Jenna Abetz

Associate Professor

Address: 9 College Way, Room 302

Jenna Abetz joined the Department of Communication in 2014. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in interpersonal and family communication, narrative, and identity.

Dr. Abetz came to Charleston from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she earned her Ph.D. in Communication Studies, with a specialization in Interpersonal and Family Communication and a secondary emphasis in Rhetoric and Public Culture. She received her master’s degree in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University in 2010, and her undergraduate degree in History from James Madison University in 2008.

Her research focuses on communication within and about interpersonal and family relationships.  Informed by qualitative and critical approaches to communication, she explores how individuals construct, make sense of, and negotiate identity during periods of relational transition or contestation.  This work has included analyses of emerging adulthood, motherhood, parent-child estrangement, divorce, dual-career couples, and financial uncertainty.  She seeks to conduct socially-meaningful, translational work that has practical applications for family relationships.  Her work has been published in outlets including Western Journal of Communication, Women’s Studies in Communication, Communication, Culture & Critique, and the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.


2008, B.A., History, James Madison University

2010, M.A., Women's Studies, San Diego State University

2013, Ph.D., Communication Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

Research Interests

Interpersonal and Family Communication, Gender and Communication


Representative Publications

Abetz, J. S. (2019). I want to be both, but is that possible?”: Communicating mother-scholar uncertainty during doctoral candidacy. Journal of Women in Higher Education.

Abetz J. S., & Moore, J. (2018). Rethinking intersectionality as fractal: Non-Linear, intricate, and changeable. In J. C. Dunn & J. Manning (Eds.) Transgressing feminist theory and discourse: Advancing conversations across disciplines (p. 31-43). Routledge University Press: New York and London.

Abetz, J. S., & Moore, J. (2018). Welcome to the mommy wars, ladies”: Making sense of the ideology of combative mothering in mommy blogs. Communication, Culture & Critique, 11, 265-281

Abetz, J. S., & Wang, T. R. (2017). “Were they ever really happy the way that I remember?”: Exploring sources of uncertainty for adult children of divorce. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 58, 194-211

Abetz, J. S. (2016). “You can be anything but you can’t have it all”: Discursive struggles of career ambition during doctoral candidacy. Western Journal of Communication, 80, 1-20.

Moore, J., & Abetz, J. S. (2016). “Uh oh. Cue the [new] mommy wars”: The ideology of combative mothering in popular US newspapers articles about attachment parenting. Southern Communication Journal, 81, 49-62.

Abetz, J. S. (2012). Everyday activism as a dialogic practice: Narratives of feminist daughters. Women’s Studies in Communication, 35, 1-22.

Abetz, J. S., & Holman, A. (2012).  Home is where the heart is: Facebook and the negotiation of "old" and "new" during the transition to college.  Western Journal of Communication, 76, 175-193.