Communication Arts and Sciences employs a wide variety of approaches to the study of human communication. For that reason, the contents of CAS 84 will vary depending on the expertise of the instructor. All versions of the course, however, will be designed according to common learning objectives for Communication Sciences courses.
Communication Arts and Sciences employs a wide variety of approaches to the study of human communication. For that reason, the contents of CAS 84 will vary depending on the expertise of the instructor. All versions of the course, however, will be designed according to common learning objectives for Rhetoric courses.
This course centers on the distinction—historically and theoretically—between propaganda and persuasion. Toward that end, we study the history of propaganda, as well as contemporary cases of public advocacy that raise questions about the distinction between persuasion and propaganda.
This course offers a survey of key speeches, debates, and controversies making up the rich tradition of U.S. civic life. The course is designed to introduce students to the basic historical contexts within which these key events arise; engage them in close readings of speeches, tracts, and polemical writing; and develop skills in critical thinking and writing.
The course requires students to investigate the process of researching sound evidence, constructing legitimate argumentative claims, and participating in live debates. Fundamental to this endeavor is a strong attention to research, ethics, and strategy. Major topics may include essential components of effective arguments, in-depth examination of different types of evidence, introduction to forms of reasoning, negative and affirmative cases, and debate rules or strategies.
“Today the density of competing messages is greater than ever before, making the study of persuasion not only necessary for the specializing few but also requisite for all who would live effectively in modern society” (Brembeck & Howell, 1952). Although those words were written over half a century ago, they are arguably even more true today. Because of the enormous role that persuasion plays in shaping the institutions that underlie contemporary society as well as the day-to-day lives of individuals, an understanding of it is essential for everyone.
Through readings, discussion, deliberation, listening, and individual as well as collaborative action, this course will give you the opportunity to learn about and practice theories and habits of civic and community engagement and public scholarship with the goal of helping to sustain participatory democracy. This course emphasizes the people’s role in shared governance while providing a foundation for understanding how a wide range of other individual and collective practices have an equally important role to play in building and sustaining community.
This course offers opportunities to explore how gender norms are socially constructed partly through communication. Students develop skills for thinking critically about diverse perspectives on these norms. The course emphasizes the agency of students in developing their own ethical frameworks for how to enact gender performances in their communication, as well as how to respond through communication to the performances of others.
In today’s globalized world where many of us are frequently in contact with people from cultures, continents, and contexts different from our own, we cannot assume that our own cultural values and beliefs, behaviors and expectations are universal. We discuss definitions of culture and explore the various cultures we encounter in our daily lives to come to appreciate the complexity involved in intercultural exchanges, and to acknowledge the influence of context and power in our intercultural interactions. Our approach is interdisciplinary in perspective and global in outlook.
This course is designed to show students how communication theory can be applied to understand and improve communication in professional (and personal) life. The theories examined will span the range of communication contexts, including interpersonal, group, organizational, mediated, and cross-cultural interactions.
Students will learn how Communication researchers conduct and evaluate research from using a variety of quantitative methodologies. By the end of the course, students will possess the knowledge necessary to understand and evaluate arguments utilizing research to persuade, as well as, to conduct sound research on their own.
This course explores the role debate plays in the United States. Course material familiarizes students with theories and practices of debate, including: the history of important debate moments in the United States, analysis of contemporary political debates, and practical debate techniques inside the classroom and in a public setting.
The course may be taught with a focus on contemporary theory and research, or on interpersonal communication in personal and professional relationships. It may also incorporate a research practicum, in which students participate in conducting a research study.
This course emphasizes the current theoretical and methodological scholarship concentrating upon family interaction as a core mechanism that defines our understanding of the structural and functional nature of the family across the life span. In addition, this course emphasizes the cultural and social influences that impact how people define family and determine what they feel is competent family interaction.
A more deliberative democracy would require broader public participation in politics and government and more serious deliberation on the challenges we must face together. This course introduces recent theory and research on deliberation and sharpens students’ skills at a range of processes.
