Erika M. Thomas is an assistant professor and director of forensics in the Department of Human Communication Studies at California State University, Fullerton. She earned her PhD in communication at Wayne State University. Erika received her master of arts in communication studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, four years after completing her bachelor of arts in communication from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.
While completing coursework at Wayne State University and Miami University, Erika held assistantships with the forensics teams while coaching policy debate and teaching courses in public speaking. She worked as a part-time instructor teaching communication courses at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and Chapman University in Orange, California.
Erika currently teaches courses in rhetoric (Rhetoric of Popular Culture, Rhetorical Dimensions of Sex and Gender, and Graduate Seminar in Rhetorical Theory and Criticism) and argumentation (Essentials of Argumentation). She also coaches Cal State Fullerton’s intercollegiate and nationally competitive speech and debate team. Erika is the recording secretary for the American Forensics Association.
Her areas of study include rhetorical criticism and theory, and she specializes in critical theory and cultural studies. Erika’s research interests include feminist rhetorical criticism and the rhetoric of gender, sex, sexuality, and the body. Her work has appeared in Contemporary Argumentation and Debate.
Erika is currently editing her dissertation, “Recognition of the Transgender Self: An Examination of the Apologia of the ‘The Pregnant Man,’” for publication. In this work, Erika offers a rhetorical examination of the discursive strategies and iconic visual image used by Thomas Beatie while his pregnant body received coverage by national and international mass media outlets. She is also revising portions of her master’s thesis, “The Rhetoric of the Modern American Menstrual Taboo,” which received the Top Master’s Thesis Award from the National Communication Association Master’s Education Division in 2008.