been constructed and challenged through the mass media and online deliberation. She has been a fellow on the NSF-funded ADVANCE IT grant “UNH Unbiased” in which she co-chaired a subcommittee to address career-life balance issues relating to the recruitment of women and underrepresented STEM faculty. She also has been a member of UNH’s President’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Grand Challenges Steering Committee. She has been an invited participant in the Kettering Foundation Initiatives in Democratic Practices Learning Exchange and the SNF Ithaca Initiative Leadership Summit and the SNF Ithaca National Student Dialogue.

Courses Taught

  • CMN 456: Propaganda and Persuasion
  • CMN 599: Internship
  • CMN 685: Gendered Rhetorics
  • CMN 703: Seminar in Rhetorical Theory
  • CMN 785: Communication and Deliberation


  • Ph.D., Speech/Theater Education, Pennsylvania State University
  • M.A., Speech/Theater Education, Pennsylvania State University
  • B.A., Communications, Villanova University

Research Interests

  • Critical cultural studies
  • Democracy
  • Feminist rhetoric
  • Film analysis
  • Film/Cinema Studies
  • Gender Equality
  • Political discourse
  • Rhetoric
  • Social protest

Selected Publications

  • Borda, J. L. (2021). The embodied maternal rhetorics of Serena Williams. COMMUNICATION AND CRITICAL-CULTURAL STUDIES, 18(4), 349-368. doi:10.1080/14791420.2021.1905167

  • Heath, R., & Borda, J. L. (n.d.). Reclaiming Civility: Towards Discursive Opening in Dialogue and Deliberation. Regular Issue, 17(1). doi:10.16997/jdd.976

  • Borda, J. L. (2021). Workplace and Social Justice:. In Mothers, Mothering, and COVID-19 (pp. 83-100). Demeter Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctv1h45mcj.9

  • Borda, J. L., & Marshall, B. (2020). Creating a space to #SayHerName: Rhetorical stratification in the networked sphere. QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF SPEECH, 106(2), 133-155. doi:10.1080/00335630.2020.1744182

  • Borda, J. (2019). "The Lasting Impacts of 'The Opt Out" Revolution: Disciplining Working Mothers". In The Routledge Companion to Motherhood. Routledge.

  • Borda, J. (2015). Lean In or Leave Before You Leave?: False Dichotomies of Choice and Blame in Public Debates About Working Motherhood. In V. Reimer, & S. Sahagian (Eds.), The Mother-Blame Game (pp. 219-234). Bradford, Ontario Canada: Demeter Press. Retrieved from http://demeterpress.org/books/the-mother-blame-game/

  • Cultivating Community Within the Commercial Marketplace: Blurred Boundaries in the ‘Mommy’ Blogosphere (2013). Retrieved from http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org/

  • Borda, J. L. (2010). Working-class Women, Protofeminist Performance, and Resistant Ruptures in the Movie Musical The Pajama Game. TEXT AND PERFORMANCE QUARTERLY, 30(3), 227-246. doi:10.1080/10462937.2010.483287

  • Borda, J. L. (2009). Negotiating Feminist Politics in the Third Wave: Labor Struggle and Solidarity in Live Nude Girls Unite!. Communication Quarterly, 57(2), 117-135. doi:10.1080/01463370902880462

  • Borda, J. L. (2008). Documentary Dialectics or Dogmatism? Fahrenhype 9/11, Celsius 41.11, and the New Politics of Documentary Film. In T. Benson, & B. Snee (Eds.), The Rhetoric of New Political Documentary (pp. 54-77). Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP. Retrieved from http://www.siupress.com/books/978-0-8093-2836-9