Deborah Eicher-Catt, Ph.D.

Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences

Dr. Deborah Eicher-Catt: Professor of
Communication Arts and Sciences

B.A., Social Psychology, California State University, Chico, 1987
M.A., Human Communication, California State University, Chico, 1991
Ph.D., Philosophy of Communication, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 1996

President, Semiotic Society of America

Pennsylvania State University Teaching Fellow

Fellow, International Communicology Institute

Principal areas of study/research: Philosophy & Theory of Communication (Communicology), Interpersonal, Family, and Organizational Communication. Topics of interest: civility, enchantment as communicative experience, feminine agency and efficacy, motherhood, selfhood, and life writing.

About me: I am a philosopher and theorist of human communication. What that means is that I am interested in the ways we think about rhetoric and communication, how they function to produce/reproduce cultural values and norms, and why they shape our personal and professional experiences in complex and subtle ways. I pursue this philosophical agenda through the human science theory and methodology known as Communicology. Communicology, an emergent field of inquiry around the globe, is a critical study of the expressive body as mediated by cultural signs and codes of discourse and practice. Semiotics (the study of cultural signs and sign systems) and phenomenology (our experiences of those signs) are thus integral aspects of the research that I conduct and the philosophers whose work I interrogate. Some of the philosophers who greatly influence my thinking are: Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault, Martin Heidegger, Luce Irigaray, Richard L. Lanigan, Edward Sapir, Charles Sanders Peirce, Roman Jakobson, Ernst Cassirer, Jurgen Ruesch, Gregory Bateson, Judith Butler, and Jane Bennett. My co-edited book, Communicology: The New Science of Embodied Discourse (shown below) is an example of these research interests.

Learn more about Communicology at the International Communicology Institute website.

Recent Academic/Professional Commitments/Recognitions:

  • Vice President and President-elect, Semiotic Society of America, 2016-2018.
  • Recipient, Teaching Fellow Award: Alumni Association and Student Award Recognizing Teaching Excellence, Pennsylvania State University, April 2016
  • Executive Board Member, Semiotic Society of America, 2015-2016
  • Recipient, James H. Burness Award for Excellence in Teaching, Pennsylvania State University, York, April 2015.
  • Recipient, Donald H. Ecroyd Research and Scholarship Award, Pennsylvania Communication Association, 2012
  • Appointed Member, President's Commission for Women, Penn State
  • Editorial Board Member, The Atlantic Journal of Communication, the Pennsylvania Communication Annual, Qualitative Research Reports in Communication
  • Recipient, Top Article Award, "Recovering the Voice of Embodied Dialogue: Edward Sapir's Contribution to Communicology," The International Journal of Communication, Philosophy of Communication Division, National Communication Association, 2011
  • Guest Editorships, Atlantic Journal of Communication, American Journal of Semiotics, Listening: Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion and Culture
  • Chair, Philosophy of Communication Division, National Communication Association, 2011–2012

Photo of Dr. Deborah Eicher-Catt

Office: Room 223, Grumbacher Information Sciences and Technology Center
E-mail Address:
Phone: 717-771-4158     Fax Number: 717-771-4062


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