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COMN 4020 - Relational Communication

This course will approach relational communication by focusing on the research programs of leading scholars in the communication discipline. We will emphasize the ways that scholars develop theoretical and empirical knowledge about their specific research focus. By the end of the course, students will gain knowledge and understanding of a range of topics and issues in relational communication (e.g., nonverbal communication, affection, information management, conflict behavior) and develop skills in evaluating others' research programs and planning research programs of their own.

COMN 4110 - Theories of Interpersonal Communication

The purpose of this class is to explore major theories in the field of interpersonal communication.  We will explore theories that enable us to examine issues and questions that have important implications for the field of interpersonal communication.  In addition, we will explore contemporary research that has been informed by these theoretical perspectives.  We will discuss how the theories have been applied to specific contexts in interpersonal communication and how the research that evaluates the theory lead to sound conclusions about communication practices.  Therefore, this class will be a blending of theory and research in the area of interpersonal communication.

COMN 4130 - Communication in Human Organizations: Organizational Rhetoric/Organizational Discourse

This seminar explores the study of organizational communication through the lenses of organizational rhetoric and organizational discourse.  As such, the seminar explores both discrete instances of organizational discourse and organizational rhetoric, as well as exploring organizational communication with both "discourse" and "rhetoric" as root metaphor(s) for organization, covering a wide range of "traditional" organizational communication domains, including internal, external, and "contextual" communication.

COMN 4210 - Privacy and Disclosure in Interpersonal Communication

In this course, students will read and discuss research and theory dealing with privacy and disclosure over the past 30+ years. We will begin by looking at conceptualizations of the distinctions and relationships between privacy, secrecy, and disclosure. We'll move on to consider various theories that have been used in the past and that are used currently to understand privacy and disclosure. In the third part of the course, we'll discuss research and theory dealing with various aspects of privacy/disclosure management. Finally, the last few weeks of class will deal with current issues in privacy and disclosure.

COMN 4220 - IC: Critical Intercultural Communication

This seminar will: 1) explore the key figures and foundational essays in the development of Critical Intercultural Communication; 2) offer a critical perspective on current theory and research in intercultural communication; and 3) 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 - Critical Methods for Studying Culture

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

COMN 4222 - Writing Culture

This seminar serves as a capstone course in the Culture and Communication seminar sequence. Students will 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 semester, this course guides students through the process of writing an article centered around culture and communication, following the practices of the field.

COMN 4231 - Race & Discourse

This course explores: 1) the dynamic constitution of the meaning of 'race' and ethnicity through social discourse and individual experience--including the emotional, material, and embodied consequences; and 2) the process of doing research on race and ethnicity--from methods, theory, and knowledge production to the politics of this process.  The goal of this course is to examine various approaches to critical race studies and, in light of its theoretical commitments, to explore its problems, possibilities, and limitation.

COMN 4250 - Graduate Seminar in Family Communication

Seminar in Family Communication has several course objectives. The course begins by considering questions such as, what makes family communication a unique sub-field of study?, in what ways does the sub-field of family communication overlap with other fields of study?, and what is the scholarly debate surrounding how to define family or what "counts" as family?. The course then moves on to reading about family types that challenge conventional definitions of family and, as such, are "understudied," providing ripe areas of future study. This course focuses both on readings that integrate theories already established as relevant to family communication studies, as well as readings that advocate for underutilized theories that hold great potential for studies on family communication. Finally, across the quarter, this course considers the readings in terms of how we might contribute. For instance, we inquire of each of the readings as to what additional research questions the current study raises? How might future studies conducted by class members add to the knowledge-base? Students are both consumers and producers of knowledge in this course, not only via discussion, but also via their research projects.

COMN 4700 - Special Topics: Graduate Seminar in Identity and Relationships


This seminar examines the foundational approaches to understanding identity from a communicative perspective. This course looks at key approaches to studying identity in personal relationships. Throughout the quarter, the course interrogates the ways in which identity is constantly negotiated within talk, within relationships. Identity is studied in context. Critical intersecting issues include gender and culture.