This course critically examines a variety of artifacts and environments that function persuasively by appealing to audiences’ senses, memory, and imagination. We take a closer look at visual artifacts like photographs, posters, monuments, and museum exhibits as well as persuasive spaces like theme parks, urban environments, and botanical gardens. We will learn to apply several methods of critical analysis of non-verbal communication.
From the silent films and classic sitcoms of the twentieth century to the rise of Netflix and transmedia storytelling in our era, film and television have helped define the intersection of race, class, and gender as well as public perceptions of diverse subjects, from criminality and war to romance and sexuality. As the production and consumption of popular culture has changed in the last decade, new and important questions emerge about the role television and film in establishing a public vocabulary for identity and politics.
This course concentrates on the pivotal role communication plays in the social process of aging. An understanding of the communicative behavior of older adults can result in significant improvements in our ability not only to describe the essential components of a quality life, but to intervene in the various factors that help each of us adapt to the many physiological, psychological, social and economic challenges of the aging process. Students will learn the basic elements of physical aging, psychological aging, social aging, and the role communication plays in each of these interdependent processes.
Contemporary African American Communication is a cross-listed course between the CAS and African American Studies department. The class examines how the historical and contemporary experiences of black communities have shaped communication and culture.
Human communication is by its very nature an ethical enterprise. Whether in the workplace, in interpersonal settings, or civic contexts, how we communicate raises important moral questions. This class takes up such questions in a discussion-oriented, writing-intensive survey of key issues in the study of communication ethics.
Groups are at the heart of nearly every sphere of life, from family to work to play to politics. Scholars have studied how people communicate in a wide variety of groups, and this course helps reveal what makes groups cohesive, effective, and inspiring—but also potentially divisive, delusional, and self-defeating. This writing-intensive course covers a broad range of theories of decision-making and problem-solving groups.
We explore numerous theories that help to explain the complex interactions that occur at numerous levels within modern organizations. In addition, each student will participate within a semester long “communication audit” of an organization to test the explanatory power of our theories in the working world.
This course surveys a range of scholarship about gender and communication, with an emphasis on how we can apply the knowledge, theories, and strategies we encounter to our own lives. The course equips students to take a more active role in understanding and enacting gender within their own communication, academically, personally, and professionally.
This course provides a comprehensive overview of intercultural communication theories and research. Students will apply theories to analyze and solve problems that affect intra-group and intercultural communication within and across national boundaries. Course includes a variety of activities, including interactions that cross cultural, linguistic, or national boundaries, and issues of humanity, tolerance, and values.
How do people or groups use public discourse to mitigate the uncertainty of particular moments and conflicts? How do we analyze the public discourse of previous eras? What patterns of persuasion recur within public discourse and why? Those kinds of questions will anchor this course.
This course provides students with an introduction to technology, web pages, and uses of social media. Students will explore the possibilities and limitations of social media and will have hands-on experience with several forms of social media technology. Class discussions, presentations by students, readings, and invited speakers will highlight new effective strategies and applications of these platforms.
The long, rich, and diverse practice of rhetorical criticism is underwritten by certain abiding principles of interpretation. This seminar is predicated on the assumption that all critics, whatever their particular preoccupations, will need to engage and put these principles to work in interpretive practice. Among them: questions of effect; the play of text and context, issues of genre, audience, and style; the visual, the aural, and the ambient; and identity, ideology, and resistance.
Extending from Tiro (an enslaved person in Cicero’s household) to President Obama, this seminar will attend to some of the infra/structures of preservation—replication, reputation, canonization, quotation, citation, allusion, education, tradition, translation, comparison—that have kept Cicero circulating in culture (including popular culture and the academic culture of rhetorical studies).
CAS 506: Contemporary Rhetorical Theory offers significant theoretical accounts of discourse-in-use from the early 20th century to the present (and beyond) to provide students generative ideas and methods for future study. Discourse encompasses language and other symbol systems, and the course has previously focused on topics such as language and other symbol-systems, Rhetoric & Cultural Memory, Sound Characters, Rhetoric of Religion.
