COMM 2400 Discourse, Culture, and Identities

Instructor information

Name: Jo Marras Tate

Email: Joanne.MarrasTate@Colorado.EDU

Virtual Office Hours: by email and appointment


Please reach out with questions to Dr. Christy Maurer (, the Communication Department’s Director of Online Programs.

About the Course

This course examines how aspects of talk (e.g., turn-taking, speech acts, narratives, dialect, and stand indicators) link with identities (e.g., ethnic and racial, age, gender, work-related, and persona). Considers how communication is central to constructing who people are and examines social controversies related to talk and identities.

This class will develop your skills in analyzing communication—increasing your ability to notice, name, and explain what goes on as people talk to and about each other. Based on these skills, we will develop a deeper understanding of how communication can go awry and why, more often than we would like, communicative exchanges can involve tension or conflict. Finally, we will explore controversial issues that involve how language, talk, or interactive practices do or should link to diverse identities, and you will be encouraged to develop informed and thoughtful positions about how to navigate these controversies.

Prerequisites: None

General Education Curriculum:

GT Pathways: GT-SS3 -Soc Behav Sci:Hmn Behav, Cult, Soc Frame

Arts Sci Core Curr: Human Diversity

Arts Sci Gen Ed: Distribution-Social Sciences

Arts Sci Gen Ed: Diversity-U.S. Perspective

Course Outline:

In this asynchronous class, we will not meet for regularly scheduled class sessions. Your work across the semester is guided by the instructor through online materials, assignments, and feedback, as well as reaching them through office hours as needed. Some live meetings may be scheduled, offering you a variety for days and times to select from. You will take part in online regular class discussion boards to explore ideas and connect with peers.  This class expects your consistent and substantive contributions engaging with the materials, peers, and the instructor, by logging in to post across multiple days of every week.

Course materials and assignments are organized into units across the semester, through which you build knowledge and develop skills, culminating in the final project. Together, we explore communication in our world from a critical perspective, considering how interactions are affected by identities and ideologies. Here at CU, Communication classes strive to embody our CRAFT: Creativity in what we produce; Relational connections between people, communities, and ideas; Analytical in our understanding; Flexible across professional fields; and Transformative for society.


By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Analyze everyday communication by labeling discourse practices
  • Explain how identity is constructed and challenged in communication
  • Explain why a particular situation is a communication dilemma and offer a rationale for how you would navigate it to achieve your goals
  • Understand the cultural and rhetorical dimensions of interaction.
  • Improve your writing, and critical thinking skills, and engage with ideas of your classmates

Required Texts

  • Textbook: Tracy, K. & Robles, J. (2013). Everyday talk: Building and reflecting identities (2nd ed). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Additional Required Readings available on Canvas


*assignment and weighted value may be adjusted to suit the needs of the class.

  • Reading & Concept Quizzes 10%
  • Essays 20%
  • Exams 15%
  • Final Project & Presentation 25%
  • Weekly Discussions & Engagement 25%
  • Class Membership Tasks & Participation 5%



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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado