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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Faculty & Staff Directory

Omar Swartz, PhD

Omar Swartz

Associate Professor

E-mail: Omar Swartz
Office Location: Modular MC-01
Phone: 303-556-5660
Fax: 303-352-3872 
Areas of Expertise:
Rhetoric, Legal Studies, Criticism

Education & Degrees

JD, Duke University, 2001
PhD, Purdue University, 1995
MA, University of California Davis, 1992 
BA, Humboldt State University, 1989


What grounds my scholarship is my concern for social justice. I situate my research in three content areas: critical theory, popular culture, and legal/political systems. The vast majority of my work draws upon the philosophies of Richard Rorty, Michel Foucault, Friedrich Nietzsche, and other critical and cultural theorists to explore the intersection of structural and rhetorical limitations (as well as opportunities) that permeate society and which can be discerned in, among other places, popular, disciplinary, and legal cultures. Whether I am writing on the novelist Jack Kerouac or the United States Constitution, disciplinary practices in communication or Rortys political philosophy, I am directly or indirectly applying socially engaged scholarship to critique our social practices in order to make them more sensitive to fundamental human needs. This programmatic theme to my scholarship is driven by three general questions: (1) What would a society committed to social justice look like? (2) How can the United States (among other countries) better work toward this ideal? (3) In terms of the field of communication, how can a communication and legal perspective contribute to the construction of such a society?

Select Publications

Swartz, O., Campbell, K. and Pestana, C. (2009). Neo-Pragmatism, Communication, and the Culture of Creative Democracy. New York: Peter Lang.

Swartz, O. (Ed.) (2008). Transformative Communication Studies: Culture, Hierarchy, and the Human Condition. Leicester, UK: Troubador Publishing.

Swartz, O. (Ed.) (2006). Social Justice and Communication Scholarship. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 263 pp.

Swartz, O. (2005). In Defense of Partisan Criticism: Communication Studies, Law, & Social Analysis. (Frontiers in Political Communication v.7). New York: Peter Lang.

Swartz, O. (19Swartz, O.99). The View From on the Road: The Rhetorical Vision of Jack Kerouac. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Swartz, O. (1998). The Rise of Rhetoric and its Intersections with Contemporary Critical Thought. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 194 pp.

Swartz, O. (1997). Conducting Socially Responsible Research: Critical Theory, Neo-Pragmatism, and Rhetorical Inquiry. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Courses Taught

COMM 4200 Persuasion
COMM 4268 Communication and Diversity in U.S. History
COMM 4680 Mass Media Law and Policy