Laura A. Wackwitz, Director and Editor, Cable Creek Publishing, is a freelance scholar, editor, filmmaker, story consultant, instructor, and writing coach. As a scholar, her academic work stands at the intersection of discourse and power, as she seeks both to interrogate hidden constructions and to provide a space for alternative conceptions and underrepresented voices. Her documentary videos include three that explore mental health community services for families in crisis—one via a federal grant and two produced for the State of Colorado Division of Mental Health. Her publications include Women in Mass Communication: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Routledge, 2023), co-edited with Pamela J. Creedon, Feminist Communication Theory (Sage, 2004) with Lana F. Rakow and numerous articles in academic journals, including Women’s Studies International Forum, Journal of Communication, Free Speech Yearbook, Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, and Joint Force Quarterly.
Laura has over 20 years’ experience coaching academic and creative writers, including 10 years as a university professor. Her faculty experience includes tenure-track positions at two Carnegie R1 doctoral institutions where she taught media theory, criticism, and production courses and was responsible for design/development of digital media production facilities. Speaking both the language of the academic and of the professional, she served as liaison among academic faculty, media practitioners, and media systems designers. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia School of Journalism and Mass Communication, an M.A. from Northern Illinois University, and a B.A. from Lewis and Clark College where she was recently inducted into the Pioneer Athletics Hall of Fame. Together with her family, she also owns a small pesticide-free Christmas tree farm which is a certified wildlife habitat.
My research is informed by the recognition that structures of power, no matter how essential, limit human experience in unnecessary, frequently brutal ways. These brutalities intersect, manifesting as practices of indifference, discrimination, and hate. Early cultural/critical media theorists convincingly demonstrated the impossibility of enduring alterations to overarching core power systems. I both believe and refuse to accept their conclusions, choosing instead to fight for celebration of differences, elevation of voices, and critique of representations (see, particularly my two books Feminist Communication Theory and Women in Mass Communication). Communication in all its varied forms both creates spaces for unique perspectives and reveals assumptions of power. In my work, I ask three interrelated questions:
How is communication in a particular instance working for or against traditionally underrepresented groups and/or the greater good?
What can we learn about ourselves and our structures of power by interrogating texts and practices normally left undisturbed?
What is the relationship between the communication artifact/situation and understanding of authenticity?
Communication—largely mediated, especially these days—lies at the center of all these activities of brutality and relief. In my work, I explore some of the spaces in which freedom—to create, communicate, think, compete, live—is both lost and celebrated, forever advocating in favor of meaningful change in opposition to enforced realities. My published work, for example, analyzes:
Sex testing in international athletics, arguing that a binary assumption of male:female bodies not only leaves no room for non-traditionally defined competitors, but mirrors the larger system in which women police themselves to maintain their purity and the presumed superiority of the true human male (see "Verifying the Myth," and "Sex Testing").
Supreme Court opinions restricting free expression, revealing reliance upon the presumption of a direct effects model of communication that serves as justification for constructing a hierarchy of communicators under the law (see "Burger on Miller" and "Ruled by Passion").
Writing and research in military contexts, explicating missed opportunities for strategic leader research to change the national security landscape because the apparatus in place to further military education fails to equip future leaders with the communication skills necessary to advance national interests (see "Strategic Leader Research" and "Writing, Integrity, and National Security").
Structures of power deter and empower, promote and silence, preserve and destroy. Communication—largely mediated, especially these days—lies at the center of all these activities of brutality and relief. In my work, I explore some of the spaces in which freedom—to create, communicate, think, compete, live—is both lost and celebrated, forever advocating in favor of meaningful change in opposition to enforced realities.