COMN 4700 - Special Topics: Rhetoric & the Environment

What is "the environment" and how do we--as humans, American citizens, Coloradoans, etc.--define our relationship with it? How should we construct our relationship with it? By interweaving various perspectives from rhetorical theory, a discursive history of environmental controversies and policy, and a critical engagement with diverse voices and rhetorical styles, this course explores answers to these basic questions. Through readings, discussions, and assignments, we will foster a critical orientation toward environmental rhetoric. This will include interrogating the persuasiveness of arguments and evidence deployed in various environmental controversies; considering the ethics of various advocates' rhetorical expressions; and considering perspectives that may differ from our own. As this course cultivates critical thinking skills, it also seeks to help you find and enhance your own voice as an informed citizen and advocate--not by simply repeating others' discourse, but by thoughtfully considering the quarter's various rhetorical perspectives, and coming to your own decision about important environmental issues.

COMN 4701 - Special Topics: Graduate Seminar in Gender and Communication

This course examines issues of communication, language, and gender. At the core, this course is interested in the interactional processes by which gender is constituted and reconstituted by symbolic communication. Simultaneously this course departs from the belief that all interactional processes are situated. As such, this course stimulates dialogue on how communication and language influence and are influenced by larger gendered structures of particular interest. This course aims to better understand the interconnections among gender, race, class, and heterosexual hegemony, while focusing specifically on the role of communication and language in these interconnections. This course draws upon work done outside communication studies (e.g., socio-linguistics) in order to foster more insightful discussion of the issues of communication, language, and gender. Across the quarter, students take a sustained and in-depth look at language practices, in order to comprehend key constructs--moving from basic understandings such as how we fashion gendered selves out of language practices to more advanced understandings, such as how language practices are a central a site for social change.

COMN 4701 - Seminar on Communication Ethics

This seminar explores the theory and practice of ethics by focusing on the writing of Emmanuel Levinas. Each seminar has contextualized Levinas by looking at other writers such as Heidegger, Todorov, and Derrida. The latest effort looked at the writings of Michael J. Hyde and his influence on the discipline, philosophy of communication, and communication ethics.

COMN 4701-Special Topics: Communicating Asian Pacific Americans: Identity, Representation, and Resistance

This course is designed to give an overview of theoretical and methodological understanding of Asian Pacific American Communication Studies. More specifically, while this course is not meant to be exhaustive in covering all Asian Pacific American cultures and identities, this course examines key works of diverse critical communication studies scholars (and a few scholars outside of the discipline) who write about Asian Pacific American identities and representations in media, pedagogy, and other cultural contexts, and how such identity and cultural performances are used to negotiate and resist dominant ideologies in the U.S. and transnationally.

COMN 4701-Special Topics: Performative Pedagogy

This course examines key works that use performance theories and methodologies to understand pedagogy in/through the body.  Performative pedagogy also explores how schooling and academia as an institution are ritualized that privilege and marginalize particular pedagogical bodies and ideologies.  The course also engages both performance scholars who do pedagogy and pedagogy scholars who do performance to develop critical and reflexive writing and performance skills to advance conversations in performative pedagogy. 

COMN 4701 - Special Topics: Performance Ethnography

This seminar will provide 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 4701 - Special Topics: Postcolonial Discourse

COMN 4701 - Special Topics: Critical Discourse Analysis

This seminar is offered as an exploration of the growing field of Critical Discourse Analysis as a methodological perspective.  While the course will explore contemporary research guided by CDA, its primary purpose is to engage the theoretical underpinnings of CDA as well as introduce a range of particular methodological techniques complementing the perspective.

COMN 4701 - Special Topics: Graduate Seminar in Political and Economic Rhetoric

This course explores the complex relationship between rhetoric, economics, and political theory. Beginning with the premise that, under modernity, capitalism came to replace religion and sovereignty as the new "metaphysics of presence," the course explores the cultural, institutional, and geographical implications of this development and how it challenges the civic humanist tradition of classical and contemporary rhetorical theory.  Paying particular attention to a political economy identified by Michel Foucault in The Birth of Biopolitics as neoliberalism, the course will ask whether capitalism itself functions as stable referential context or, if instead, it must consistently undergo radical historical and rhetorical contextualization.