CAS 507: Issues in Rhetorical Theory highlights particular historical and/or contemporary issues from the early 20th century to the present and beyond to provide students intensive engagement with specific exigent intellectual and public controversies. Previous topics include Giorgio, Agamben, Judith Butler, & Jacques Rancière; Archives of Gender & Sexuality; Publics, Gender, & Race; Rhetoric, Archive, & Information.
Modern political systems are as likely to move further away from deliberative ideals as toward them, and such movement can undermine a system’s democratic legitimacy. This problem has inspired the development of deliberative democratic theory and research, which provides a powerful critique of contemporary politics. Students will review philosophical and interpretive works, as well as empirical research on deliberation utilizing case studies, surveys, and experiments. This seminar also helps students plan and execute their own contributions to this growing body of scholarship.
This seminar explores the rhetoric of electronically mediated political discourse, including broadcast speeches, news coverage of politics and political campaigns, campaign debates, political advertising, talk radio, and political websites. Addressing key problems and issues in democratic theory and practical politics, the seminar explores questions frequently raised by both scholars and political pundits. Recent topics include: Making Sense of Politics in the Age of Donald Trump.
Social influence is a graduate seminar that exams the socially situated nature of influence: persuasion, compliance, and diffusion. The course introduces students to work on the evolution of social living, including kin and group selection. Students examine theories and research about social determinants and social outcomes (e.g., social cognition, social power, social norms, and social networks) of attempts to change someone’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
This seminar includes a survey of classic and contemporary thinking on persuasive communication to develop an understanding of the major issues and concerns in one of the oldest and most extensive literatures in social science. Participants will develop an understanding of the content and contours of the field as well as a set of strong empirical generalizations while gaining practice in the analysis of theories and the use of data to form empirical generalizations.
An introduction to theories of interpersonal communication, this seminar examines important and/or exemplary theories of interpersonal communication, facilitates an understanding of the relationship between a systematic program of empirical research and theory development, and provides in-depth review of programs of research that correspond with particular theories of interpersonal communication. We will be thinking systematically about theory development and refinement and identifying intersections between multiple theoretical perspectives on interpersonal communication.
Life Span Communication deals with the description, explanation, prediction and modification of the communication process across the life span. Life Span Communication scholars are interested in what a developing process of communication “looks like”, the developmental mechanisms of the communication process, how developmental communication functions across personal and professional contexts, and how the communication process can be altered to create an optimal environment for living a high quality life. Developmental theory and methodology across numerous disciplines will be a focus of this seminar.
This seminar explores the nature and substance of social scientific theory as it applies to understanding and explaining human communication. We consider various research paradigms and examine questions of ontology (the nature of being), epistemology (ways of knowing), axiology (the role of a theorist’s values), and methodology (the procedures for investigation). We will develop tools to build and evaluate social scientific theories and learn about prominent theories in communication science.
This seminar reviews social scientific, empirical, and/or quantitative approaches to the study of communication by examining major research designs and research techniques. Topics include the principles of causal inference, concept explication, measurement theory and methods, scale development and validation, study design, data analysis, and meta-analysis.
This seminar is a foundational course exposing students to two quantitative perspectives that are increasingly encountered in communication research: dyadic analysis and social network analysis.
This seminar explores the theory and technology of measuring variables relevant to the study of communication. We will learn how to devise and evaluate a conceptual definition, then create a corresponding operational definition, develop measures in which the symbols reflective of the phenomenon are ordered, and produce indices of reliability, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. We will also devise measurement of phenomena for which the symbols are not ordered (i.e., categories), and study the creation and evaluation of coding schemes as they are used in verbal protocols, content analysis, and social interaction analysis as well as agreement indices of reliability.
