Desiree Rowe, Ph.D.


Associate Professor

desiree rowe profile photo

Contact Info

PY 504M


Ph.D., Arizona State University, 2009

Areas of Expertise

Performance studies
Queer/feminist rhetorics


Dr. Desirée D. Rowe received their interdisciplinary Ph.D. in 2009 from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University, and earned their M.A. from Minnesota State, Mankato and a B.A. in English from Seton Hall University. Desirée’s research digs into the tangible embodied interactions of our cruel fantasies of life. Through queer performance ethnography, arts-based methods, and critical qualitative interventions her investigations center on negativity in two ways. First, through reparative negativity (a la Sedgwick) that allows space for reframing and revisioning institutions and institutional life. Second, through embracing a contradictory negativity, one that is an unruly anti-productive or unwell negativity. She has published articles in Women and Language, Text and Performance Quarterly, Cultural Studies -Critical Methodologies, Rethinking History: A Journal of Theory and Practice, Qualitative Inquiry, Western Journal of Communication Studies, and many book chapters. In 2019 she was named a Fulbright Scholar to Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. She currently serves as the associate editor of the Performance Space in Text and Performance Quarterly.

Journal Articles

Rowe, D.D. & Frischherz, M. (2023). Introducing the Anti-Method Paradigm [Or, When Reviewer #2 Says Your Interdisciplinary Work is Vague, Messy, and Unrecognizable]. Review of Communication, vol. 23.

Frischherz, M. and Rowe, D.D. (Forthcoming, 2023). Faking it, finishing, and ambivalence: Women’s negotiations of (sexual) failure in conversation. Departures.

Rowe, D.D. (2022). What’s the Word on the Street?: Witnessing/performing theory in your own time. Feminist Pedagogy, 2:3, 1-12. Lead Article.

Rowe, D.D. & Frischherz, M. (2022). Focus groups as critical cultural method within communication studies. Western Journal of Communication, 86:5, 483-502.

Rowe, D.D. (November, 2021). Lines. Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis.

Rowe, D.D. (April, 2020). Negative affect, SCUM, and the politics of possibility. Cultural Studies <-> Critical Methodologies, 20:2, 175-182.

Silverman, R. & Rowe, D.D. (April, 2020). Guest editors. Introduction to special issue. Cultural Studies <-> Critical Methodologies, 20:2, 91-95.

Rowe, D. D., Rudnick, J. J., & White, L. (2019). Images of identity: Performing power and intersectionality. Communication Teacher, 1–8. Lead article. 

Rowe, D.D. (2018). Ekkreinen: A solo capsule performance. Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, 14.4,

Rowe, D.D. (2017). Beyond the Talk Back: Performing autoethnography and the functions of critique. International Review of Qualitative Research, 10:3, 283-294.

Book Chapters

Rowe, D.D. and Tristano Jr., Michael. (2022). Performance as method. In D. Cronn-Mills and S. Croucher (Eds.) Understanding communication research methods, 3rd edition. Routledge: New York, New York.

Rowe, D.D. (2017). Autoethnography as object-oriented method. In D. Bolan (Ed.) Doing autoethnography. Routledge: New York, New York, 210-216.

Rowe, D.D. (2015). Cruel optimism and the problem of positivity: Miscarriage as a model for living. In R. Silverman and J. Baglia (Eds.) Communicating Pregnancy Loss: Narrative as A Method for Change. Peter Lang Publishers: New York: NY, 259-266.

Rowe, D.D. (2014) Roses and grime: Tattoos, text, and failure. In T. Adams and J. Wyatt (Eds.), On (Writing) Families: Autoethnographies of Presence and Absence, Love and Loss. Sense Publishers: Rotterdam, Netherlands, 37-43.

Peer-reviewed stage performances

Rowe, D.D. Writer and performer, solo. Mori! A COVID-19 Accountability Project. In progress.

Rowe, D. D. Writer and performer, solo. Depressive Realism is Why No One Showed Up To My 6th Birthday. 2016, March. Plenary performance. Doing Auto Ethnography annual conference. 2015, September. Performed at Arizona State University.

Grants awarded


Fulbright Scholar Award. (2019). Kyushu University, Japan. 

Organization for Research on Women and Communication. (2017, March). With M. Frischherz.

Waterhouse Family Institute. (2014). Performing gender-based resistance in Eastern Germany.


Faculty Development and Research Committee Grant. (2021). Grant to support data collection. $4,465.00

COFAC Diversity Grant. (2021). Grant to support student storytelling course. $1,400.

FACET Research Fellowship. (2020 June – 2021 June). Year-long fellowship to assist faculty in research planning and implementation. $9,000.

University of Maryland Women’s Forum Faculty Research Award. (2019, August). Funding to support “Two Poorly Drawn Stick Figures”: Arts-based representations of women’s perceptions of sexual success and failure. With M. Frischherz. $1,000.