COMN 4702 - Advanced Research Interviewing Analysis

Research Interviewing is an advanced tools course. The course has three overriding objectives. This first main objective is to provide students information on central ways of analyzing interview transcripts, whether these interviews were conducted with individuals, with couples/dyads, or in focus group settings. As such, students read about how to conduct a grounded theory analysis, a narrative analysis, and both a thematic and metaphoric analysis. The second main objective of this course is to build on this information to provide students hands-on experiences in analyzing interview transcripts according to these disparate ways of analysis. Thus, students will not only read about how to analyze interview transcripts, but students will also apply this knowledge across the quarter via transcript analysis assignments. The third main objective of this course is to familiarize students with the concept of verification in qualitative research interviewing projects. For instance, students will read and discuss verification procedures ranging from theoretical sampling to check coding to member checking.

COMN 4702 - Special Topics: Social Movement Rhetoric

From Leland Griffin's 1952 call to study the "rhetoric of historical movements" to today's post-modern analyses of corporeal resistance, the study of Social Movement Rhetoric (SMR) has brought recognition to, and attempted a better understanding of, voices of dissent.  All the while, the study of SMR has broadened the theoretical understanding of rhetoric and communication.  This course is designed to survey the range of SMR scholarship, particularly as it has been conducted by rhetoric scholars in the communication studies discipline.  Whether it has approached "social movements" from a rhetorical perspective, or analyzed the rhetoric within and surrounding social change, SMR scholarship is characterized by major theoretical debates: 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 SMR, 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 heuristic means of understanding social change?  Throughout the quarter, seminar participants will not only consider their stances in SMR scholarly debates.  They will actively engage diverse theoretical perspectives in critical practice with SMR texts of their choice, leading to a richer understanding of the possibilities that SMR scholarship holds for their own research projects.

COMN 4702 - Special Topics: Critical Sexuality Studies


This course takes a critical approach to the study of sexualities by asking us to challenge our assumptions and everyday knowledge about identities, gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity.  This course will be organized according to important and recent publications in the field. The course will not focus the canonical voices such as Foucault and Butler, instead we will be bringing new voices and perspectives to the table, particularly those from emerge from Communication and Performance Studies.

COMN 4702 - Special Topics: Dark Side of Relationships

This course is designed to give you insight into the nature of the dark side of relationships. "The 'dark side' of communication, taken broadly, is a primitive metaphor intended to represent at least three basic claims regarding human relations. (1) Those aspects of communication that are normatively or expertly taken to be destructive, dysfunctional, evil, immoral, malicious, criminal, abusive, exploitative, lunatic, or otherwise really icky, naughty or not at all very nice. (2) Those aspects of communication that are ideologically or presumptively viewed as dark, but should not be (e.g., things presumed to be bad that function to produce preferred outcomes). (3) Those aspects of communication that are imbued presumptively and ideologically with goodness or badness, but should not be (i.e., things presumed to be good that function to produce dispreferred outcomes). (4) Those aspects of communication that are simply poorly understood, lying in the shadows of scholarly activity, staying in the darkness of ignorance" (Spitzberg, 2009). This course additionally focuses on the applied and socially relevant nature of dark side research, that is research that has a potential to make a difference in people's lives. However, we will explore the dark side that can accompany this work as well.

