Prior Years

View current Summer Doctoral Seminar information here.


Past Summer Doctoral Seminars

2020 Summer Doctoral Seminar, June 6-9
Guest Scholar Dr. Timothy L. Sellnow


tim-sellnowThe Department of Communication hosted its annual Summer Doctoral Seminar June 5-9, 2020. This year's seminar was held fully online and examined a timely topic: Health, Risk and Crisis Communication. The guest scholar for the seminar was department alumnus Timothy L. Sellnow, Ph.D., professor of strategic communication at the University of Central Florida, who led a group of 18 doctoral students from 14 universities (including Wayne State) in an intensive exploration of theory related to health, risk and crisis communication.

Seminar participants shared that although they may have been initially disappointed at not having the opportunity to travel to Detroit and connect with others face-to-face at this year's event, they were very pleased with how the online format turned out.

Participants also expressed that with the online transition, this particular seminar provided the opportunity to interact with several guest speakers from outside their own department and institution and talk with them about research as well as receive academic career advice from them.

The seminar also included a free public lecture/webinar by the guest scholar on the topic of Chaos at the Intersection of Crisis and Health: Navigating the Paradox of Communicating Certainty in Uncertain Times. The webinar had over 150 attendees from 10 countries.

2019 Summer Doctoral Seminar, June 4-6
Guest Scholar Dr. Linda Steiner


Linda Steiner

With the changing media landscapes, feminist communication and media scholars are using a critical theoretical lens to examine a plethora of new problems, platforms, and questions. This seminar will focus on transgressive feminisms: We will discuss and analyze old and new representations in media (self-representations and media representations) and social media affordances, emphasizing opportunities for critiquing and resisting misogyny and backlash. The goal of the seminar is to take stock of the currents in feminist media and communications scholarship and produce written documents that underscore trends and issues on these aspects that will be productive for subsequent research and collaboration.

Linda Steiner (PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is Professor in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Her work uses feminist theories and ethics to address a broad range of interdisciplinary issues, including how and when gender matters in news and newsrooms; how feminists use media, both historically and in the contemporary moment; war reporting; media ethics; and citizen journalism. She has published three books, co-edited five books (with a sixth forthcoming), and has authored dozens of refereed articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, book reviews, reports, and opinion pieces. She was recognized in 2011 with the James Carey Award for her co-edited book Key Concepts in Critical-Cultural Studies (2010). Her pioneering work has advanced feminist scholarship through the associations and journals. She was among the founders of the Feminist Scholarship Interest Group of the International Communication Association (ICA) and has remained a stalwart of its successor, the Feminist Scholarship Division, winning its Teresa Award for feminist research in 2018.

2018 Summer Doctoral Seminar, June 27-29
Guest Scholar Dr. Bonnie Dow


Bonnie Dow

After more than four decades of feminist scholarship in Communication, feminist rhetorical studies has produced a variety of controlling narratives about the roles that rhetorical discourses play and have played in feminist movements, feminist progress, and feminist activism writ large in the U.S. As we close in on 50 years of feminist research, feminist scholars can usefully ask what these narratives are, how they constrain our work, and if they warrant re-thinking in ways that might uncover marginalized voices, overlooked texts, silenced subjectivities, neglected theoretical tools, and untold stories of various kinds. The goal of this seminar is to complicate the received wisdom of our scholarly narratives by inviting consideration and reflection on what has been left out of the stories we tell about feminism and rhetorical action in its various forms

Bonnie Dow (PhD, University of Minnesota) is Dean of Humanities for the College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Communication Studies, and Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include the rhetoric and representation of the first and second waves of feminism in the United States. She is the author of Watching Women's Liberation, 1970: Feminism's Pivotal Year on the Network News (University of Illinois Press, 2014) andPrime-Time Feminism: Television, Media Culture, and the Women's Movement Since 1970 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996). She is co-editor (with Julia T. Wood) of The Sage Handbook of Gender and Communication (2006) and a co-editor of The Aunt Lute Anthology of U.S. Women Writers, Volume One: 17th-19th Centuries (Aunt Lute Books, 2004).

