Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Communication Studies

First Advisor

Bernadette Calafell, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Erin Willer

Third Advisor

Christina Foust

Fourth Advisor

Renée Botta


Coloniality, Feminism, Health, HIV, Rhetoric, Transnational


HIV has been a pandemic since the 1980s with 70 million people infected since the beginning, about 35 million people have died of complications resulting from HIV, and an estimated 36.9 million people living with HIV in 2017 (WHO, "HIV and AIDS"). Many organizations around the world have tried to tackle this issue, however most of these organizations are based in the West or have Western organizations holding the majority of power and control. People in these organizations have the intention of ending the spread of HIV, but they also sometimes spread Western ideology.

This work brings together communication scholarship from cultural studies, feminism, rhetoric, and health. Using a transnational feminist rhetorical analysis this project proposes an approach to analyzing international campaigns with a critical perspective to reveal the messages that sustain a Western male hierarchy across the world in the guise of health. This project explores the notion of coloniality in these transnational campaigns and how messages normalize the patriarchy and glorify the West. My framework centers on Chinese and African feminism and coloniality in order to focus on the local perspective in global interactions. Transnationalism and feminism are important issues for health communication that has been largely ignored, even though the savior power disposition that tends to run rhetorically through many health projects easily furthers hierarchies needed for coloniality.

To explore these issues, this project uses two case studies to show how this occurs not only in US relations with one country, but with many countries. The first case study is a transnational edutainment project between U.S. organizations, the South African ministry of education, using actors from many countries in Africa, and set in three different African countries. The second case study is a transnational campaign that the U.S. created for HIV prevention for pregnant women in China. Both studies show visual and narrative rhetoric that reinforce a (White) western male hierarchy.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jessica Ann Johnson


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

277 p.