Wayne State University

Prior Years

Highlights from Past Doctoral Seminars

 View current seminar information here

June 13-16, 2016 with distinguished guest scholar Dr. Donald Shaw

Get the event flier here.

Agendamelding:  How we use traditional and social media to connect community 

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 at Madison) is a writer and communication scholar, and is 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. Shaw is Kenan professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


June 2-5, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan 
with distinguished guest scholar Dr. Joseph Walther

Computer Mediated Communication:
Technological Evolution and Theoretical Adaptation

Wayne State's annual Summer Doctoral Seminar, June 2-5, 2015, focuses on a rigorous explication of core theories of CMC 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


Joseph Walther (Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1990) 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.


June 9-11, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan 
with distinguished guest scholar Dr. Gerald M. 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 focused on understanding contemporary issue framing using sociological and social psychological perspectives in non-election contexts.

Gerald KosickiSeveral case studies were introduced and discussed to examine the fundamental nature and process of framing and issue construction. Participants gained 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, 1987) 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, published in Political Communication in 1993, 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, 2013 with distinguished guest scholar Dr. Dana L 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 we could explore in this doctoral seminar:

1) How do we define affect and emotion, and what are the stakes in making that distinction?

2) What are the relevant literatures on affect, emotion, embodiment, the public sphere, and social movements that enable us to explore these questions?

3) What are the relationships among affect, emotion, subjectivity, and collective identity?

4) What is the role of embodiment in collective investment?

5) 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?

6) Can we model public spheres and/or modalities that account for affect and emotion in public life?

7) What are the roles of specific rhetorical strategies, especially music, in literally "moving" people to action?

8) What are the ethical and political implications of various kinds of rhetorical motivation and constitution of subjectivity and collective will?

9) Is it possible to identify and employ anything like "reasonable emotion"?

Dana CloudDana L.  Cloud (Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1992) 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; We ARE the Union: Democratic Unionism and Dissent at Boeing, University of Illinois, 2011) and numerous essays in national communication journals and anthologies. (For a list and access to these works, go to http://commstudies.utexas.edu/faculty/dana-l-cloud and click on the "Publications" tab.) 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. Professor Cloud 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, 2012 with distinguished guest scholar Dr. 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


John Gastil (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is Professor and Head in 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 Gastil has served as a principal investigator. He has also managed campaigns for public office in California and New Mexico.



2011 Summer Doctoral Seminar at Wayne State University
June 12 - 15, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan with distinguished guest scholar Dr. John Louis 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 LucaitesJohn 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 www.nocaptionneeded.com, 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. For more information on Dr. Lucaites visit his university home page.


2010 Summer Doctoral Seminar

June 9 - 13, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan with distinguished guest scholar Dr. Lee Wilkins.


Lee Wilkins

People need to communicate when a disaster strikes, whether it's 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, 1982) 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. Dr. Wilkins 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 Missouri graduate school.


2009 Summer Doctoral Seminar
June 10 - 13, 2009 with renowned guest scholar Dr. 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' 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 LogoThe L Word, and Project Runway alongside transnational independent productions such as Nina's Heavenly Delights or Out in India?  What modes of analysis are appropriate to changing social conditions of media practice?  This seminar pursued these broad questions through readings and screenings devoted to this quarter century of queer media culture. 

Amy VillarejoDr. Amy Villarejo, Cornell University, led the 2009 Summer Doctoral Seminar.  Villarejo has a joint appointment in the Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program and the Department of Theatre, Film & Dance (of which she is currently chair) at Cornell.  She is 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 author, co-author, or co-editor of a number of other books, from Queen Christina (with Marcia Landy, BFI, 1995) to Keyframes (with Matthew Tinkcom, Routledge, 2001), and Film Studies: The Basics (Routledge, 2007).  At present, she is completing a book on queer television entitled Ethereal Queer for 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 (visiting 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).

Student-produced Video Promo



2008 Summer Doctoral Seminar
May 28 - June 1, 2008

Engaged Communication Research
Larry Freyevent flyerDr. Larry Frey, University of Colorado-Boulder, led the 2008 Summer Doctoral Seminar on Engaged Communication Research.  Frey holds research interests 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.  His 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 (2nd ed.), 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, 2007

"Intergroup Communication: Its Ubiquity and Dynamics"
  with Professor Howard Giles

Howard GilesThe Department of Communication at Wayne State University held their second annual Summer Doctoral Seminar in May 2007.  This year's seminar leader was Howard Giles (Ph.D.) from the University of California-Santa Barbara, who is one of the most prolific and accomplished communication researchers in the World.  Dr. Giles designed the Summer Doctoral Seminar around his new theories on inter-group communication (see Harwood & Giles (Eds.) (2005), "Intergroup Communication: Multiple Perspectives") as a way to expose this year's seminar participants to new and innovative ideas in the field.  This year's seminar participants were competitively selected and came from a variety of Ph.D. programs across the USA, including Rutgers, Cornell, University of Nebraska, University of Missouri, and, of course, Wayne State.  The Summer Doctoral Seminar was designed not only to expose the Ph.D. students to new ideas in the field of communication but also to allow them to develop professional friendships and working relationships that can be of benefit for the life of their career.  Thus, in addition to a rigorous four-day schedule of in-class meetings, participants were also able to socialize outside of the seminar through planned activities to become familiar with each other and to experience the vast array of cultural and social events that define the Wayne State and metro Detroit experience. 

2006 Summer Doctoral Seminar
May 17 - 21, 2006

From May 17 to May 21, 2006, a group of scholars from across the U.S. gathered in Detroit to commence the inaugural Wayne State University Doctoral Summer Seminar on Digital Media Policy. The scholars, with backgrounds in several different disciplines, including American Studies, Communication, and Journalism among others, brought their unique experiences with media policy and generated shared knowledge and understanding of the impact of the "new" media on current U.S. and worldwide media regulatory policies under the guidance of Dr. Thomas McCain and Dr. Robert Avery, two distinguished communication scholars known for their solid research and academic backgrounds. From the conference, a new understanding and definition of the public interest was found, and many talking points were generated as paramount to the continued growth and success of the Information Age. It is the hope of the members of this seminar that their ideas be considered and shared and expanded.
2006 seminar participants

*Members pictured above from left, back row:  Janet Kwami (Oregon), Tariq Elseewi (Texas), Neil Butt (WSU), Anup Kumar (Iowa), Dr. Robert Avery (Utah),  Dr. Thom McCain (Ohio State), Chris McKinley (Arizona), John Wirth (Minnesota), Allison Perlman (Texas), John Arnold (WSU).  front row: Jessica McCabe (WSU), Anna Maria Flores (WSU), Mikaela Marlow (UC - Santa Barbara), Inkyu Kang (Wisconsin)* Not pictured: Nick Bowman (Michigan State University), Serena Carpenter (Michigan State University), Eun-a Park (Pennsylvania State University)

Power Point Presentations created by Professor Thom McCain.
1.  Communication Infrastructures
2.  Perspectives for Understanding Communication Media and the Public Interest
3.  Communication and the Future
4.  Teaching Our Way to a New Way of Thinking
5.  Media Literacy