2020-2021 Graduate Bulletin

Communication (COMN)


COMN 4010 Introduction to Graduate Studies (4 Credits)

History of the discipline; noteworthy scholars and publications, current issues in the discipline.

COMN 4020 Communication Studies: Relational (4 Credits)

Recent social science literature in interpersonal communication; emphasis on pragmatics, meta-level perspectives, relational concerns affecting intimacies, friendships, families.

COMN 4030 Communication Studies: Organizational (3-4 Credits)

Ways in which communicative actions create, maintain, transform terms that define and regulate our practical and passionate attachments to each other; specifically how identity, knowledge, value, social organizations are constructed in and through communicative practices.

COMN 4100 Seminar: Speech Communication Theory (4 Credits)

Theoretical foundations of communication and language behavior; syntactics, semantics, pragmatics.

COMN 4110 Theories in Interpersonal Communication (4 Credits)

Selected themes in interpersonal communication, based primarily on theoretical sources, including interaction, relationships, goal achievement, hierarchies, interpersonal change.

COMN 4120 Comparative Theories in Human Communication (4 Credits)

Selected efforts to construct theories of human communication; lectures, discussions, student presentations of analysis of readings.

COMN 4130 Seminar in Communication in Human Organizations (4 Credits)

Current problems and issues in organizational communication.

COMN 4140 Graduate Colloquium (4 Credits)

COMN 4150 Culture, Ethnicity and Communication (4 Credits)

A cross-cultural approach to investigate communication codes, norms, value dimensions, power, privilege, and relationship issues within national, ethnic, and gender groups.

COMN 4160 Performance Ethnography (4 Credits)

This seminar provides a theoretical and methodological framework for understanding performance ethnography. This is not a “how to” class; rather, this is a course that examines the theories and perspectives behind performance ethnography as a method and orientation. Among the subtopics that fall within the purview of performance ethnography we will examine will be performative writing, personal narrative, poetic transcription, autoethnography, narrative ethnography, and ethics. This course provides an introduction and broad overview to performance ethnography.

COMN 4200 Physical Basis of Spoken Language (4 Credits)

The purpose of this course is to provide the student with a comprehensive understanding of the past, current, and evolving legal, policy, and regulatory issues effecting telecommunications, telecommunications-related industries, and the Internet. Laws and policies effecting multichannel television, wireline and wireless telephone companies, and the Internet will be examined in depth. Focus is placed on the role public policy plays in light of a rapidly changing information environment, critical evaluation and understanding of the rationale behind policy and regulatory activity, and the exploration of the various complex problems arising from the evolving information environment and its products.

COMN 4210 Seminar: Interpersonal Communication (4 Credits)

Selected theories applicable to interpersonal communication and their implications.

COMN 4220 Critical Intercultural Communication (4 Credits)

This seminar explores the key figures and foundational essays in the development of Critical Intercultural Communication. This seminar offers a critical perspective on current theory and research in intercultural communication. We emphasize questions and practices of "diversity" (especially involving race, class, gender, and sexuality) as they manifest in local and global contexts in the United States. The principle objective is to develop a politically informed and self-reflexive praxis in the service of reframing the study of intercultural communication.

COMN 4221 Culture, Power and Representation (4 Credits)

Central to the production of cultural knowledge about the 'other' is the labor of power implicated in all practices of discursive representation. In this course, we will examine the various theories of representation, the racial and gendered production of difference, the relation between discourse and subjectivity, and more generally, the poetics and politics of representation. These topics will be explored within a rich variety of contexts and institutional sites, e.g., in colonial and anthropological discourse, in popular media narratives and consumer culture, in the global deployment of Western theoretical/knowledge productions, among others.

COMN 4222 Theories of Identity and Subjectivity (4 Credits)

The seminar explores the communicative constitution of cultural, political, and institutional identities. Discussion will range from the historical development of the theoretical discourse on identity and subjectivity to more contemporary theories covering the emergence and transformation of identities in public discursive spaces. Particular attention will be given to theoretical frameworks and methods of inquiry animating research having to do with what is known as the "new cultural politics of difference." The course ends with a look at the contexts and arenas in which "identity" and "subjectivity" have emerged as critical sites of contestation in the 21st century.

