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Denise M. Bostdorff

Professor and Chair of Communication Studies, The College of Wooster

Denise M. Bostdorff is a rhetorical analyst who examines political language, particularly presidential rhetoric. She has published two books, one on presidential crisis rhetoric and one on Truman's speech and campaign promoting the Truman Doctrine, and over 30 scholarly articles or book chapters on topics ranging from Kennedy's American University Address to G.H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton's rhetoric on Haitian refugees, from Reagan's cooptation of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words to Obama's eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, from Nixon on Cambodia to G.W. Bush on 9/11 and the Iraq War, from the 2008 primary debates to Trump's use of anger in the 2016 campaign. She is particularly interested in presidential rhetoric related to ceremony, crisis, and/or war. Bostdorff's observations about political rhetoric have appeared in outlets such as the Chicago Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, NPR's Morning Edition, and Public Radio International's Future Tense.


  • –present
    Professor and Chair of Communication Studies , The College of Wooster


  • 1987 
    Purdue University, PhD in Communication


Bruce E. Gronbeck Political Communication Research Award