In this seminar, we examine theory, concepts, and empirical findings related to how and why interpersonal interactions and relationships contribute to people’s mental, physical, and psychological well-being. The course will include readings and concepts from psychology and sociology, but it will focus on the role of messages and relationships in promoting well-being, specifically with a focus on positive interactions that boost well-being and unproductive interactions that damage well-being. We will review traditional and contemporary theories that apply to the study of interpersonal communication and well-being and identify major trends and researchers in the field.
This graduate course explores theories of health communication and approaches to designing and evaluating effective theory-driven communication campaigns that attempt to address real-world health issues. The real-world health issues may vary from pandemic conditions involving global coordination to specific ones appearing within a smaller, cohesive network in a particular neighborhood. Students will learn theories and methods related to audience analysis, campaign design, and program evaluation. This course will cover issues of inference, ethics, and sources of bias in health campaign design and evaluation.
Structural Equation Modeling
This seminar explores applications of path analysis and structural equation models. After a review of basic ideas of structure, interpretation, estimation, and inference in recursive models, we turn to problems of specification, identification, and model selection in simple recursive and latent-variable models. The LISREL model will be introduced, and its use in the specification of a variety of models will be reviewed: Factor models, MIMIC models, recursive and nonrecursive models with and without unobservables, multiple group models, multilevel models, etc. Most estimation will be carried out using LISREL and mPlus. Be comfortable with topics beyond multiple regression analysis, with standard methods of statistical inference, and with standard methods of data analysis. Be able to assess the consequences of well-specified prior assumptions about causality.
Communication and Social Support
In this seminar, we review theory and research addressing the connection between communication and social support. This includes historical and contemporary interdisciplinary perspectives on social support; relationships between social support, stress and health; communication as enacted social support, key forms of supportive communication (e.g., emotional/comforting, informational/advising); support-seeking, supportive interactions, and supportive relationships; predictors and outcomes of effective supportive communication; and methods for studying social support as a communication scholar, with the goal of developing skills at critique and synthesis. We will also consider positive communication behavior that may build and maintain supportive relationships, including praise, gratitude, forgiveness, and celebratory support.
This seminar is an overview of social scientific perspectives on risk and includes major theoretical approaches to risk, examples of research from each paradigm, and applications of the concepts to environmental and health topics. We will explore the complex ways in which people think and talk about risk, design messages and campaigns that take those processes into account within applied health and environmental contexts.
The assumption that knowledge is cumulative is foundational to the scientific enterprise. But, it is only since the development of meta-analysis that this assumption has become a practical reality. Meta-analysis is a set of procedures that leverage scientific values and standard statistical theory to quantitatively summarize the findings of individual studies. The results provide a stronger test of theory and more precise parameter estimates than any individual study can. Facility with meta-analysis is an essential tool for scientists of every discipline. Students will gain facility with this essential tool by reading the relevant literature, then conducting a meta-analysis on the topic of their choice.
Computer Mediated Communication
This seminar focuses on theory, concepts, and empirical findings related to computer-mediated communication (CMC), and most, although not all readings will approach these issues through the lens of interpersonal communication. The course will begin by defining what CMC is and what scholars of CMC are interested in studying. After that, the course readings concentrate on the major theories and research foundations in scholarship on CMC.
This seminar takes a broad perspective on how advice succeeds and fails, systematically reviewing and synthesizing theory and research on advice from multiple disciplines, such as communication, psychology, applied linguistics, business, law, and medicine. Using different levels of analysis, we focus on advisor and recipient roles, advising interactions and relationships, and advice as a resource and connection in groups and networks, and we consider personal relationships (romantic, family) and contexts (workplace, health, education, therapy, online).
Affect, Persuasion, and Health
This seminar examines the nature and substance of theories of emotions as they apply to communication, such as persuasion, social influence, risk, and health communication. Considering different perspectives on emotion, theories of emotions, theories and approaches to fear appeals, motivated resistance to strategic communication, empathy, affect and risk communication, students critically evaluate and assess theories and approaches to the study of emotions in persuasion and health communication, and to integrate and apply the theories in their own research.”