Difference Defines the Body: Rhetorical Perceptions of DACA Farmworkers

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences



Faculty Sponsor

Dora Ramirez


The farmworker occupies multiple categories of difference at a time. This presentation explores the subjugation of farmworkers who are also DACA recipients. Embodiment rhetoric, in which the actual body becomes the text and thus communicates rhetorical meaning, has created a single brown figure in which the farmworker resides, giving way to the single story. The creation of this figure leads to the erasure of other identities. In Gayatri Spivak’s subaltern theory, the oppressed and colonized have no real voice because the transaction between speaker and listener never occurs. This can be applied to the undocumented farmworker in that they are made invisible out of fear of laws that restrict their movement; their voices cannot be heard because they have no safety. This fear stems from biopower and the subjugation of the brown body by the sovereign state (Michel Foucault). “Exorcism by Misnomer” argues that the nature of the problem is changed through language; secular conversion is achieved through incongruous naming (Kenneth Burke). Using this concept, this research will analyze DACA legislation, the rhetoric of the oppressor, and its rhetorical effects on the farmworker’s body and person.

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