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COMN 1011 Communication Through Literature

This course emphasizes the analysis and performance of diverse forms of literature. In addition to the dramaturgical elements of interpretation that are highlighted in this course, students learn how to contextualize serious public issues through literature while developing confidence and skills as performers and public speakers.

COMN 1012 Speaking on Ideas That Matter

The purpose of this course is to assist students in becoming more competent and comfortable when speaking about their opinions. Students learn how to develop and analyze rhetorical arguments, including the full range of the speech-making process, but especially how to support those opinions they assert. Assignments, class discussions and course materials provide students with a foundation of knowledge and practical application of speaking skills, which will prove useful in a variety of personal, professional, and public contexts.

COMN 1015 Voice and Gender

In this course, students explore gender in personal and political contexts with the intent of developing their individual voices in these arenas. Students learn to creatively express their voice through strengthening both their written and oral communication skills. This course also discusses gender issues prevalent in today's society and significant moments in rhetorical history that have impacted these issues.

COMN 1100 Communication in Personal Relationships

Relationships have a direct and lasting impact on us: they shape who we are, and the paths we take toward who we will become. The purpose of this course is to analyze and apply theories and research relevant to communication processes in a variety of personal relationships. Discussion of issues such as attachment, identity, hetero- and homosexual relationships, family communication, conflict and intrapersonal discourses will provide students a foundation on which to build skills useful in a variety of personal relationships. In Communication in Personal Relationships, students will: sensitively express attitudes and discuss research about different issues pertinent to the study of personal relationships; develop the skills to critically analyze their own relationships and the relationships of others; reflect on and challenge their and others' ideas in a critically constructive manner so that we arrive at a new level of understanding together; and demonstrate the ability to apply communication and interpersonal theories and research outside of this classroom upon completion of the course.

COMN 1200 Small Group Communication

This course approaches small group communication through a combination of theory and practice. Theories related to group development and leadership, collaborative communication, dialogue and rhetorical sensitivity, and principled negotiation and consensus, are explored through group discussions, research, case studies and presentations. Students have the opportunity to: strengthen their critical thinking and listening skills; confidently voice their identity within a greater community; increase their ability in writing and presenting their thoughts; and develop communication competence by facilitating civility within small group settings.

COMN 1210 Foundations of Communication Studies

This course offers students an introduction to the study of communication. Students will explore the role of communication in domains that cut across the spectrum of human social life, from communication among individuals to relationships, marriage and families, groups, organizations and communication at societal and global levels. In addition to focusing on the specific nature of communication in these distinct settings, students learn as well the different conceptual models for describing and understanding communication across these settings.

COMN 1550 Communication in the Workplace

This course offers a topics-based introduction to the study and practice of communication in a variety of organizational settings. The emphasis is on issues of power, politics, globalization, culture, diversity, relationships and conflict. Students learn how to recognize, diagnose and solve communication related problems in the workplace.

COMN 1600 Communication and Popular Culture

This course uses various landmark theories and perspectives to analyze popular culture, with a particular emphasis on the importance of communication in the production and consumption of culture. We will examine various artifacts of popular culture including music, movies, texts, advertisements, clothing and other relevant pieces of popular culture. In the course of this exploration, we will study the development of culture by applying different theories or "lenses" to these artifacts. Students will experience and analyze various aspects of popular culture including production and consumption, in addition to how these processes work within the context of globalization. We will take a critical perspective in which we will challenge our own conceptions and consumption of popular culture. The goal of this course is to combine relevant theories with your own observations and interests in order to develop a careful, critical and constructive analysis of popular culture.

COMN 1700 Fundamentals of Intercultural Communication

This course explores the fundamental concepts and issues in intercultural communication. We will examine the complex relationship between culture and communication from different conceptual perspectives and consider the importance of context and power in intercultural interactions. In addition to learning theory and applying different approaches to the study of intercultural communication, this course asks that you consider your own cultural identities, values, beliefs, assumptions, worldviews, etc., through participation in class discussions. Our discussions will enhance self-reflection, critical thinking and your awareness to the complexity of intercultural communication. You can expect that your classmates possess varying perspectives about the materials being covered in class. We will work hard to help everyone develop their perspective and voice, embracing such factors as cultural background, race, class, gender and sexuality.

COMN 2030 Social Movement Rhetoric

This course explores the principle agency that less powerful groups have used for social change in recent U.S. history—the rhetoric of social movement. More specifically, we consider in concrete detail and theoretical nuance the capacity of ordinary people to persuade others, to voice grievances, and thus challenge broader society. Our explorations focus primarily on the rhetoric of dissident (non-majority, nonstate, often un-institutionalized and non-normative) voice in our culture—both on the "right" and the "left"—as they have sought, and continue to seek, social change.

