Daniel Brouwer, associate professor, investigates how individuals and groups draw attention to their political issues and make arguments about those issues through public communication. He looks at, for example, how the concerned citizen offers an impassioned plea at a town hall meeting, the U.S. Senator argues for the urgent need for a specific policy, and social movement participants march in unison toward their destination. Broadly, he examines how social and political inequalities shape different communication practices, how power is exerted or resisted through different types of communication, and how different means of public rhetoric might create better conditions for democratic life.
Professor Brouwer is particularly interested in how individuals and groups who perceive themselves as disadvantaged or alienated from public life create alternative forums and strategies for communication. Alternative forums can include underground magazines, online communities, or oppositional political organizations. Alternative strategies can include a shocking bodily display, purposeful silence, or interruptions of "business as usual."
Olga Idriss Davis
Olga Idriss Davis, a professor, is passionate about enhancing communication to improve the health and well-being of underserved populations. She helped establish a health coalition for Refugee women in Maricopa County and was appointed by Governor Napolitano to serve on the State Commission on Women’s and Children’s Health. In addition, Professor Davis is intricately involved in promoting health among the African American community in Arizona. She works with the Phoenix-based Coalition of Blacks Against Breast Cancer and has created a narrative play, The Journey: Living Cancer Out Loud, based on interviews of the experience of African American survivors and caregivers of breast cancer which has been performed in various community and hospital venues in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Raising awareness in Black barbershops, Professor Davis addresses knowledge of cardiovascular disease among African American men in Phoenix, Arizona.
Amira de la Garza
Amira de la Garza, associate professor, often wonders why you or someone you know just didn’t speak up when it seemed vitally important? That’s the everyday issue that drives her to study communication while spending time immersed in groups and settings where this is happening. She first started by asking why patients wouldn’t ask their doctors’ name in a clinic, as well as learning how doctors responded to their first patient who died. After spending a year in Mexico as a Fulbright Scholar, her experiences with the everyday talk and life around her led her to develop methods to integrate the arts, spirituality, and personal reflection into the study of culture. She works with many border-related projects and has had students from around the world travel with her to many places to learn the methods she teaches.
Professor de la Garza reports her research using creative writing, poetry, fiction, and has often shared her research through staged performances. She’s currently working on a novel and several collections of poetry, as well as leading a faculty research group on the topic of “mindful heresy,” which is something her interests have led her to write about.
Uttaran Dutta, assistant professor, studies creative ways to address development, health, and social disparity issues. His research focuses on sustainable development and social change in marginalized communities, analyzing the importance of culture, communication, design, and innovation in transforming the lives of people who are social, politically and economically poor. In all his work, local participants are the key forces in identifying and developing cost-effective solutions using local resources. For example, in one project, he is developing a computer application for illiterate people in rural India to access useful information regarding local weather, employment, education, and other basic services such as healthcare. In another project, he collaborated with local people to construct a mini-hospital, library-cum-museum, and a protection-wall to save sacred environmental resources in remote indigenous villages in eastern India.
Additionally, he researches the folk-culture and indigenous knowledge of the underserved to document and understand alternate ways of viewing the world.
Belle Edson, PhD. is the director of undergraduate studies and core courses for the school oversees the development of curriculum for undergraduates. She also supervises the graduate teaching associates and assistants and works with the professional advisors to make sure that the school’s undergraduate students are matriculating towards graduation.
Edson is the director of the summer study abroad program to London, Dublin, and Edinburgh and takes approximately thirty-five students to the British Isles and Ireland every summer.
John Genette, MA and ASU alum 2005, is a Civil Communication Research Fellow in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. Genette is president and a founding director of The Institute for Civil Dialogue, established in 2014 to foster civility in the public sphere. He created the unique Civil Dialogue® format as a graduate student in performance and rhetoric in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. He has facilitated Civil Dialogue events on social, political, and free speech issues in numerous venues throughout Arizona and the West since 2004. John has also been active with the Hugh Downs School as a performing artist. He has presented four original shows in The Empty Space and has appeared in numerous episodes of The Encyclopedia Show, AZ. John is also president of Black Mountain Communications Inc., a fundraising agency serving.
