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Allison Niebauer

by Betsy VanNoy Sep 18, 2020
Allison Niebauer

Forrest S. Crawford Fellow in Ethical Inquiry

PhD Candidate in Communication Arts and Sciences


Bio: Allison is a rhetorical critic who specializes in public memory, rhetorics of religion, and communal harm and repair. She is a fifth year Ph.D student in the Communication Arts and Sciences Department at Penn State, where she also received her Master’s Degree. She received her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Wheaton College in Illinois.

Project Description: Her dissertation investigates the impact of a clergy perpetrated sexual abuse scandal on a local Catholic Diocese and how stakeholders within the community have sought repair, redress, and reform. She seeks to advance our understanding of how discursive, material, and social conditions create and limit the resources communities have to reason about tragedy and seek repair.

Allison's scholarly goal is to provide a theoretical account of the role of communication in communal harm and repair by bringing together insights from rhetorical studies and moral philosophy. She aims to expand the horizon of reparative options available to this community and others by identifying how current reparative options are produced, mobilized, circulated, and received.


The Rhetorical Nature of Harm and Repair: Clergy Perpetrated Sexual Abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese