Lisa B. Keränen PhD

Lisa Keränen, PhD
Department Chair • Associate Professor • University President’s Teaching Scholar
Department of Communication

Mailing Address:
Department of Communication
Campus Box 176
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364

Physical Location:
1201 Larimer Street
3rd Floor, Suite 3016
Denver, CO 80204


Spring 2024 Office Hours:
Appointments availiable through Zoom. Please email to schedule a meeting.

PhD, Communication/Rhetoric of Science, University of Pittsburgh
MA, Bioethics, University of Pittsburgh
MA, Communication Studies, University of Maine

Dr. Lisa Keränen studies and teaches rhetorical theory and criticism with an emphasis on the rhetoric of medicine, health, and biopolitics and is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities on the Anschutz Medical Campus. She holds a lifetime appointment as a University of Colorado President’s Teaching Scholar in recognition of her integration of research excellence and outstanding teaching. 

Dr. Keränen has received numerous awards for her research, teaching and service. Most recently, she and her co-authors received the 2019 Xiaosui Xiao award for Outstanding Scholarship in Rhetoric from the Association for Chinese Communication Studies (ACCS). Her first book, Scientific Characters: Rhetoric, Politics, and Trust in Breast Cancer Research (2010, University of Alabama Press), received the 2011 Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Public Address from the National Communication Association (NCA). She has also received the NCA’s Karl R. Wallace Memorial Research Award as and a Distinguished Teaching Award from the Western States Communication Association, as well as a CLAS Excellence in Teaching Award.  

Dr. Keränen's publications appear in journals such as Academic Medicine, Chinese Journal of Communication, Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, Journal of Medical Humanities, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Western Journal of Communication, and the Quarterly Journal of Speech, as well as in edited books on the rhetoric of health and medicine. She is co-editor of Imagining China: Rhetorics of Nationalism in the Age of Globalization (Michigan State University Press, 2017) as well as several special issues on the rhetoric of health and medicine. 

Dr. Keränen is past President of the Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine (ARSTM) and a past Director of the National Communication Association Forum (NCA-F). She currently serves as Chair of the Department of Communication at CU Denver and serves on six editorial boards in her area of expertise.

Books and Special Journal Issues

Keränen, Lisa and Yamgming Li. 2020. Rebuilding in Unity: The 2015 Tianjin Explosions and Renewal Discourses in Chinese Social Media. In Patrick S.W. Dodge, ed., Communication and Convergence in Contemporary China: International Perspectives on Politics, Platforms, and Participation (pp. 149-171). East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. 

Keränen, Lisa. 2019. Biosecurity and Communication. In Bryan C. Taylor and Hamilton Bean (eds), Handbook of Security and Communication (pp. 223-246). New York: Routledge.

Hartnett, Stephen John, Patrick Shaou-Whea Dodge, and Lisa Keränen. 2019. Postcolonial Remembering in Taiwan: 228 and Transitional Justice as “The End of Dear. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, DOI: 10.1080/17513057.2019.1614206. Recipient of the Xiaosui Xiao Award for Outstanding Rhetorical Scholarship, Association for Chinese Communication Studies, 2019

Keränen, Lisa and J. Blake Scott. 2019. RHM Editor Blake Scott’s Interview with Lisa Keränen. Rhetoric of Health and Medicine. Article 2, Issue 2,

Hartnett, Stephen John, Lisa Keränen, and Donovan Conley, eds. 2017. Imagining China: Rhetorics of Nationalism in an Age of Globalization (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press).

Keränen, Lisa, ed. 2014. Medicine, Health, and Publics. Special issue of the Journal of Medical Humanities 35: 103-239. DOI 10.1007/s10912-014-9275-7.

Keränen, Lisa, ed. 2013. Inventing the Future: The Rhetorics of Science, Technology, and Medicine. Special issue of POROI: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis and Invention 9.1: 1-149. Includes 17 commissioned essays by North America’s leading rhetoric of science and medicine scholars. 

Keränen, Lisa. 2010. Scientific Characters: Rhetoric, Politics, and Trust in Breast Cancer Research (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press). Recipient of the 2011 Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Public Address from the Public Address Division of the National Communication Association. Reviewed in:Rhetoric & Public Affairs (2013), Rhetoric Society Quarterly (2012), New York Journal of Books (2010)

Selected Journal Articles, Essays, and Book Chapters

Keränen, Lisa. 2015. Biopolitics, Contagion, and Digital Health Narratives: Pathways for the Rhetoric of Health and Medicine. Communication Quarterly 65:5: 504-509.

