COMMUNICATIONS 201 Research Topics
How do politicians or other politically active public figures effectively communicate a message to an audience? Use a specific speech, debate, campaign, ad or other campaign material, real or fictitious, as an example. (If you choose this topic, you may NOT use Martin Luther King Jr., Winston Churchill, Barack Obama, or Adolf Hitler, and are strongly encouraged to choose a political or public figure from the last five years. Examples older than five years MUST be approved by your TA. Useful theories might include rhetorical theory, speech communities or dramatism.
Scandal (specific speech) (rhetoric)
Trump (Specific Speech) narrative theory (come talk to me about this one if you are thinking about Trump speech)
House of Cards (Specific Frank Underwood Speech) Rhetoric
How does communication work in romantic relationships? How are disagreements, tensions, and power inequalities negotiated in order to maintain successful relationships? Choose a particular example from a film or television show or other media representation. Useful theories might include dialectical theory, symbolic interactionism, or social exchange theory
Suits (Scottei and Harvey) Social Exchange Theory
Orange Is The New Black (Larry and Piper) (Relational Dialectical Theory)
How I Met your Mother (Ted and Robin) Relational dialectics
Mindhunters (specific couple) Social Exchange Theory
How does interpersonal communication work to foster social belonging (and, conversely, exclusion)? Choose a particular example from a film or television show or other media representation. Useful theories might include speech communities, symbolic interactionism or performance ethnography.
How do popular media handle depictions of race? Do popular media help combat racist stereotypes or perpetuate them? Choose a particular media example. Useful theories might include critical race theory, standpoint theory, or narrative theory.
Oprah Winfrey Network - Light Girls (2015)
The Wire (specific example/character of how it depicts race) Standpoint theory
Barry (2015 film)
How does mass communication work to marginalize some groups in society? Choose a specific group or community to analyze. Useful theories might include critical race, standpoint, queer or feminist theory.
Modern Family (Cam and Mitchell) Queer Theory or Standpoint theory
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Queer Theory)
How have developments in new media (including social networking media) changed human communication? You should choose either a specific medium (i.e. Twitter) or a particular kind communication (i.e. romantic, familial, professional, etc.) Useful theories might include technological determinism or dramaturgy.
Twitter & Political Engagement - Technological Determinism (Twitter shaping how we interact/discuss a specific political event)
Discord (program for gamers) and Technological Determinism or dramaturgy
Other topics: Zootopia (2014) Symbolic Interactionism