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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Communication Studies

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Graduate Studies


We have arrived at three areas of concentration that we believe best fit the University, the discipline and us. They are culture and communication, interpersonal and family communication and rhetoric and communication ethics.

Culture and Communication

The area of culture and communication investigates the communicative constitution and intersection of difference in its various codifications as culture, race, class, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender and sexual orientation. Its vision is to promote an ethic of inclusivity, racial and social justice, reciprocity, and mutual transformation in the encounter of difference. Courses focus on social and performative construction of identity, the politics of representation, performances of affect, identity, and community vernacular, and embodied rhetorics—all informed by critical, feminist and queer perspectives on cultural communication.

Interpersonal and Family Communication

The area of interpersonal and family communication explores how human communication works in our everyday lives, specifically, how people interact and the impact their actions have on relationships between members of dyads, families, social networks and communities. A basic premise of work in this area is that human interaction is fundamental to the construction, development, and maintenance of personal, social, and institutional relationships and to the organization of social life as we know it today.

Rhetoric and Communication Ethics

The rhetoric and communication ethics area of concentration is dedicated to the investigation of public, organizational and personal communication and is particularly concerned with questions of how ethics and justice are constituted throughout the spectrum of public communication activity. The study of rhetoric and communication ethics at DU is best defined through three intellectual commitments. First, we are committed to developing philosophical accounts of the nature of communicative activity. Second, we are committed to understanding how communicative action works to form and transform our public and civic identities. And third, we are committed to producing reflective criticism of communicative activity in all of its textual and performative modalities.