Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Communication Studies

Department or School/College

Department of Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Sara Hayden

Committee Co-chair

Joel Iverson

Commitee Members

Anya Jabour


Michelle Obama, Signifyin[g], Feminine Style, Post-Identity


University of Montana

Subject Categories

African American Studies | American Politics | Critical and Cultural Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Speech and Rhetorical Studies


This thesis examines the public discourse of the first African American first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. I argue that Michelle Obama uses the double-voiced discourses of feminine style and African American Signifyin[g] to negate post-race and post-gender mythologies that suggest that American society is “beyond identity”. Looking at three of Obama’s speeches: Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic National Convention Speech, The Remarks by the First Lady at Memorial Service for Dr. Maya Angelou, and Remarks by the First Lady at Tuskegee University Commencement Address this thesis argues that Michelle Obama performativity interrogates and questions gender and race relations in the United States.



© Copyright 2016 Tracy Valgento