2017 Summer Doctoral Seminar, June 5-7
Guest Scholar Dr. Patrice Buzzanell


Patrice Buzzanell

The ways in which individuals and communities communicatively constitute resilience has garnered increasing attention from scholars and practitioners seeking to help themselves and others construct a "new normal" after disaster and loss. No longer reserved for major events and trauma, resilience has come to be understood as an ongoing process, cultivated by and with others for difficulties on different levels. This seminar examines how communication scholarship offers a distinctive vantage point for understanding resilience. In organizing resilience in and for career, both reintegration and transformation are to be considered—in work-life balance, professional and occupational challenges, risk, safety, resilience labor, difference, policy, and network ties. Through resilience, we can design communicative spaces, processes, and possibilities for more socially just and sustainable systems of career, work, and personal life.

Patrice M. Buzzanell (PhD, Purdue University) is a Distinguished Professor of Communication in the Brian Lamb School of Communication, and in the School of Engineering Education by courtesy at Purdue University. She serves as Chair and Director of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence. Her scholarly interests center on career, praxis, and resilience. Editor or coeditor of four books, she has authored more than 200 articles and chapters, plus encyclopedia entries and proceedings in engineering education and other disciplines. She currently serves on 16 editorial boards, and has edited Management Communication Quarterly and other journals as associate or special issues editor. A Fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA), she has served as President of the ICA, the Council of Communication Associations (CCA), and the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender (OSCLG). Most recently, she was awarded the B. Aubrey Fisher Mentorship Award from ICA and recognized as a Distinguished Scholar by the National Communication Association (NCA). Starting Fall 2017, she will assume the role of Chair for the Department of Communication, at the University of South Florida.

2016 Summer Doctoral Seminar, June 13-16
Guest Scholar Dr. Donald Shaw


Donald Shaw

Modern media audiences are very active in the way they are using traditional and social media. In fact, they are melding the agendas from these two types of media to connect with community that is personally satisfying. So there is a loss in vertical power of traditional media but a gain in personal satisfaction. How will social systems adjust to all this?

Donald Shaw (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is a writer and communication scholar who has been long associated with agenda-setting research. With Maxwell McCombs of the University of Texas at Austin and David Weaver of Indiana University, he is attempting to expand agenda-setting research into a comprehensive behavioral theory connecting media and society. He is a Kenan professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

2015 Summer Doctoral Seminar, June 2-5
Guest Scholar Dr. Joseph Walther


Joseph Walther

The seminar focuses on a rigorous explication of core theories of computer mediated communication and their empirical investigations. The seminar explores extensions of the theories through application to contemporary social media, how research can or cannot extend the theories or identify their boundaries, and how to explain social interaction in these most modern applications. The seminar culminates in participants' presentation of tentative research proposals, and feedback from attendees, suggesting the application or modification of one or two theories to a form of social media interaction, in such a way that could lead to a dissertation or early career study.

Joseph Walther (Ph.D., University of Arizona) is the Wee Kim Wee Professor in the Division of Communication Research at Nanyang Technological University. He has developed several original theories on the interpersonal aspects of computer-mediated communication, with applications in personal relations, online groups, and educational activities. His research examines how people form impressions and get to know one another online, and how they relate to one another personally and/or professionally as they work and/or socialize. The work has been cited frequently across a range of disciplines. Extensions of this work have been made into online dating, deception, collaboration and knowledge-sharing, social network sites, and other social media.

2014 Summer Doctoral Seminar, June 9-11
Guest Scholar Dr. Gerald M. Kosicki


Gerald Kosicki

Framing news and public opinion has become a complex enterprise involving strategic communicators, politicians, journalists, and public opinion analysts. Framing is often studied in the context of political campaigns, but less well understood is the matter of issue construction between elections. This seminar focuses on understanding contemporary issue framing using sociological and social psychological perspectives in non-election contexts. Case studies will examine the fundamental nature and process of framing and issue construction to gain a better understanding how real-world public opinion issues are created and communicated. Of particular interest are the efforts, roles, and impacts of social-movement organizations, traditional media, and Internet-based forms of communication in those processes.

Gerald M. Kosicki (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Associate Professor in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University. His paper on framing with Dr. Zhongdang Pan, Framing Analysis: An Approach to News Discourse , established framing research as an important topic in communication research. Most of his scholarly work has focused on issue framing, agenda setting, political communication, and media effects.