COMN 4223 Culture and Communication: Contexts and Issues (4 Credits)

This is a capstone course in the foundations sequence for the Culture and Communication Area of Concentration in Human Communication Studies. This course will integrate content from the other three area foundations courses and specifically address implications for the study and practice of intercultural communication in such contexts of study as globalization, transnationalism, diaspora, colonization, immigration, adaptation, localization, corporate, institutional, and situated discourse. In addition current theoretical, research, and application issues and problematics such as multivocality, voice and representation, intersections and contradictions of contradictory identifications, representations, micro and macro forces, and paradigmatic separation and integration will be discussed. Prerequisites: COMN 4220, COMN 4221 and COMN 4222.

COMN 4224 Critical Interpersonal & Family Communication (4 Credits)

This course introduces critical interpersonal and family communication studies, an emergent movement within the larger subfields of interpersonal and family communication. At its heart, critical interpersonal and family communication studies centers issues of power in studies of individuals, relationships, and families. Within the context of this course, students explore critically-oriented interpersonal and family communication theories and methods. Students receive the opportunity to work on a research, teaching, or service-learning project that reflect a critical interpersonal/family approach. Students are challenged to consider critical pedagogies in interpersonal and family communication curriculum and instruction.

COMN 4230 Intercultural Training (4 Credits)

Research and theoretical approaches that examine international/intercultural training and instructional practices about topics such as adaptation, adjustment, competence, conflict and cultural diversity.

COMN 4231 Discourse and Race (4 Credits)

This course looks at race as a discursive formation using the literature in Critical Race Theory that has emerged over the past decade. In analyzing this body of work covering a wide range of themes and diverse theoretical perspectives, we hope to uncover the historic, material, as well as symbolic determinations of the discourse on race that have conspired to sustain a highly racialized system in place.

COMN 4232 Critical Sexuality Studies (4 Credits)

This course takes a critical approach to the study of sexualities by challenging our assumptions and everyday knowledges about identities, gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity. This course is organized around important and recent publications in the fields of Communication Studies and Sexuality Studies. Rather than simply reiterating the canonical voices such as Foucault and Butler, the course focuses on the voices of queer people of color.

COMN 4240 Seminar: Group Communication (4 Credits)

Small group literature; interpersonal and group communication.

COMN 4250 Seminar: Family Communication (4 Credits)

This course is designed to investigate and explore the communication processes associated with families. Areas of exploration include definitions of family communication and interactional patterns, the impact of life stage on family communication processes, marriage and divorce, parent-child communication, sibling interactions, the child-free family, and the later-life family.

COMN 4251 Advanced Seminar in Family Communication (4 Credits)

This advanced seminar is designed to build on the first seminar in family communication. The course will examine how historic research in the study of families have influenced the field of family communication. Emphasis will be placed on how understanding these classics can influence theory and research in the human communication area of family communication.

COMN 4280 Theories-Group Communication (4 Credits)

Examination, from different theoretical perspectives, of group communication as an area of study; research and application in speech communication discipline.

COMN 4300 Seminar in Persuasion (4 Credits)

Theory, research, special problems in persuasion and attitude change.

COMN 4310 Communication and Collaboration (4 Credits)

A survey of contemporary theories and applications.

COMN 4315 Public Deliberation (4 Credits)

An introduction to the theories and problematics of public deliberation. The course pays particular attention to the demands of inclusion, equality, and public reason as requirements of public deliberation.

COMN 4400 Seminar: Rhetoric Conversation Analysis (4 Credits)

Contemporary contributions to development of rhetorical theory ranging from perspectives on rhetoric offered by various rhetorical theorists to methods of rhetorical criticism.

COMN 4420 Rhetorical Theory (4 Credits)

Contemporary rhetorical theories.

COMN 4425 Rhetoric and Governance (4 Credits)

An introduction to the works of Michel Foucault and his influence on contemporary rhetorical theory.

COMN 4435 Rhetoric and Public Life (4 Credits)

An introduction to the conceptual and political history of the public sphere. The course pays particular attention to how the normative assumptions of public communication are affected by the demands of cultural pluralism.