COMN 2100 Performance and Social Change

Students explore the possibilities of making political performances, or making performances political. We examine and create performances that take place in public byways rather than theatre buildings, and that are intended to question or re-envision dominant arrangements of power. We are particularly concerned with how performance may contribute to processes of social change. This course also guides students through the process of creating new works of theatre for social change, focusing on political issues chosen by students themselves.

COMN 2110 Quantitative/Empirical Communication Inquiry

This course is designed to introduce students to the process of reading, analyzing, conducting and critiquing quantitative research in communication studies. Research is a pervasive aspect of contemporary life, both inside and outside of the university. As such, many of the jobs taken by communication studies majors require, or at the very least are enhanced by the ability to conduct and interpret research. This course introduces students to the various aspects associated with quantitative research methods in an effort to illuminate the significance of research about communication in our lives and help students to act as critical consumers of the research they encounter.

COMN 2120 Collaborative Leadership

COMN 2140 The Dark Side of Relationships

This course is designed to familiarize students with theory and research that focuses on the dark and bright sides of human relationships. In particular, we explore those dysfunctional, distorted, distressing and destructive elements that sometimes comprise our relations with family members, friends, coworkers and romantic partners, for example. Additionally, we explore relational issues that typically are presumed to be dark but function to produce constructive outcomes, as well as phenomena that are typically judged as bright but function to produce destructive relational outcomes.

COMN 2150 Rhetorical/Critical Communication Inquiry

This course focuses on the process of interpreting, understanding and evaluating everyday persuasive acts for the purpose of sharing insights and influencing the community audience. This course fosters a variety of analytical skills, including how to describe primary rhetorical acts (such as speeches, films, news coverage, television programs, songs, advertisements and public commemorative art, among others) in rich, relevant detail; how to situate or make sense of rhetorical acts within their historical, cultural moments; and how to use theory to develop a critical perspective that helps to render a judgment about a text or act. Students sharpen critical instincts by working through the inventional process to produce a piece of rhetorical or cultural criticism.

COMN 2200 Qualitative/Interpretive Communication Inquiry

This course focuses on introducing students to a selection of qualitative methods used in communication research. Class covers the basic techniques for collecting, interpreting and analyzing qualitative data. Throughout the term, the course operates on two interrelated dimensions, one focused on the theoretical approaches to various types of qualitative research, the other focused on the practical techniques of data collection and analysis, such as interviewing and collecting field notes.

COMN 2210 Gender, Communication, Culture

This course considers how gender is created, maintained, repaired and transformed through communication in particular relational, cultural, social and historical contexts. This course is designed to help students develop thoughtful answers to the questions: What is gender, how do we acquire it, how do cultural structures and practices normalize and reproduce it, and how do we change and/or maintain it to better serve ourselves and our communities? Throughout the term, we explore how dynamic communicative interactions create, sustain and subvert femininities and masculinities "from the ground up."

COMN 2220 Race and Popular Culture

This course examines trajectories of representations of race in popular culture (i.e., film, music, television), both produced by the dominant culture, as well as self-produced by various racial and ethnic groups. Through a historical perspective, we trace images in popular culture and how those images are tied to contemporary events of the time. We pay particular attention not only to the specific archetypes that exist, but also how those archetypes are nuanced or colored differently through the lenses of ethnicity, nationality, race, class, gender and sexuality.

COMN 2300 Fundamentals of Argumentation

This class offers a survey of approaches to the study of argumentation. We are going to examine and evaluate how argument is understood from various perspectives within the discipline of communication studies. We will engage theoretical concerns related to argumentation with a commitment to test their applicability to current events and issues. We will also explore how arguments are practiced in areas such as the arts and the media, legal contexts, interpersonal communication, public deliberation and the sciences. The course will focus on expanding your contextual knowledge of how arguments operate within our culture and on cultivating your ability to read critically and creatively, make cogent arguments, assess opposing arguments charitably and communicate your judgments effectively.

COMN 2400 Landmarks in Rhetorical Theory

This course is a survey of some of the major conceptual innovations in the history of rhetorical theory. In particular we will investigate the conceptions of rhetoric prevalent in antiquity and how they inform contemporary perspectives on rhetoric. In order to carry this off, we will conceptualize rhetoric as an attempt to answer the question what is the relationship between what is true and what is the good.

COMN 2470 Gender and Communication

Sex differences in communication behavior, treatment of women in language, women on public platforms and women's portrayal in media.

COMN 2700, 2701, 2702, 2073, 2704, 2705 Topics in Communication

COMN 3005 Diverse Family Communication


This course explores the communicative experiences of diverse families, focusing on issues surrounding race/ethnicity and sexual orientation. This course aims to further student understandings of the ways diverse families communicate both inside and outside their families.

COMN 3010 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, class and ethnicity. This course is organized thematically as we explore various topics within the larger study of critical sexuality studies and communication studies. We examine contemporary issues within queer theory, critical race studies, identity politics, feminism, performance studies and popular culture.