2013 Summer Doctoral Seminar, June 16-19
Guest Scholar Dr. Dana L Cloud


Dana Cloud

Communication scholars interested in social change have long suspected emotional appeals, including the mobilization of embodied action, as manipulative and conservative in their import. Such scholars have looked to the critical rationality characteristic of public sphere theory as a model for genuinely democratic deliberation. However, a rationalist paradigm can be disabling to scholars and advocates of social change. While the nationalist-populist rhetorics of the right wing draw upon affective impulses to collectivity and appeal generously to emotion, the Left has sometimes failed to reach "the whole person" in the process of building and motivating movements. Having a strong argument is rarely enough to rally counter-hegemonic forces to undertake movement for change. At the same time, there are perils in uncritically valorizing affect and emotion in the formation of collective identity and will. Most obvious is the danger that groups will undertake projects that are contrary to their own interests, for example, when ordinary people identify with ruling elites and nationalist priorities rather than questioning blind investment in imperialist wars and the neoliberal imperatives of austerity and privatization. In addition, appeals to affect and emotion may privatize political issues and reduce the repertoire of responses to the therapeutic. This conundrum raises a number of questions that this doctoral seminar explores:

How do we define affect and emotion, and what are the stakes in making that distinction? What are the relevant literatures on affect, emotion, embodiment, the public sphere, and social movements that enable us to explore these questions? What are the relationships among affect, emotion, subjectivity, and collective identity? What is the role of embodiment in collective investment? How can critics (and activists) recognize an appeal operating in the interests of those mobilized under it as opposed to appeals that invest audiences to accept social stability? Can we model public spheres and/or modalities that account for affect and emotion in public life? What are the roles of specific rhetorical strategies, especially music, in literally "moving" people to action? What are the ethical and political implications of various kinds of rhetorical motivation and constitution of subjectivity and collective will? Is it possible to identify and employ anything like "reasonable emotion"?

Dana L. Cloud (Ph.D., University of Iowa) is an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Texas Austin. The winner of several awards in rhetoric and communication studies, she has published two books (Control and Consolation in American Culture and Politics: Rhetorics of Therapy, Sage, 1998 and We ARE the Union: Democratic Unionism and Dissent at Boeing, University of Illinois, 2011 ) and numerous essays in national communication journals and anthologies. Presently she is researching and writing about the problem of truth claims in political discourse and the limits of fact-checking and the rhetoric of affect and emotion in social movements. She is also a longtime socialist and activist in movements for workers', LGBT, and women's rights; and against racism, imperialism, and war.

2012 Summer Doctoral Seminar, May 30-June 2
Guest Scholar Dr. John Gastil


John Gastil

Talking about elections increasingly means exchanging anecdotes, recalling potent slogans, comparing outsized personalities, and dissecting carefully crafted campaign strategies. In contrast, weighing arguments, scrutinizing facts, and judging value conflicts occurs less frequently in the public sphere. This seminar focuses on revitalizing deliberative discourse in the American electoral process to generate more substantive adversarial clash and, on occasion, encourage a sense of common purpose. We will examine how candidates campaign and voters vote in local, state, and federal elections, and we will evaluate reforms - real and theoretical - that could make for a more constructive and democratic electoral process in the United States.

John Gastil (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Professor and Head of the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University. He published Democracy in Small Groups (New Society Publishers) in 1993 and has since continued to explore democracy and deliberation at different levels of analysis in By Popular Demand: Revitalizing Representative Democracy through Deliberative Elections (University of California, 2000), The Deliberative Democracy Handbook: Strategies for Effective Civic Engagement in the Twenty-First Century (co-edited with Peter Levine, Jossey-Bass, 2005), and Political Communication and Deliberation (Sage, 2008). He also returned to the study of group behavior in The Group in Society (Sage, 2009) and co-authored The Jury and Democracy: How Jury Deliberation Promotes Civic Engagement and Political Participation (Oxford, 2010). The National Science Foundation has supported numerous large-scale research programs in which he has served as a principal investigator. He has also managed campaigns for public office in California and New Mexico.

