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Diana Bartelli Carlin, Ph.D.

FLARE Vice President,

Diana Bartelli Carlin, Ph.D., FLARE Treasurer, is professor emerita of communication at Saint Louis University and a retired faculty member and administrator at the University of Kansas where she taught a course on the Rhetoric of First Ladies.

Her interest in first ladies began in the late 1980s when she taught a course on women in politics and included a unit on first ladies. A conference paper in 1991 on the rhetorical challenges facing political wives is the basis for much of her  research. She authored a chapter on Lady Bird Johnson for Molly Wertheimer’s Inventing a Voice.

Other publications include a chapter with Nancy Kegan Smith on Michelle Obama in Katherine A.S. Sibley’s A Companion to First Ladies and the chapter on Barbara Bush in the same volume. She and Smith co-authored an article on Lady Bird Johnson in Lisa Burns’ Media Relations and the Modern First Lady: From Jacqueline Kennedy to Melania Trump, and she wrote the chapter on Martha Washington in Sibley’s Southern First Ladies. She co-authored with James Schnoebelen and Benjamin Warner a chapter on Hillary Clinton and how her role as first lady affected her 2008 campaign in Theodore Sheckels’ book Cracked But Not Shattered: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Unsuccessful Campaign for the Presidency. She is the co-author with Anita B. McBride and Nancy Kegan Smith of two books: U.S. First Ladies: Making History and Leaving Legacies (a college textbook) and Remember the First Ladies: America's History-Making Women

Dr. Carlin currently teaches Osher Lifelong Learning classes on first ladies, including one on The Generals’ Wives: Martha Washington, Julia Grant, and Mamie Eisenhower; and she presents programs to student and community groups on first ladies. She has given several newspaper and radio interviews on first ladies. With Smith and McBride, she was part of a virtual program for the National Archives Foundation on first ladies and civil rights, and co-authored an opinion piece for CNN on the same topic. She published an opinion piece in The Kansas Reflector on the controversy over Dr. Jill Biden’s use of the title “Dr”. She presented at a White House Historical Association colloquium and a seminar on the evolution of first ladies’ rhetoric.

In addition to her work on first ladies, she is also a presidential debates and women in politics scholar. From 1987-2000 she served on the Advisory Board for the Commission on Presidential Debates and created the voter education program DebateWatch for them through a Ford Foundation grant. She has worked extensively in new democracies on projects related to political debates, women political candidates, and civil society.

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