COMN 3015 Culture and Pedagogy

This seminar invites students to analyze and reflect upon the ways in which individuals and groups have created cultural ideals, images and constructs of education. The course focuses upon pedagogy broadly conceived as an integral part of a diverse and conflictual society and on how pedagogies shape our understanding and reproduction of, as well as our resistance to, such a society. We explore a variety of conflicting views of what it means to be educated, for what purpose, for what kind of society and towards what future.

COMN 3020 Conflict Management

Substantive and relational types of conflict, various strategies for conflict resolution.

COMN 3025 Latina/o Communication Studies

As the Latina/o population continues to grow in the United States, having become the largest "minority" population in the United States, it becomes increasingly important to understand and respect the cultures of this heterogeneous community. Latina/os are often erroneously subsumed or rendered invisible by dominant constructions of race within the United States that rely on a hegemonic black/white binary. Given the increasing visibility and growth of this course, this course examines the development of Latina/o studies within the field of communication studies by taking both an historical and a contemporary approach.

COMN 3030 Performance Studies

This course focuses on the study of performance within the field of communication studies. Unlike theater, which tends to focus primarily on traditionally staged performance, in this course we are concerned with performances of everyday life as they relate to identities, ritual, culture and personal narrative.

COMN 3035 Performing Culture

This course examines performance as theory and method to understand how everyday and mediated performances communicate a variety of cultural, social and political perspectives and identities. This course also explores aesthetic, rhetorical and ethnographic functions of performance and how they implicate cultural identity constructions of self and others.

COMN 3050 Feminism and Intersectionality

This course offers an overview of feminist theories as they are in dialogue with intersectionality. It offers both a contemporary and historical perspective and is also attentive to the emergence of feminist scholarship in communication studies.

COMN 3110 Intergroup Communication

This course is designed to provide students with insight into the nature of communication related to the ways that we socially categorize ourselves and others as members of ingroups and outgroups. In particular, students exit the course with a greater understanding of the: (a) theoretical foundations of social identity and intergroup relations, (b) communicative and cognitive processes related to social comparison, prejudice, discrimination and conflict within and between groups, (c) outcomes associated with intergroup contact and (d) intergroup and social identity processes that underlie past, present and future social issues.

COMN 3120 Asian Pacific American Communication Studies

This course examines Asian Pacific American studies within the field of communication studies by exploring performances, constructions and representations of Asian Pacific American identities in U.S. education, popular culture and other everyday contexts. This course also investigates the implications of U.S. historical, political and social discourses of race, culture and identity on Asian Pacific Americans.

COMN 3140 Advanced Intercultural Communication

This course is designed to study the intersection of communication and culture. In this course, culture is defined broadly to include a variety of contexts, such as race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age and class. Students gain theoretical and practical understanding of the opportunities and obstacles that exist as individuals and communities communicate within and across cultures.

COMN 3230 Principles of Leadership

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

COMN 3270 Health Communication

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

This 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

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; and (3) asking and investigating questions about real-life relationships.

COMN 3290 Communication and Aging

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

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 3310 Globalization, Culture and Communication

Drawing from a critical multidisciplinary perspective, this course examines how culture and communication are impacted by globalization. The course explores issues of power and positionality, as well as economic, political and cultural implications of globalization on people, products and ideologies in both local and transnational contexts.

COMN 3315 Public Deliberation

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

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

COMN 3431 Rhetoric and Communication Ethics

Seminar: Communication and Climate Change

Since the release of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, American public discourse has become increasingly concerned with global warming. Not only is there nearly 100 percent consensus among climate scientists that human-induced climate change exists, but the severity of global warming is entering the popular imaginary in the form of journalism, films, etc. But while scientists are committed to slowing global warming, the types of sweeping policy and behavioral changes needed to abate the projected climate catastrophe have been very slow in coming. As such, communication scholars—particularly those concerned with the art of public persuasion—are in a unique position to contribute to this significant and complex issue. In the words of climate scientists Susanne Moser and Lisa Dilling: "We need to open up the communication process to a wider community, in which participants own the process and content of communication." The goal of this course is to produce original scholarly research in response to Moser and Dilling's call, to invite more and better communication concerning climate change.

COMN 3435 Rhetoric and Public Life

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

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 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

Theory, preparation, delivery and evaluation of public speeches.

COMN 3680 Gender and Communication

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 multiple ways communication in families, media and society in general creates and perpetuates gender roles. 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.

COMN 3700, 3701, 3702, 3703, 3704, 3705 Topics in Communication

COMN 3770 Mediated Communication and Relationships

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

This course explores the philosophies of dialogue of MartinBuber, Mikhail Bakhtin and others in the context of contemporary communication scholarship on ethics, culture and relationship. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

COMN 3850 Communication Ethics

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 3995 Independent Research

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