Sonja Foss, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
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 3317
Denver, CO 80204

Retired May 2019

Expertise Areas: Contemporary rhetorical theory, feminist perspectives, rhetorical analysis

PhD, Communication Studies, Northwestern University

Sonja K. Foss is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research and teaching interests are in contemporary rhetorical theory and criticism, feminist perspectives on communication, the incorporation of marginalized voices into rhetorical theory, and visual rhetoric. She is the author or coauthor of the books Gender Stories, Destination Dissertation, Rhetorical Criticism, Contemporary Perspectives on Rhetoric, Inviting Transformation, Feminist Rhetorical Theories, and Women Speak. Her essays in communication journals have dealt with topics such as paradigms of change, invitational rhetoric, agency in the film Run Lola Run, visual argumentation, and body art. Her work has been recognized by various awards, including the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Western States Communication Association, the Francine Merritt Award and the Douglas W. Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award from the National Communication Association, and the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Colorado Denver. Dr. Foss earned her Ph.D. in communication studies from Northwestern University, her M.A. in speech from the University of Oregon, and her B.A. in Romance languages (French and Spanish) from the University of Oregon.

Foss, Sonja K., Mary E. Domenico, and Karen A. Foss. Gender Stories: Negotiating Identity in a Binary World. Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland, 2013.

Foss, Sonja K., and William Waters. Destination Dissertation: A Traveler’s Guide to a Done Dissertation. Boulder, Colorado: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.

Foss, Sonja K., Karen A. Foss, and Cindy L. Griffin. Feminist Rhetorical Theories. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage, 1999.

Foss, Sonja K. Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland, 1988; second edition, 1996; 3rd edition, 2004; 4th edition, 2008.

Foss, Sonja K., and Karen A. Foss. Inviting Transformation: Presentational Speaking for a Changing World. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland, 1994; 2nd edition, 2003; 3rd ed., 2011.

Foss, Sonja K., and Karen A. Foss. "Constricted and Constructed Potentiality: An Inquiry into Paradigms of Change." Western Journal of Communication, 75 (2011): 205-38.

Foss, Sonja K., and Karen A. Foss. "Our Journey to Repowered Feminism: Expanding the Feminist Toolbox." Women’s Studies in Communication, 32 (2009): 36-62.

Foss, Sonja K., William Waters, and Bernard J. Armada. "Toward a Theory of Agentic Orientation: Rhetoric and Agency in Run Lola Run." Communication Theory, 17 (2007): 205-30.

Foss, Sonja K. "Rhetorical Criticism as Synecdoche for Agency." Rhetoric Review, 25 (2006): 375-79.

Foss, Sonja K., and Cindy L. Griffin. "Beyond Persuasion: A Proposal for an Invitational Rhetoric." Communication Monographs, 62 (March 1995), 2-18.

Foss, Sonja K. "A Rhetorical Schema for the Evaluation of Visual Imagery." Communication Studies, 45 (Fall-Winter 1994), 213-24.

Foss, Sonja K., and Karen A. Foss. "The Construction of Feminine Spectatorship in Garrison Keillor’s Radio Monologues.”  Quarterly Journal of Speech, 80 (November 1994), 410-26.

Foss, Karen A., and Sonja K. Foss. “Personal Experience as Evidence in Feminist Scholarship." Western Journal of Communication, 58 (Winter 1994), 39-43.

Foss, Sonja K. "The Construction of Appeal in Visual Images: A Hypothesis." In Rhetorical Movement: Studies in Honor of Leland M. Griffin. Ed. David Zarefsky. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1993, pp. 211-25.

Foss, Sonja K., and Cindy L. Griffin. "A Feminist Perspective on Rhetorical Theory: Toward a Clarification of Boundaries." Western Journal of Communication, 56 (Fall 1992), 330-49.

Foss, Sonja K. "Constituted by Agency: The Discourse and Practice of Rhetorical Criticism." In Essays to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of The Speech Communication Association. Ed. Gerald M. Phillips and Julia T. Wood. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1990, pp. 33-51.

Foss, Karen A., and Sonja K. Foss. "Incorporating the Feminist Perspective in Communication Scholarship: A Research Commentary." In Doing Research on Women’s Communication: Alternative Perspectives in Theory and Method. Ed. Carole Spitzack and Kathryn Carter. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex, 1989, pp. 65-91.

Foss, Sonja K. "Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party: Empowerment of Women’s Voice in Visual Art." In Women Communicating: Studies of Women’s Talk. Ed. Barbara Bate and Anita Taylor. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex, 1988, pp. 9-26.

Foss, Sonja K., and Karen A. Foss."What Distinguishes Feminist Scholarship in Communication Studies?" Women’s Studies in Communication, 11 (Spring 1988), 9-11.

Foss, Sonja K., and Ann M. Gill. "Michel Foucault’s Theory of Rhetoric as Epistemic." Western Journal of Speech Communication, 51 (Fall 1987), 384-401.

Foss, Sonja K. "Body Art: Insanity as Communication." Central States Speech Journal, 38 (Summer 1987), 122-31.

Foss, Sonja K. "Ambiguity as Persuasion: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial." Communication Quarterly, 34 (Summer 1986), 326-40.

Foss, Sonja K. "Women Priests in the Episcopal Church: A Cluster Analysis of Opposition Rhetoric." Religious Communication Today, 7 (September 1984), 1-11.

Foss, Sonja K. "A Female Perspective on the Research Process." Women’s Studies in Communication, 7 (Fall 1984), 73-76.

Foss, Sonja K. "Retooling an Image: Chrysler Corporation’s Rhetoric of Redemption." Western Journal of Speech Communication, 48 (Winter 1984), 75-91.

Foss, Karen A., and Sonja K. Foss. "The Status of Research on Women and Communication." Communication Quarterly, 31 (Summer 1983), 195-204.

Foss, Sonja K. "Criteria for Adequacy in Rhetorical Criticism." Southern Speech Communication Journal, 33 (Spring 1983), 283-95.

Foss, Sonja K. "Abandonment of Genus: The Evolution of Political Rhetoric." Central States Speech Journal, 33 (Summer 1982), 367-78.

Foss, Sonja K. "The Equal Rights Amendment Controversy: Rhetorical Worlds in Conflict." Quarterly Journal of Speech, 65 (October 1979), 275-88.

COMM 4022/5022: Critical Analysis of Communication
COMM 4021/5021: Perspectives on Rhetoric
COMM 4265/5265: Gender Communication
COMM 4700/5700: Writing Practicum