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Sprain, Leah Associate Professor


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research overview

  • Dr. Sprain's research program focuses on democratic engagement, studying how specific communication practices facilitate and inhibit democratic action. Because outreach and praxis are crucial to democratic engagement, much of her research is collaborative, funded, and focused on the theory–practice interface. Informed by work as a deliberative practitioner with the Colorado State University (CSU) Center for Public Deliberation (CPD), her research bridges conventional divisions among normative theory, empirical research, and practice. By working at the theory–practice interface, Dr. Sprain's research informs and improves democratic engagement on pressing social issues, such as climate change, water conflict, and community resilience.


  • deliberation, civic engagement, culture and communication, ethnography of communication, environmental communication, small group communication, social movement rhetoric, discourse analysis


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