Denise M. Bostdorff

Denise Bostdorff

Professor - Communication [Department Chair]

Office: Wishart 103 / Lilly
Phone: 330-263-2030


  • B.S., Bowling Green State University 1982
  • M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 1983
  • Ph.D., Purdue University 1987

Courses Taught

  • IDPT 101: First Year Seminar
  • IDPT 390: Leadership and Liberal Learning
  • COMM 152: Public Speaking
  • COMM 200-04 (Writing Intensive): Communication, Collective Memory, & Public Forgetting
  • COMM 200-06: Environmental Communication
  • COMM 250: Principles of Rhetoric
  • COMM 252: Argumentation
  • COMM 254: Political Rhetoric
  • COMM 352: Rhetorical Criticism
  • COMM 401: Junior Independent Study
  • COMM 451: Senior Independent Study
  • COMM 452: Senior Independent Study


Dr. Bostdorff is the author of two books: The Presidency and the Rhetoric of Foreign Crisis (University of South Carolina Press, 1994) and Proclaiming the Truman Doctrine: The Cold War Call to Arms (Texas A&M University Press, 2008), which won the Bruce E. Gronbeck Award for Political Communication Research in 2010.

Dr. Bostdorff has published extensively in outlets such as Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Voices of Democracy, and Presidential Studies Quarterly. Her work also has appeared in edited volumes like Rhetoric and Democracy: Pedagogical and Political Practices (2008), The Prospect of Presidential Rhetoric (2008), and The Encyclopedia of Political Science (2010).

Representative Publications

Bostdorff, Denise M., and Daniel J. O’Rourke.  “Religion, Sport, and the Return of the Prodigal Son:  The Post-Secular Rhetoric of LeBron James’s 2014 ‘I’m Coming Home’ Open Letter.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs, 2017, in-press.

Bostdorff, Denise M., and Shawna H. Ferris. "John F. Kennedy at American University: The Rhetoric of the Possible, Epideictic Progression, and the Commencement of Peace." The Quarterly Journal of Speech 100.4 (2014): 407-441. (Lead article).

Bostdorff, Denise M. "Epideictic Rhetoric in the Service of War: George W. Bush on Iraq and the 60th Anniversary of the Victory Over Japan." Communication Monographs 78 (2011): 296-323.

Bostdorff, Denise M. "Iraq as a Representative Anecdote for Leadership: Barack Obama's Address on the Fifth Anniversary of the Iraq War." Making the Case: Advocacy and Judgment in Public Argument. Ed. Kathryn M. Olson, Benjamin Ponder, Michael William Pfau, and Kirt Wilson. Lansing: Michigan State UP, 2012. 161-189.

Bostdorff, Denise M. "Judgment, Experience, and Leadership: Candidate Debates on the Iraq War in the 2008 Presidential Primaries." Rhetoric & Public Affairs 12 (Summer 2009): 223-278.

Bostdorff, Denise M., Chair, Martin Carcasson, James M. Farrell, Robert L. Ivie, Amos Kiewe, and Kathleen B. Smith.  “Report of the National Task Force on Presidential Rhetoric in Times of Crisis.” The Prospect of Presidential Rhetoric. Ed. James Arnt Aune and Martin J. Medhurst. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2008. 355-378.

Bostdorff, Denise M. “Rhetorical Ambivalence:  Bush and Clinton Address the Crisis of Haitian Refugees.” Who Belongs in America?: Presidential Rhetoric and the Politics of Immigration.  Ed. Vanessa B. Beasley. College Station: Texas A&M UP, 2006. 206-246.

Bostdorff, Denise M., and Steven R. Goldzwig. "History, Collective Memory, and the Appropriation of Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Reagan Rhetorical Legacy." Presidential Studies Quarterly 35 (2005): 661-690.

Bostdorff, Denise M. “The Internet Rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan: A Case Study in Web Site Community Building Run Amok.” Communication Studies 55 (Summer 2004): 316-337.

Bostdorff, Denise M. “George W. Bush’s Post-September 11 Rhetoric of Covenant Renewal: Upholding the Faith of the Greatest Generation.” The Quarterly Journal of Speech 89 (Nov. 2003): 293-319.

Research Interests

Political discourse; rhetoric of war and peace; ceremonial speeches; presidential rhetoric; crisis rhetoric

Awards and Professional Memberships

  • Advisor of "Chapter of the Year" for College Democrats of Ohio. Awarded to The College of Wooster chapter for its voter registration, education, and get-out-the-vote efforts in the 2012 election. 2013.
  • Bruce E. Gronbeck Award for Political Communication Research. 2010.
  • Chair, National Task Force on Presidential Rhetoric in Times of Crisis. 2003-2004.
  • National Speakers Association's Jeanne Robertson Outstanding Communication Professor Award. 2000.
  • Selected as Inaugural Partner in Communicating Common Ground (CCG) Service Learning Program Sponsored by the National Communication Association, the American Association for Higher Education, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Campus Compact. 2000.
  • Advisor of "Chapter of the Year" for Lambda Pi Eta, the national communication honor society. Awarded to The College of Wooster's Lambda Chapter. National Communication Association. 1997.
  • W. Charles Redding Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Purdue University. 1994.
  • School of Liberal Arts Departmental Award for Educational Excellence. Purdue University. 1994.
  • Winner of B. Aubrey Fisher Outstanding Article Award. 1992.
  • Member, National Communication Association
  • Center for the Study of the Presidency
  • Rhetoric Society of America