COMN 4703 - Special Topics: Theorizing Resistance

Broadly defined as "a force that tends to oppose or retard motion," the term "resistance" has come to describe all sorts of extraordinary and everyday acts (e.g., armed insurgents resisting U.S. occupation, or consumers buying fair trade locally roasted coffee to resist Starbucks). But the increased circulation of the term resistance raises questions: Can any act be one of "resistance?" By what standards do, and should, we evaluate resistance? Scholars have traditionally explored such questions in terms of effectiveness, associating resistance to individual and collective subjects, as well as political contexts. Following the Marxist tradition, resistance appears as people (more or less successfully) oppose "dominant" forces (notably, the state and capital). Yet, such attributions unduly limit our understanding of resistance's impacts and ethics. For instance, the orthodox Marxist formula assumes that "dominant" and "subservient" forces are static entities, and that power primarily is asserted in crude, direct forms. What theoretical resources are available to communication scholars as they attempt to interpret resistance? How do theorists conceptualize "resistance?" What do they assume about human agents or agency, rhetoric, and power? How might communication scholars "translate" theories of resistance into workable "tools" for understanding and evaluating discourse? These questions will form the basis for our inquiry, which will concentrate on the post-structuralist, post-Marxist, phenomenological, post-modern, and performative trajectories of theorizing resistance.

COMN 4800 - Philosophies of Dialogue

This seminar explores the theory and practice of dialogue through the lens of three modern philosophers. Mikhail Bakhtin's dialogism provides the starting point to understand the key role of dialogue in what he called "speech communication." Martin Buber's notion of dialogue as a nearly holy and reciprocal encounter introduces another dimension to communication ethics. The, the work of Emmanuel Levinas explores the notion of communication and dialogue at the bedrock of ethics.

COMN 4890 - Philosophy of Communication

This course explores some of the recent movements in the philosophy of communication. In particular, we will examine how Hermeneutics, Critical Theory and Post-modern/Post-structuralist modes of thought have shaped the understanding and development of communication and rhetorical theory in the last several years. 

COMN 4900 - Quantitative Methods I


The purpose of this course is to develop a grounding in the basic principles of research in general and quantitative research in particular. After completing this course, students will be able to identify and evaluate examples of research from different paradigms.  In addition, students will become more critical consumers of others' research, in both academic and everyday contexts. A second purpose of this course is for students to develop their scholarly writing skills. By the end of the course, students will define a concept, build an argument for research based on the literature, and articulate hypotheses and research questions.
 


COMN 4901 - Quantitative Methods II 


This course is a continuation of HCOM 4900. In HCOM 4901, students will continue to consider topics such as sampling, scale construction, and statistical methods that can be used to answer research questions and hypotheses.  Statistical methods covered include chi-square, t-test, correlation, regression, ANOVA, and some multivariate analyses.  We will analyze data collected during HCOM 4900 to practice the various statistical tests.

COMN 4930 - Qualitative Methods

This class is an introduction to qualitative research in communication studies. We will begin with philosophies of research, move to qualitative methods, and then on to writing as a method of knowing.  About 4/5 of the class will be devoted to discussions of theory and method; about 1/5 will focus on your own field project. Under theory, we will read about and discuss philosophies of science, phenomenology, social constructionism, feminist methods, and critical theory. In method, we will study phenomenology, ethnography, case study and narrative approaches and autoethnography. Research tools will include observation, interviewing, and analysis of documents, visual, and material culture. Each student will begin a qualitative study of an aspect of human communicative action. This is the first quarter of a two-quarter sequence and will lead to the completion of the qualitative project begun in this class.

COMN 4931 - Qualitative Methods II

This term, we will identify the critical decision-making points throughout the interpretive process and consider how to negotiate them, producing an insightful piece of writing which contributes to an on-going scholarly conversation (emerging from the data you collected in Qualitative Methods I). As researchers, we will struggle with the following questions: At the initial stages of the analytic or interpretive process, what should researchers consider as they select, create, sort, and/or organize their data/text(s)/artifact(s)? What is the relationship between data/text(s)/artifact(s) and its surrounding context? Between data and theory? How much should researchers allow context and theory guide their interpretive process and final written analysis? Are all interpretations of equal value? To what end(s) should the interpreter analyze data--to represent reality, to change policy, to inspire or be part of social change, to deepen our understanding of the human condition? What normative standards should we as a community of scholars employ in evaluating others' interpretations?  How does one negotiate the challenges of writing qualitative research? How do we convey (in writing) the best version of our research, as we understand it? In addition to engaging these questions, this course is designed to build and put to use a toolbox of interpretive methods from qualitative, critical-interpretive, and rhetorical research traditions.