COMN 4510 Seminar: Speech Communication Theory (4 Credits)

Integration of conceptual theory with behavioral practice in formal public speaking situations through lectures, discussions, performances.

COMN 4520 Rhetoric and Social Movement (4 Credits)

This course is designed to survey the range of humanistic/critical scholarship on social movement in Communication Studies. Whether it has approached “social movements” from a rhetorical perspective, or analyzed the rhetoric within and surrounding social change, social movement rhetoric scholarship is characterized by major theoretical debates. These debates will help focus the seminar’s inquiry, and are summarized by the following questions: Are the received tools of rhetorical theory capable of making sense of the (often) non-normative, un-institutionalized expressions of dissent associated with social change? How are scholars to evaluate the ethics and impacts of social movement rhetoric, given its “inherent” nature as challenging to the status quo? What is a social movement, and what is rhetoric’s proper relationship to it? Is the figure of the “social movement” the most insightful means of understanding social change? What is at stake in retaining or abandoning the “social movement” in rhetorical criticism that seeks to understand and evaluate social change?.

COMN 4530 Critical Theories of Communication II: Nietzsche's Influence on Contemporary Rhetoric (4 Credits)

In conversation with Classical Rhetorical Theory and Critical Theories I, this course is designed to explore a major philosopher's influence on rhetoric and communication studies. Friedrich Nietzsche offers and inspires a second trajectory of thinking that allies with, but ultimately diverges from, the Marxist critical project. Broadly, Nietschean thought echoes the Marxist concern for structural oppression, alienation, and limited consciousness; but it attempts to undermine structural power as much as possible without the tools of structural power (namely, language, values/truth/knowledge, and the subject). We explore this line of critique much more closely, considering how it has materialized in communication scholarship. This course offers a point of departure for explorations of particular theorists.

COMN 4700 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 4701 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 4702 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 4703 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 4704 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 4705 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 4710 Seminar: Nonverbal Communication (4 Credits)

Theoretical and practical exploration of interpersonal role relationships; emphasis on time, space, kinetic, vocal, tactile cues; methodological concerns.

COMN 4760 Linguistic Aspects of Communication Theory (4 Credits)

COMN 4800 Philosophies of Dialogue (4 Credits)

This course explores the philosophies of dialogue of Martin Buber, Mikhail Bakhtin and others in the context of contemporary communication scholarship on ethics, culture, and relationship.

COMN 4850 Communication Ethics (4 Credits)

This course explores the work of Todorov, Bakhtin, Levinas, and Hyde as foundational to communication ethics.

COMN 4890 Philosophy of Communication (4 Credits)

How speech communication is presupposed and/or demonstrated to be related to social reality, language, intersubjectivity by various methodologies used in conducting communication research; special emphasis on exploring presuppositions of recent methodological developments in contrast to more traditional approaches.

COMN 4900 Quantitative Methods I (4 Credits)

Lectures, readings, written assignments that facilitate growth and development of the research scholar.

COMN 4901 Quantitative Methods II (4 Credits)

This course is a continuation of the HCOM 4900 which explored the process of human inquiry, social science paradigms, the development of sound research questions, and strategies and techniques surrounding sampling, measurement and design. This course will expand on the exploration of research design and statistical methods that can be utilized in answering research questions and hypotheses. In addition, we will be collecting data that will be used to help us understand and analyze various statistical strategies.

COMN 4910 Theory Building in Communication (4 Credits)

Steps involved in constructing theory; application of theory building process to communication phenomena.