Benny LeMaster is a critical/cultural communication scholar. In particular, they identify as an intersectionality scholar and pedagogue who studies the performative, discursive, and material constitution of cultural difference as it manifests at both individual and systemic levels. With an intersectional focus on difference, they are interested in the performance of identity, non-normative modes of relationality, and mundane performances of self and/as culture. The methods that they most regularly utilize include both text-centered methods as well as performative and critical field methods such as autoethnography, critical and performance ethnography, critical rhetorical field methods, and arts-based approaches. The critical rhetorics that help shape their intersectional lens include: critical (mixed-)race, queer and queer of color, transfeminist, and critical disability/crip theories. Their teaching and service are co-constitutive of their research, and similarly, reflect critical/cultural interests and approaches. For instance, they created Trans Empowerment Groups (TEG) that meld feminist approaches to consciousness raising with a queer interrogation of normativity leading to a unique pedagogical space in which transgender and gender non-conforming students can explore their genders while envisioning and realizing a transformed culture.
Their pronouns are they/them/their
Jennifer Linde, MA, is a senior lecturer, artistic director, and director of online learning for the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. Linde has designed and taught performance studies courses relating to communication and creativity, oral interpretation of literature, performance of sexuality, performance theory, civil communication, and methods for adapting traditional scholarship to the stage. In her position as artistic director of the venue The Empty Space, Linde serves as an advisor, script consultant, and director to performances presented by faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students. She has participated in the design and development of Civil Dialogue, a format designed to foster civil communication when discussing controversial topics. Linde uses Civil Dialogue as a teaching tool in performance studies classes and has facilitated Civil Dialogue events.
Linda Costigan Lederman
Linda Costigan Lederman is the director of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and a professor of health communication. She studies the role of communication in college drinking, and has designed drinking prevention interactive simulations, including Imagine That, RU Sure and Let’s Talk About It, which have helped students at more than 435 colleges and universities examine their own drinking-related decisions.
Among her many books, she is the author of Changing the Culture of College Drinking. Her most recent work on alcohol use explores the role of communication in alcoholism and recovery. Professor Lederman is currently working on her first book of creative non-fiction, Beyond the Bottle: Women and Men Who Thought They Couldn’t Stop Drinking, the story of the recovery experiences of more than a dozen women and men in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Clark Olson, Ph.D., is an academic professional who studies rhetorical irony and political widow rhetoric and has co-taught a graduate methods module on facilitating Civil Dialogue. He has participated in the design and development of Civil Dialogue, a format designed to foster civil communication when discussing controversial topics. In addition to facilitating Civil Dialogue events in public venues, he has introduced Civil Dialogue as an alternative to traditional debate in his argumentation classes at ASU. He is also the former director of the ASU Forensics Team (speech and debate).
Sarah Tracy, a professor, studies stressful workplace issues such as burnout, work-life balance, faking emotions, and workplace bullying, as well as positive types of communication such as compassion, engagement, and generosity. By hanging out in the backstage areas of organizations and talking to employees, she has provided insight on correctional officers, cruise ship activity directors, 911-call takers, and medical staff. She works with a vibrant group of professors, graduate students, and community members as co-director of The Transformation Project, examining new possibilities related to collaboration, health, and work-life wellness. She is the author of two books (on organizational change and another on research methods) and more than 60 published essays. Her favorite courses to teach include “Communication and The Art of Happiness,” “Emotion and Organizations," "Being a Leader" and "Advanced Qualitative Research Methods." ProfessorTracy aims to develop peoples’ 'on the court' practice in their work, scholarship, and life—where they not only learn 'about' but also learn 'to be.'