2011 Summer Doctoral Seminar, June 12-15
Guest Scholar Dr. John Louis Lucaites


John Lucaites

Studies in visual rhetoric have rapidly expanded into a significant portion of rhetorical, critical, and cultural studies. The critique of visual texts - films, photographs, tattoos, bodies - has become a new focus for rhetorical analysis. This seminar examined various forms and theories of visual rhetoric in the context of public culture, ideology, and civic participation. How does "seeing" reflect and promote rhetorical practice and systems? How do images and iconic photographs teach ways to "see" and "be seen" as citizens in our liberal-democratic public culture? How do we negotiate power through performance of display, observation, and vision?

John Louis Lucaites is the Professor of Rhetoric and Public Culture in the Department of Communication and Culture and Adjunct Professor of American Studies, Cultural Studies, and the Hutton Honors College at Indiana University. His books include No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Liberal Democracy and Public Culture, a study co-authored with Robert Hariman of Northwestern University, and Crafting Equality, co-authored by Celeste Michelle Condit of the University of Georgia. He has authored over forty journal articles and book chapters and, along with Robert Hariman, he hosts the blog, which has achieved an international audience with nearly 2,000 viewers each day. He has been awarded NCA's Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award, the Winans-Wichelns Award, and the Diamond Anniversary Book Award. He has also won NCA's Golden Anniversary Monograph Award three separate times. He is also the recipient of the AEJMC Tau Kappa Alpha, Frank Luther Mott Research Award for the best book on journalism and mass communication.

2010 Summer Doctoral Seminar, June 9-13
Guest Scholar Dr. Lee Wilkins


Lee Wilkins

People need to communicate when a disaster strikes, whether it is a hurricane, an airline crash, or an oil spill. Families talk to families, officials talk to voters and to each other, experts talk to citizens, and the media talk to everyone. But what affects how those needs are met — how do officials and publics know what they need, and how do the media know whether they are leading or misleading? This seminar offers an intensive look at how practice informs theory — and how theory helps build better practice — in a communication field of immense public, scholarly, and professional concern.

Lillian C. (Lee) Wilkins (PhD, University of Oregon) is a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, with a joint appointment in the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs. She is author or co-author of a number of books on science, risk, and disaster communication as well as scholarly and practice-oriented volumes on media ethics, a field in which she also edits a leading journal, the Journal of Mass Media Ethics. She is a consultant for federal and nongovernmental agencies on risk communication issues and developed a series of workshops for journalists on covering disasters and terrorism. A former newspaper reporter and editor herself, she is frequently interviewed on risk communication and ethics issues by regional and national news media outlets. She also coordinates the Preparing Future Faculty program for the University of Missouri graduate school.

2009 Summer Doctoral Seminar, June 10-13
Guest Scholar Dr. Amy Villarejo


Amy Villarejo

Twenty-five years have passed since critic B. Ruby Rich designated a set of exciting and edgy films as "the new queer cinema." Tom Kalin's Swoon, Jennie Livingston's Paris is Burning, Todd Haynes's Poison, and other films of the early 1990s challenged the political and aesthetic rules of the filmmaking game, and provoked new forms of narrative and new image-repertoires for queer culture. In the interval, we have seen the growth of multi-channel platforms and new media, and the corporatization and dispersion of public media spheres. How do we confront the world of Logo, The L Word, and Project Runway alongside transnational independent productions such as Nina's Heavenly Delights and Out in India? What modes of analysis are appropriate to changing social conditions of media practice? This seminar pursues these broad questions through readings and screenings devoted to this quarter century of queer media culture.

Amy Villarejo (PhD, University of Pittsburgh) is a professor at Cornell University where she has a joint appointment in the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and the Department of Theatre, Film, and Dance (of which she is currently chair). She is the author of Lesbian Rule: Cultural Criticism and the Value of Desire (Duke University Press, 2003), which won the prestigious Katherine Singer Kovacs Award for Best Book from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in 2005. She is also author, co-author, or co-editor of a number of other books, including Queen Christina (with Marcia Landy, BFI, 1995), Keyframes (with Matthew Tinkcom, Routledge, 2001), and Film Studies: The Basics (Routledge, 2007). At present, she is completing a book on queer television titled Ethereal Queer (Duke University Press). Her books and essays address documentary cinema, social activist art, digital media, queer and feminist theory, experimental form, and the critique of globalization.

