2019-2020 Graduate Bulletin

Communication (COMN)



COMN 3130 Organizational Communication (4 Credits)

This is an applied course, service learning course, based on a consulting model. While the course will extend and enrich the topical and theoretical knowledge developed in COMN 1550 and COMN 2130, the primary purpose of this course will be to help students explore how they can put such knowledge into practice by collectively working with a local non-profit organization to first diagnose and then propose (and, in some cases implement) solutions to an organizational communication problem faced by that organization.

COMN 3230 Principles of Leadership (4 Credits)

Roles, functions, behaviors that influence and direct; emphasis on interpersonal effectiveness; theories and methods.

COMN 3245 Building Group/Team Effectiveness (4 Credits)

The objectives of this course are to help students acquire a deeper understanding of groups and teams, how they function, and what contributes to their success or failure. It also aims to help students develop the skills and capacities that will allow them to contribute in concrete and significant ways to successful outcomes and satisfying experiences for themselves and others in groups and teams. Cross listed with LDRS 2540.

COMN 3270 Health Communication (4 Credits)

This course examines the role of health communication in our everyday lives. We will focus on communication strategies that inform and influence individuals, families and communities in decisions that enhance health. We will also explore the dynamics and impact of health communication between individuals and the health care system such as doctor-patient communication, dissemination of health related information, and the role of mediated communication in examining health communication.

COMN 3280 Family Communication (4 Credits)

The purpose of this course is to enhance understanding about communication patterns within families. In this course, we will examine theory/research on the role of communication in creating and maintaining healthy marriages and families. Specifically, we will study communication and the family life cycle, different family forms, family race/ethnicity, power in families, conflict in families, communication and stress in families, and communication in the aging family. The course format includes lectures, discussions, analysis of case studies, and in class applications.

COMN 3285 Advanced Relational Communication (4 Credits)

Advanced Relational Communication is intended to increase understanding of relationships from diverse perspectives. The three main perspectives we will investigate show how relationships affect and are affected by their context, the individuals involved, and the relational system. The goals of this course are for students to increase their skill in (1) explaining how knowledge about context, individuals, and relational systems increases understanding of communication processes in a variety of relationships; (2) evaluating critically the information about relationships that we encounter in our everyday lives; (3) asking and investigating questions about real-life relationships.

COMN 3290 Communication and Aging (4 Credits)

In this course, we will focus on the communication processes associated with aging. We will explore the implications of aging and how aging affects the process and outcomes social and relational interactions. We will examine communication and aging through interactional processes (intrapersonal, interpersonal and relational) and through context (organization, family, health, and culture). Emphasis will be placed on the theoretical and applied research in communication and aging.

COMN 3300 Principles of Persuasion (4 Credits)

This course involves a social scientific approach to persuasion and social influence. Some of the topics included in this approach are the relationship between attitude and behavior; characteristics of the source, message, and receiver of a persuasive appeal; and models and theories that explain the effects of persuasive communication. By the end of the course, students should be able to think more critically about the persuasive messages they encounter in everyday life, to apply theoretical models of persuasion, and to construct persuasive messages.

COMN 3315 Public Deliberation (4 Credits)

During the last two decades public deliberation has emerged as the centerpiece of theoretical and practical accounts of liberal democracy. This course begins by setting out the nature and functions of public deliberation. We will then track how deliberative democrats respect the traditional accounts of inclusion, equality and reason in an attempt to meet the demands of the deep cultural diversity that marks social life in advanced industrial societies. Specifically we will ask if public deliberation as portrayed in these accounts is sufficient to meet these demands or do we need to expand our understanding of political argument to include a diversity of rhetorical practices? And, once we do expand our account of deliberation how does this transform the traditional problematics of both democratic and rhetorical theory?.

COMN 3425 Rhetoric and Governance (4 Credits)

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

COMN 3435 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. Permission from instructor is required.

COMN 3470 Seminar in Free Speech (4 Credits)

This course will survey some of the major conceptual innovations in the justifications of freedom of speech. We will begin with an exploration of the traditional defenses of free speech and then move to a reexamination of those defenses in light of modern communication theory and the challenges of pluralism. In particular we will ask if the justifications of free speech need to be rethought given our understanding of speech as a social force that constitutes identities and values rather than merely expressing private opinions. Moreover, given our understanding of the social force of speech, should we regulate speech that is racist, sexist and seems to erode the foundations of a public culture based on mutual respect and public deliberation over social goods? Can we devise a robust defense of free speech based on its social force that both protects those that may be harmed by antidemocratic discourses and still provides the resources for democratic dissent?.

COMN 3500 Advanced Public Speaking (4 Credits)

Theory, preparation, delivery and evaluation of public speeches.

COMN 3680 Gender and Communication (4 Credits)

This course focuses on the interactive relationships between gender and communication in contemporary U.S. society. This implies three priorities for the class. First, the course explores the multiple ways communication creates and perpetuates gender roles in families, media, and society in general. Second, the course considers how we enact socially created gender differences in public and private settings and how this affects success, satisfaction, and self-esteem. Third, the course connects theory and research to our personal lives. Throughout the quarter, the course considers not only what IS in terms of gender roles, but also what might be and how we, as change agents, may act to improve our individual and collective lives. Cross listed with GWST 3680, HCOM 3680.

COMN 3700 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 3701 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 3702 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 3703 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 3704 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 3705 Topics in Communication (1-4 Credits)

COMN 3770 Mediated Communication and Relationships (4 Credits)

This course examines how people develop, define, maintain, and manage interpersonal relationships through their use of mediated communication. We will examine communication in relationships that occur through the internet, text-messaging, cell phones, chat rooms, gaming, and virtual communities. This is a seminar type course where students guide and are guided through their own study of mediated relationships.

COMN 3800 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. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

COMN 3850 Communication Ethics (4 Credits)

This class is not just about how to be ethical communicators but it is also about how to discover ethics--the good life and care for others, answerability and responsibility--deep within the structures of human communication itself. The course is committed to a mixture of theory and practice but practice is at the heart of the matter. Half of our sessions will be devoted to dialogue or conversation about ethics in life. There we will try to work as close as we can with ethics in our own lived experience. In the other half, we will explore theory: the ethical/philosophical/communicative ground of ethics.

COMN 3991 Independent Study (1-5 Credits)

COMN 3992 Directed Study (1-10 Credits)

COMN 3995 Independent Research (1-10 Credits)

Topics and quarter hours vary. Prerequisite: instructor's permission.

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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