Communication Studies

Special Topics Summer 2013

COM 495-001
Day/Time: MTWR 12:30pm-2:45pm
Dr. Chadwick Roberts

Course Description: This course examines representations of difference and identity formation in a variety of media. Our focus will be on how people come to understand themselves as gendered, racialized, sexed, and sexual human beings; how the meanings of these categories are created and communicated through various media, and how they can be challenged and resisted. We will be considering issues of authorship, spectatorship, media audiences and the ways in which various media content (film, television, advertising, journalism, new media) enables, facilitates and challenges these social constructions in society. In addition, we will examine how gender and race affects the production of media and discuss how new media and digital media and how it has transformed access and participation. Students will analyze gendered and racialized language and embodiment as it is produced online in blogs and vlogs, gaming, social media, and the construction of cyber identities. Students will engage key course concepts and critique various media artifacts through creative practice, presentations, writing, and primary research.

Special Topics Fall 2013

COM 295-001 Intro to New & Converging Media
Day/Time: MW 2:00pm-3:15pm
Instructor: Dr. Chadwick Roberts

Course Description: This course will serve as an introduction to the central issues, including practical and theoretical considerations, of new and converging media. We will begin by attempting to answer the question: "What is new about new media?" In answering this question we will look explicitly at the relationship between new media and old/traditional/legacy media. We will address a wide combination of issues, including audience, policy, regulatory and industry analysis. We will illuminate the dynamics of new media across social, political and cultural spheres. We will cover the key concepts and approaches to the impact of new media on the economy, society, identity, politics, friendship, citizenship and everyday life. We will consider issues of media access and participation as they relate to new media. Students will apply course concepts with up-to-case case studies and through interactive online activities in the MAC lab.

COM 295-003 American Identity and the Rhetoric of World War II
Day/Time: MWF 12:00-12:50pm
Instructor: Dr. David Weber

Course Description: Students will explore the impact of World War II (1941-1945) on U. S. American lives, relationships and identities 1941-1945. We will examine the narratives and rhetoric by which U.S. engagement with and involvement in the war were constructed. We will examine a variety of rhetorical artifacts (magazines, films, newspaper stories, private letters, lyrics of popular songs, radio programs, etc.) to discover what transformations in culture, relationships and national identity occurred, and how those transformations affect us in 2013. We will develop and refine skills in narrative and rhetorical analysis and reflect on how something as complex as war rests on rhetorical underpinnings and stories we tell one another.

COM 424-001 Applying CMM to the World Around Us
Day/Time: TR 2:00pm-3:15pm
Instructor: Dr. Vernon Cronen

Course Description: This course is based on the theory Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM). It was developed to deal with questions like these: How do people get themselves trapped into patterns of talk the participants themselves do not want? How do emotions and aesthetics function in communication practices? How does culture enter the communication picture? How do we create understandings of what we can do, must do, and must not do? How can problematic patterns of communication be changed and creative ones fostered? In this course we will address these and related questions by focusing on "joint action." That is, how persons jointly create possibilities and constraints for how they live together. CMM has a wide range of application including relationships, organizations, small groups, families, mass media and the new personal media. The emphasis on particular areas of application can follow student interests.

Follow the link for more information:

Applying CMM to the World Around Us (pdf)

COM 495-001 Power & Identity: Civil Rights
Day/Time: TR 12:30pm-1:45pm
Instructor: Dr. Patricia Comeaux

Course Description: We will discuss the impact of the American Civil Rights Movement (focusing on the 1960's era) on our own identities as individuals. This course will focus on the power and the persuasive strategies of well-known leaders as well as ordinary citizens fighting for their civil rights during the era in American history from 1954-1985. Primary source documents of speeches, documentary film (Eyes on the Prize), biographies and autobiographies will be used to examine the most powerful mass protest movement in modern US history. This course also examines the powerful white resistance to this freedom struggle during this time period. In addition to viewing documentaries and analyzing speeches and key events to understand the impact of this movement on our own individual identities, we will also examine the distinctly different strategies and power used by the followers of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the non-violent protesters with those of the followers of Malcolm X, Stokley Carmichael, the Black Panthers and the call for forceful-violent resistance.

Course Learning Activities (Major Assignments):

  • Debate/discussions of the major events viewed on the Eyes on the Prize video-documentaries;
  • Two Essay Papers (analyzing the rhetorical strategies and the selected events, individuals or organizations associated with the Civil Rights Movement)

For a copy of the syllabus and the above assignments, see

NOTE from Dr. Comeaux

  • Former students have expressed appreciation for learning more about this important part of our identity as U.S citizens and the opportunity to examine this aspect of American culture and the power struggles for rights of citizenship.
Don't miss out on this unique learning opportunity!

Spring 2013 Course Offerings

Fall 2012 Course Offerings

Spring 2012 Course Offerings

Fall 2011 Course Offerings