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Robin Jensen Receives NCA Distinguished Book Award

Congratulations to Dr. Robin Jensen on receiving the National Communication Association Health Communication Division’s Distinguished Book Award! Her book, Dirty Words: The Rhetoric of Public Sex Education, 1870-1924, was published by University of Illinois Press in 2010 and details the approaches and outcomes of sex-education initiatives in the Progressive Era.

The NCA Distinguished Book Award recognizes research that has made, or offers the promise of making, a significant contribution to scholarship in Health Communication theory, research, and/or practice.

Robin Jensen wins the NCA Distinguished Book Award

Jensen's book epitomizes this award as it analyzes the rhetorical strategies of sex-education advocates with rich sources such as lectures, books, movies, and posters that were often shaped by female health advocates and instructors. Her narrative demonstrates how women were both leaders and innovators in early U.S. sex-education movements, striving to provide education to underserved populations of women, minorities, and the working class. Investigating the communicative and rhetorical practices surrounding the emergence of public sex education in the United States, Jensen shows how women in particular struggled for a platform to create and circulate arguments concerning this controversial issue.

The book also provides insight into overlooked discourses about public sex education by analyzing a previously understudied campaign targeted at African American men in the 1920s, offering theoretical categorizations of discursive strategies that citizens have used to discuss sex education over time, and laying out implications for health communicators and sexual educators in the present day. The book is available here.


Last Updated: 9/20/21