2009 Seminar Participants
seminar participants

Front row: Katie Brewer Ball (New York University), Chris Gullen (Wayne State), Debbie James Smith (Wayne State), Kareem Khubchandani (Northwestern), Amy Barber (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Elizabeth Venell (Emory University), Jimmy Draper (University of Michigan-Ann Arbor), Andy Scahill (University of Texas-Austin), Jane Fader (Wayne State).
Back row: Damon Young (University of California-Berkeley), John Wolf (Syracuse University), Erika Thomas (Wayne State), Laura Dixon (University of Texas-Austin), Patrick Santoro (Southern Illinois University-Carbondale), Amy Villarejo (Guest Scholar, Cornell University), Jim Cherney (Wayne State), Kiana Green (University of Southern California), Julia HImberg (University of Southern California), Joe Paszek (Wayne State), Hollis Griffin (Northwestern University).

2008 Summer Doctoral Seminar, May 28-June 1
Guest Scholar Dr. Larry Frey


Larry Frey

Lawrence R. (Larry) Frey (PhD, University of Kansas) is a professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder. His research interests are in group interaction, applied communication (communication and social justice, communication and community studies, and health communication), and communication research methods (quantitative and qualitative). His research seeks to understand how participation (especially by those who are under-resourced and marginalized) in collective communicative practices makes a difference in people's individual, relational, and collective lives. He is the author/editor of 14 books, 3 special journal issues, and more than 60 published book chapters and journal articles. He is the recipient of 12 scholarship awards, including the 2000 Gerald M. Phillips Award for Distinguished Applied Communication Scholarship from the National Communication Association (NCA); the 2004, 2003, and 2000 Ernest Bormann Research Award from NCA's Group Communication Division for, respectively, his edited texts Group Communication in Context: Studies of Bona Fide Groups, New Directions in Group Communication and The Handbook of Group Communication: Theory and Research. Most recently he edited the Handbook of Applied Communication Research.

Seminar participants took part in an exciting tour of Detroit that focused on community activism and social change projects. A podcast featuring some reflections from the tour, as well as thoughts on the seminar as a whole is available for listening.

tour participants

2007 Summer Doctoral Seminar, May 14-18
Guest Scholar Dr. Howard Giles


Howard Giles

Howard Giles (PhD, University of Bristol) is a professor at the University of California-Santa Barbara. His research interests revolve around the study of intergroup communication in different domains, including interethnic, gay-straight, between-gender, and physically challenged-ablebodied people. He is also interested in intergenerational communication and lifespan aging, especially from a cross-cultural perspective, as well as law enforcement-civilian interactions. The seminar focuses on his new theories on inter-group communication as developed in his recent edited volume Intergroup Communication: Multiple Perspectives (with Jake Harwood, 2005, Peter Lang).

2006 Summer Doctoral Seminar, May 17-21
Guest Scholars Dr. Thomas McCain and Dr. Robert Avery


Thomas McCain (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Robert Avery (PhD, Pennsylvania State University) led the inaugural Department of Communication Summer Doctoral Seminar. The research interests of both scholars are in media studies. The seminar focuses on current U.S. and worldwide media regulatory policies and explores a new understanding and definition of the public interest in the continued growth of the Information Age.

2006 seminar participants
From left, back row: Janet Kwami (Oregon), Tariq Elseewi (Texas), Neil Butt (Wayne State), Anup Kumar (Iowa), Dr. Robert Avery (Utah), Dr. Thomas McCain (Ohio State), Chris McKinley (Arizona), John Wirth (Minnesota), Allison Perlman (Texas), John Arnold (WSU).
Front row: Jessica McCabe (Wayne State), Anna Maria Flores (Wayne State), Mikaela Marlow (UC-Santa Barbara), Inkyu Kang (Wisconsin).
Not pictured: Nick Bowman (Michigan State), Serena Carpenter (Michigan State), Eun-a Park (Penn State)

PowerPoint presentations created by Dr. Thomas McCain:
. Communication Infrastructures
. Perspectives for Understanding Communication Media and the Public Interest
. Communication and the Future
. Teaching Our Way to a New Way of Thinking
. Media Literacy