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Publications in VIVO

Sprain, Leah Associate Professor


Research Areas research areas


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


selected publications


courses taught

  • COMM 2400 - Discourse, Culture and Identities
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    Examines how aspects of talk (e.g., turn-taking, speech acts, narratives, dialect, and stance indicators) link with identities (e.g., ethnic and racial, age, gender, work-related, and personal). Considers how communication is central to constructing who people are and examines social controversies related to talk and identities.
  • COMM 3000 - Issues in Communication
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Explores select issues in communication. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours on different issues. Recommended prerequisites: COMM 1210 and COMM 1600.
  • COMM 6200 - Seminar: Selected Topics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019
    Facilitates understanding of current and past theory and research on a selected topic in communication and the ability to develop new theory and research on that topic. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours on different topics.


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