After holding positions at such institutions as the University of Notre Dame and Tulane University, and serving as Chair of the Department of Communication and the first Alpo and Marjorie Knight Crane Professor of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte, Kathleen J. Turner is now Professor of Communication Studies and Director of Oral Communication at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina.
As a rhetorical analyst, Dr. Turner studies communication as a process of social influence, particularly in the areas of media, politics, popular culture, and women’s issues. Her B.A. in Speech Communication and English (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) is from the University of Kansas, while her M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication are from Purdue University, where she was a University Fellow.
Dr. Turner is the author of Lyndon Johnson's Dual War: Vietnam and the Press, the first book in the field of communication to be published by the University of Chicago Press (1985). She is the editor of Doing Rhetorical History: Concepts and Cases, published by the University of Alabama Press (1998). Her publications also include a monograph on Mass Media and Popular Culture; chapters on Miami Vice and sixties protest music; entries on Johnson and the press as well as the credibility gap in the Encyclopedia of American Journalism; an entry on rhetoric and history for the International Encyclopedia of Communication; and articles on the future of rhetorical studies, presidential libraries, Time's coverage of religion, social movements' efforts to influence news coverage, comic strips, and the history of product placement. Her teaching specialties include Principles of Oral Communication, Critical Analysis of Media, History of Mass Communication, Visual Communication and Gender, Advertising, Public Relations, Mass Communication Law, Political Communication, and Persuasion. In 2007 she received the National Communication Association's Ecroyd Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education and in 2011 she received the Southern States Communication Association’s Michael M. Osborn Teacher-Scholar Award. She is currently writing a book-length study of the images of women in comic strips and working on a co-authored volume on communication centers.