A Communication Studies Lens

What does it mean to look at the world through a communication lens? Or to ask questions and solve problems like a communication scholar?

We approach communication with a critical, cultural perspective through the interpretation, critique, and production of spoken, written, nonverbal, visual, and spatial communication across multiple media. We use humanistic, rhetorical methods to understand, explain, critique, and propose solutions to communication questions, practices, and problems. Our faculty and students are interested in questions such as:

  • How do longstanding modes of oral public address change and adapt in emergent social, cultural, political, and technological climates?
  • What role do stories (including myths and legends, historical narratives, personal memories, fictional tales, film and television narratives, fables and allegories, humorous anecdotes, and more) play in guiding meanings, power relationships, identities, values, and aesthetics?
  • How do shared public symbols and common public vocabulary contribute to social construction of meaning, power relationships, and identities? How can established and engrained public symbols and vocabulary be changed to benefit the common good?
  • How do particular channels and contexts enable and constrain human communication and civic participation?
  • How does the production, implementation, and assessment of public health education campaigns reflect systems of power and privilege, and in what ways can messages be adapted to better target those at risk for health inequities?
  • How does human communication relate to, interact with, and impact the non-human aspects of our world (i.e., physical environments, natural resources, animal and plant life)? How can understanding of these relationships be applied to sustainably benefit wellbeing for the human, non-human, and shared environmental spheres?
  • How do portable digital platforms, built around the convergence of content sharing, public communication, and interpersonal connection impact notions of publicity and privacy, service and commodity, self and other?

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