Keränen, Lisa, Patrick Dodge, and Donovan Conley. 2015. Modernizing Traditions on the Roof of the World: Displaying "Liberation" and "Occupation" in Three Tibet Museums. Journal of Curatorial Studies 4.1:78-106. DOI: 10.1386/jcs.4.1.78_1. 

Keränen, Lisa. 2014. Public Engagements with Health and Medicine: Guest Editor’s Introduction and Discussion Guide, Journal of Medical Humanities 35.2: 103-109. DOI 10.1007/s10912-014-9275-7. 

Keränen, Lisa. 2014. "This Weird, Incurable Disease": Competing Diagnoses in the Rhetoric of Morgellons. Health Humanities Reader, edited by Therese Jones, Lester Friedman, and Delease Wear (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press): 36-49.

Keränen, Lisa. 2013. Technologies of Self at the End of Life: Pastoral Power and the Rhetoric of Advance Care Planning. The Language of our Biotechnological Future, edited by Michael Hyde and James Herrick (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press): 193-218. Invited. Recipient of the 2013 Best Edited Book Award from the Communication Ethics Division of the National Communication Association.

J. Blake Scott, Judy Z. Segal, and Lisa Keränen. 2013. Rhetorics of Health and Medicine: Inventional Possibilities for Scholarship and Engaged Practice. POROI: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis and Invention 9.1: Article 17, 1-6. All authors contributed equally to this essay.

Keränen, Lisa. 2011. Concocting Viral Apocalypse: Catastrophic Risk and the Production of Bio(in)security. Western Journal of Communication 75.5: 451-472. Lead essay.

Keränen, Lisa. 2011. Addressing the Epidemic of Epidemics: Germs, Security, and a Call for Biocriticism (9,000 word invited review essay). Quarterly Journal of Speech 97.2: 224-244. (Invited review essays reflect the journal editor’s recognition of the author’s expertise on a given subject matter.)

Bean, Hamilton, Lisa Keränen, and Margaret Durfy. 2011. 'This is London': Cosmopolitan Nationalism and the Discourse of Resilience in the '7/7' Terrorist Attacks. Rhetoric and Public Affairs 14.3: 427-464.

Gruber, David, Jordan L. Jack, Lisa Keränen, John M. McKenzie, and Matthew B. Morris. 2011. Rhetoric and the Neurosciences: Engagement & Exploration. POROI: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetorical Analysis and Invention 7.1, Article 11:1-13.

Keränen, Lisa, Jason Lesko, Alison Vogelaar, and Lisa Irvin. 2008. "Myth, Mask, Shield, and Sword": Dr. John H. Marburger III’s Rhetoric of Neutral Science for the Nation. Cultural Studies—Critical Methodologies 7: 159-186.

Keränen, Lisa. 2007. "'Cause Someday We All Die": Rhetoric, Agency, and the Case of the “Patient” Preferences Worksheet. Quarterly Journal of Speech 93: 179-211.

Keränen, Lisa. 2005. Mapping Misconduct: Demarcating Legitimate Science from 'Fraud' in the B-06 Lumpectomy Controversy. Argumentation and Advocacy 42: 94-113. 

Keränen, Lisa and J. Blake Scott. 2019. RHM Editor Blake Scott’s Interview with Lisa Keränen. Rhetoric of Health and Medicine. Article 2, Issue 2,

Han, Paul K. J., Lisa B. Keränen, Dianne A. Lescisin, and Robert M. Arnold. 2005. The Palliative Care Clinical Evaluation Exercise (CEX): An Experience-Based Intervention for Teaching End-of-Life Communication Skills. Academic Medicine 80: 669-676.

COMM 1011: Fundamentals of Communication​
COMM 4550/5550: Rhetorics of Medicine and Health
COMM 4558/5558: Digital Health Narratives
COMM 4995: Narratives of the New China​ (in Beijing and Shanghai)
COMM 6013: Introduction to Graduate Work in Communication
COMM 6710: Rhetoric of Risk

Expertise Areas: Rhetoric; Rhetoric of health and medicine; Qualitative health communication; Biopolitics; Chinese public memory