Robert Westerfelhaus, Ph.D.



Ohio University, M.A., Ph.D.

Ohio Dominican University, B.A.

Research Interests

Primary research focus is upon mythical, rhetorical, and semiotic dimensions of American popular culture as represented in films and television series, with a special focus upon costumed comic book superheroes.

Courses Taught

COMM 280: Introduction to Communicating Messages – 1/2

COMM 281: Introduction to Communicating Messages – 2/2

COMM 315: Ethical Communication

COMM 336: Addressing Problems in Context

COMM 380: Communication and Sexual Identity

COMM 382: Theories of Rhetoric

COMM 383: Media Criticism

COMM 384: Ethics in Communication

COMM 510: Communication Theory

COMM 584: Contemporary Problems in Communication Ethics

COMM 690: Communication Pedagogy

HONS 120: Honors Colloquium in Western Civilization

HONS 120D: Western Civilization Discussion

HONS 392: Honors Semiotics

Selected Publications

Davis, Julie, and Westerfelhaus, Robert. (2022). “Part of the Team Yet Always Apart: Black Widow through Multiple Marvel Series.” In B. J. Carr & M. G. Carstarphen (Eds.), Gendered Defenders: Feminism and the Heroines of the Marvel Universe pp, 137-152). Ohio State University Press. 

Lacroix, Celeste, and Westerfelhaus, Robert. (2022). “An Emerging New American Mythos: Post-Apocalyptic Narratives as Expressions of Rupture, Rage, Resignation, and Regret.” New Horizons in English Studies 7(1), 87-100.  

Davis, Julie, and Westerfelhaus, Robert. (2013). “Finding a Place for a Muslimah Heroine in the Post-9/11 Marvel Universe:  New X-Men’s Dust.” Feminist Media Studies, 13, 800-809. 

Westerfelhaus, Robert. (2013). “Neal Adams.” In Randy Duncan and Matthew J. Smith (Eds.) Icons of the American Comic Book: From Captain America to Wonder Woman (vol. 1) (pp. 1-8). Greenwood. 

Westerfelhaus, Robert, and Lacroix, Celeste. (2009). “Waiting for the Barbarians: HBO’s Dead-wood as a Post-9/11 Ritual of Disquiet.” Southern Communication Journal, 74, 18-39. 

Westerfelhaus, Robert, and Lacroix, Celeste. (2006). “Seeing ‘Straight’ through Queer EyeExposing the Strategic Rhetoric of Heteronormativity in a Mediated Ritual of Gay Rebellion.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, 23, 426-444. 

Brookey, Robert Alan, and Westerfelhaus, Robert. (2005). “The Digital Auteur: Branding Identity on the Monsters, Inc. DVD.” Western Journal of Communication, 69, 109-128. 

Westerfelhaus, Robert, and Brookey, Robert Alan. (2004). “At the Unlikely Confluence of Conservative Religion and Popular Culture: Fight Club as Heteronormative Ritual.” Text and Performance Quarterly, 24, 302-326. 

Westerfelhaus, Robert, and Singhal, Arvind. (2002). “Difficulties in Co-opting a Complex Sign: Our Lady of Guadalupe as a Site of Semiotic Struggle and Entanglement.” Communication Quarterly, 49, 95-114. 

Brookey, Robert Alan, and Westerfelhaus, Robert. (2001). “Pistols and Petticoats, Piety and Purity: To Wong Foo, the American Monomyth, and the Marginalizing Discourse of Deification.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, 18, 141-156. 

Honors and Awards

2022-2021. Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, Distinguished Chair, Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, Lublin, Poland.  

2019, Outstanding Faculty Advising Award, College of Charleston. 

2014, Betty Jo Welch Award for Service, Carolinas Communication Association. 

2014, March. ExCEL Award: Outstanding Graduate Faculty of the Year, College of Charleston. 

Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Charleston. 

2011, May. Graduate Faculty of the Year Award, Department of Communication, College of Charleston. 

2010-2009. Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, Lublin, Poland. 

2009, August. College of Charleston Global Scholar, College of Charleston.  

2008, March. ExCEL Award: Outstanding Faculty of the Year for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Charleston. 

2004, September. Ray Camp Award, Carolinas Communication Association. 

2004, April. Distinguished Communication Faculty Award, Department of Communication, College of Charleston.