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

Political rhetoric; presidential rhetoric; ceremonial messages; political rhetoric related to issues of crisis, war and peace, and race.

Courses Taught

COMM 111: Intro to Communication Studies
COMM 152: Public Speaking
COMM 250: Rhetoric and Civic Engagement
COMM 251: Communication and Social Protest
COMM 252: Argumentation
COMM 254: Political Rhetoric
COMM 257 (Writing Intensive): Communication and Collective Memory
COMM 260: Environmental Communication
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 A Rhetorical History of the United States, Vol. 8: World War II and The Cold War (2018), 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 Steven R. Goldzwig. “Barack Obama’s Eulogy for the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, June 26, 2015: Grace as the Vehicle for Collective Salvation and Obama’s Agency on Civil Rights.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs. In-press. 63 ms. pp.

Bostdorff, Denise M. “Public Address Scholarship and the Effects of Rhetoric.” Special Issue on Rhetorical Criticism, published decennially. Western Journal of Communication. In-press. 27 ms. pp.

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, 21.1 (2018): 1-38. (Lead article).

Bostdorff, Denise M. “Dean Acheson’s May 1947 Delta Council Speech: Rhetorical Evolution from the Truman Doctrine to the Marshall Plan.” A Rhetorical History of the United States, Vol. 8: World War II and The Cold War. Ed. Martin J. Medhurst. East Lansing: Michigan State UP, 2018. 167-214.

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 CovenantRenewal: Upholding the Faith of the Greatest Generation.” The Quarterly Journal of Speech 89 (Nov. 2003): 293-319.


Research Honors

  • Bruce E. Gronbeck Award for Political Communication Research. 2010.
  • Chair, National Task Force on Presidential Rhetoric in Times of Crisis. 2003-2004.
  • Winner of B. Aubrey Fisher Outstanding Article Award. 1992.

Teaching and Mentoring Honors

    • Top Four Finalist for “Best College Advisor” EXPY Award, sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE), which recognizes outstanding work in experiential learning. 2019.
    • 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.
    • 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.