COMN 4913 Rhetorical Criticism (4 Credits)

Like other research methods in communication studies, rhetorical criticism is a means: It is a pathway through which you may reach a desired end, as well as a set of tools with which you may shape your final work. However, following Nothstine, Blair, and Copeland (1994), “criticism is a process”—a pathway which “rarely travels a straight line to its end” (p. 343), and a toolkit which arrives with ambiguous instructions (at best) for how to make use of its contents to assemble a research project. In the humanistic tradition, rhetorical criticism is an art motivated by the critic’s vision and guided by her or his deftness, ingenuity, and perseverance. Moreover, rhetorical criticism is a practical endeavor inspired by important public events of the day and the critic’s desire to persuade. The significance of rhetorical criticism is born in public dialogue or debate. In the wake of the “critical turn,” rhetorical criticism not only inspires academic colloquia. Through it, critics pursue democracy and social justice. In conversation with performance studies and ethnography, rhetorical critics have started to embrace self-reflexivity, and writing as a method of inquiry (not simply the “reporting on” inquiry once it is “done”). Given its rich scholarly history, and its fluidity as a research method, one could imagine several different ways to approach a seminar in rhetorical criticism. Such a course might use hermeneutics (or the art of interpretation) as its guide, encouraging participants to engage a text and arrive at its deeper meanings. It might take a skills-based approach, cultivating the necessary techniques of the critic, including the abilities to: locate interesting and important rhetorical acts; closely analyze a rhetorical act’s symbolic action and richly describe it to readers; contextualize a rhetorical act to invite a deeper understanding of its significance; and place a rhetorical act in conversation with relevant theory to generate productive insights into the human condition. A seminar in rhetorical criticism might also take a historical approach, attending to the ways rhetorical theory has shaped criticism as a method—such an approach would introduce the range of theoretical “tools” available to critics as they approach different rhetorical acts. At the risk (and with the benefits) of complexity, we will draw upon each of these possibilities, enacting an “inventional” approach to rhetorical criticism.

COMN 4915 Discourse Analysis (4 Credits)

An introduction to common theoretical assumptions and methods shared by scholars who study discourse as social interaction, with emphasis on analyzing key features of discourse that are central to their work.

COMN 4920 Communication Research Practicum (4 Credits)

COMN 4930 Speech and Communication Research - Qualitative Methods (4 Credits)

Grounded theory, phenomenology and other non-numerical approaches to research in human interaction.

COMN 4931 Qualitative Methods II (4 Credits)

This course teaches students qualitative data management skills, introduces them to an array of qualitative methods for analyzing naturalistic data, and guides them through the application of these skills to qualitative research projects. Prerequisite: COMN 4930.

COMN 4932 Critical Methods for Studying Culture (4 Credits)

This seminar provides an overview of a variety of critical methodologies (inclusive of the theory of method) for the study of culture. Potential course foci include textual analysis, critical ethnography, personal narrative, oral history, performance writing, and autoethnography.

COMN 4933 Writing Culture (4 Credits)

This seminar serves as a capstone course in the Culture and Communication seminar sequence. Students explore diverse genres used to write about culture. The course aims to help every student find a writing voice by reading excellent writing in diverse genres. By writing and rewriting all term, this course guides students through the process of writing an article centered around culture and communication, following the practices of the field.

COMN 4990 Graduate Tutorial in Communication Studies (2 Credits)

In this course, students will closely engage in scholarly work with a faculty member, with the intention to foster collaboration on mutually beneficial topics. This close collaboration can take many forms, and much like an independent study, it will be designed by faculty and students together. Such collaboration may include: deeper reading of the literature in a particular communicative context; advancing a research project toward presentation and publication (through data collection, data analysis, or/and manuscript revision); pedagogical development (through the development of syllabi, assignments, teaching materials, and educational philosophy). Students will deepen their knowledge base on a topic of significance in the field, advancing scholarly, pedagogical, and/or creative work.

COMN 4991 Independent Study (1-10 Credits)

COMN 4992 Directed Study (1-10 Credits)

COMN 4995 Independent Research (1-10 Credits)

COMN 5921 Seminar: Communication Research I (4 Credits)

Design, method, procedure strategies in research. Prerequisite: approved proposal.

COMN 5922 Seminar: Communication Research II (4 Credits)

Design, method, procedure strategies in research. Prerequisite: approved proposal.

COMN 5923 Seminar: Communication Research III (4 Credits)

Design, method, procedure strategies in research. Prerequisite: approved proposal.

COMN 5991 Independent Study (1-10 Credits)

COMN 5992 Directed Study (1-10 Credits)

COMN 5995 Independent Research (1-22 Credits)

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