• COMN Studies Departmental Pictures

  • Welcome and Overview

  • Welcome to my website! 

    This website houses information about my teaching and research (follow the tabs at the top of this page). On this first page, you will find my most current biographical description (to the right), links to my Academic Profiles and my most recently updated CV (see below).

    Please be in touch elizabeth.suter@du.edu or 303-871-4492 if you are interested in discussing research or if you are interested in studying at the undergraduate or graduate level at the University of Denver. Please see my Biographical Description on the right for information about student research projects I am currently mentoring. The Department of Communication Studies offers a BA, MA, and PhD. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for visiting my pages!  

  • Academic Research Profiles

  • https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Elizabeth_Suter

    Elizabeth A. Suter University of Denver Research Gate


  • https://udenver.academia.edu/ElizabethSuter 

    Elizabeth A. Suter, University of Denver Academia

  • Curriculum Vitae

  • Curriculum Vitae

  • Communication Studies Pictures
  • Biographical Description

  • I am proud to have earned my undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Communication. My areas of focus included interpersonal and family communication, culture and communication, and discourse analysis. My graduate minor is in Women’s Studies. My master's thesis is a discourse analysis of the implications of parental discourse for children's developing sense of self-esteem. My doctoral thesis focused on the interrelationships among discourses of feminism and religiously-identified women's decisions regarding marital last name changing. My doctoral advisor was Dr. Andrea Press currently at the University of Virginia

    I continue to study discourses in and about identities, relationships and the family. Historically, I have focused on discourses of nationalism, racism, monomaternalism, biological normativity, feminism, and heteronormativity. I tend to study implications of these discourses for the subjectivity of families navigating racial, national, and sexuality differences. For instance, I have studied intersections of these discourse in the private lives of non-biological mothers (e.g., adoptive mothers, non-biological lesbian mothers); transracial, international adoptive families; lesbian co-mothers parenting in politically conservative states; and U.S. White, cisgender women.

    Theoretically, I identify as a critical social constructionist. The social constructionist identification signals that I study individual identity, relationships, and families as social constructions. I theorize private lives as politicized; I depart from the feminist assumption that the personal is political. Critical signals that I study individuals, relationships, and families as simultaneously public and private, as entities and institutions, and as impacted by and reflective of their larger socio-cultural discursive, material, and political contexts. 

    Recently I developed a heuristic, which I labeled Critical Interpersonal and Family Communication or CIFC to stimulate the emergent critical turn in interpersonal and family communication studies. At its heart, CIFC calls for centering issues of power and praxis in contemporary studies of relationships and families. I identified four shifts toward realizing a critical turn in the area, namely a turn toward: issues power; the public and private; use of research as means to critique, resist, and transform the status-quo towards social-justice ends; and researcher reflexivity.

    I am currently invested in the One-Child China Project. This project examines discourses of the One-Child Policy (1979-2016) and their material consequences for the subjectivity of Chinese-born children and the Chinese family. Consequences, for instance, that impact the human reproduction of Chinese mothers and the bodies of their children. I enter this project from my positionality as a White, U.S. adoptive mother of a Chinese-born child orphaned by the policy and adopted oversees. The project is three-pronged. The first stage of the project is in its final stages (propaganda analysis), which will allow for focused concentration on the second stage (interview-based) and third stage (community engaged research-based) in 2019 and 2020. I am open to mentoring students at the BA, MA, or PhD levels whose identities are directed impacted by the policy--be these Chinese-born children adopted overseas during the policy, Chinese-born children adopted domestically (informally or formally) during the policy, Chinese nationals born during the policy, birth mothers who relinquished children as a result of the policy, or Chinese nationals whose family members relinquished children as a result of the policy. 

    More broadly, I mentor undergraduate and graduate student work related to discourses in and about individual identities, relationships, and families. Many of the students I mentor depart from a critical orientation, centering issues of discourse, power, and subjectivity. Others depart from a more qualitative, interpretive perspective. I am open to mentoring students of either orientation or who seek to combine these perspectives in their research. I currently center my teaching around Family Communication, Critical Interpersonal and Family Communication, Research Methods, and Relational Dialectics Theory 2.0 (a critical theory focused around theorizing and studying the interpretation of the public in private relational lives).

    Recent publications that seek to articulate my current perspectives include articles in Communication TheoryCommunication Monographs, the Journal of Family Communication. Service to the discipline includes serving as the current past Chair of the Family Communication Division of the National Communication Association (NCA), and on the editorial boards of Communication Monographs, Women's Studies in Communication, Communication Quarterly, and the Southern Communication Journal, and the Journal of Family Communication, where I recently co-edited a special issue on "Critical Approaches to Family Communication Research and Praxis" with Sandra Faulkner of Bowling Green State University. Service to the University of Denver includes serving as the current Director of Graduate Teaching Instructors for the Department of Communication Studies. Community-engaged research and teaching partners include Chinese Children Adoption International and Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families. Additionally, I co-edited the 2018 edition of Engaging Theories of Family Communication published by Routledge with Drs. Dawn O. Braithwaite and Kory Floyd.

This portfolio last updated: 01-Dec-2018 1:44 PM