Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



Fundamentally pregnant bodies are understood, similarly to women’s bodies, as necessitating discipline. However, new networked forums have emerged where pregnancy is understood as affirming and having the capacity to challenge a silenced subject position. Using three case studies, the #IHadAMiscarriage Instagram page, the #TakeBackPostpartum Instagram page, and mediatized discourses surrounding Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy, this dissertation writes intimate publicity into these mediatized transgressions of pregnancy and postpartum. I argue discourses about pregnancy and postpartum in these networked spaces constitute intimate publics through the cultivation of shared affected investments and divestments in embodied experiences. These investments in the embodied experiences are crafted through visual representation, narrative sharing, and interaction. While such public discourses are transgressive in so far as they challenge dominant narratives and ideologies of motherhood, they are also bound in neoliberal logics that reinforce structural systems that create the conditions for oppression and inequality for women and pregnant bodies. Within my analysis, I question how the various communications within each case study, whether through language, arrangement or organization of the text and visuals constitute intimacy and belonging through the cultivation of affective investments and divestments. This study of the rhetorics used to mobilize intimate publicity aids in the development of a multifaceted understanding of how motherhood and identity are negotiated and struggled over within a digital space.



Committee Chair

Mack, Ashley N.