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Photo by Juliette Patel. 

Dr. Krall Wins Kramerae Dissertation Award

Seton Hall Assistant Professor of Communication Dr. Madison Cranmer-Krall won the Kramerae Dissertation Award this year, honored by the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender (OSCLG).

Krall’s dissertation, ”U.S. Medical Controversy and Its Discursive Legacy in the Mid-Twentieth Century Thalidomide Disaster,” was published in May 2022 and nominated for review this year by her faculty advisor at the University of Utah, communication professor Dr. Robin E. Jensen. 

The OSCLG Kramerae Dissertation Award is given to “outstanding dissertations concerned with communication, language and gender.”

Krall’s dissertation began as a project in a “Rhetoric of Science” graduate seminar at the University of Utah she participated in during the spring of 2019. She further brainstormed ideas alongside a group of scientists at the Rhetoric Society of America and was able to continue on her own for two years after being granted a scholarship during the pandemic.

“As a writer, I am always so appreciative of the individuals who take the time out of their busy schedules to read my academic work,” Krall said. “The fact that a committee spent time reading my dissertation and then acknowledged the complete project with an award means a lot to me because it acts as a reminder that my scholarly endeavors are important – that the topics I am researching are interesting and valuable to the people I respect in my field.”

Krall’s dissertation responds to the lapse in impact of the use of thalidomide – a medical drug utilized in the late 1950s and early 1960s in the United States to treat nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women. Unfortunately, its use resulted in thousands of children being born with severe defects. Krall wrote about how despite this tragedy being virtually unheard of today, it affected drug reform and decisions regarding women’s reproductive health and led to the Food and Drug Administration restructuring how they test drugs. Krall said that her dissertation helped “better understand the drug’s rhetorical impact throughout the mid-twentieth century up until today”.

Krall said she would like to thank everyone at the Setonian and greater Seton Hall community for “celebrating [her] achievements and motivating [her] to continue [her] research,” particularly to her Ph.D. advisor, Jensen. 

“She’s been invaluable to my success this far,” Krall said, “And I owe her an immense amount of gratitude for teaching me how to model thoughtfulness and strength as I form my own scholarly identity at Seton Hall.”

The first chapter of Krall’s dissertation has been published in Reframing Rhetorical History and the second chapter in Rhetoric of Health and Medicine journal. 

Gianna Terrarosa can be reached 

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