Stephanie Kelley-Romano

Professor of Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies


Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies


Stephanie Kelley-Romano earned her undergraduate and MA degrees at Emerson College in Boston.  Her Ph.D. in Communication Studies was earned at The University of Kansas.  Her research and teaching interests include gender and media, myth and narrative, conspiracy, political rhetoric, and substance (mis)use disorder/addiction.  Kelley-Romano received the Kroepsch Teaching Award for excellence in teaching in 2019.  Her scholarship has appeared in The Journal of Hate Studies, Communication Quarterly, Journalism Studies, and The Journal of UFO Studies among othersShe is often sought after for podcasts on political or paranormal topics, and her public scholarship has appeared in and The Conversation.  In 2020 Kelley-Romano was part of the Mellon cohort of Periclean Faculty Leaders where she further systematized community engaged learning and partnerships into her teaching and research.  Recently, she has lectured about conspiracy theories to political groups, medical professionals, and the wider community.



Ph.D. – Communication Studies, May 1999, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Dissertation: The Myth of Communion: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Narratives of Alien Abductees
M.A. – Political Communication, 1994, Emerson College, Boston, MA
Areas of Emphasis: Rhetorical Theory and Practice; Political Communication
B.S. – Communication Studies, 1993, Emerson College, Boston, MA
Graduated with honors: Cum Laude


Academic Publications

Bradfield Douglass, Amy and Stephanie Kelley-Romano.  “Memory Distortion in a Social Judgment Paradigm: People who Report Contact with Aliens are More Susceptible.”  to be submitted: The Reliability of UFO Witnesses Ed by Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos. Anticipated publication January 2023.
Joseph, Lori J. and Kelley-Romano, S. (2022).  “Women of ‘Dignity and Grace’: Politics of Respectability in Alcoholics Anonymous.” in Mental Health Rhetoric Research: Toward Strategic Interventions. Routledge. Ed. by Catherine Molloy.
Greer, Meredith L. & Kelley-Romano, S. (2019). “Engaging Crisis: Immersive, Interdisciplinary Learning in Mathematics and Rhetoric.” Journal of Humanistic Mathematics
Kelley-Romano, S. & *Carew, K. L. (2019). Make America Hate Again: Donald Trump and the Birther Conspiracy. [Special Issue “Interrogating the Place of Hate in the 2016 Presidential Campaign“]. Journal of Hate Studies Volume 14 Issue 1, pp.33-52.
Kelley-Romano, S. (2016). “Biopower in Space: Technology, Reproduction, and the Alien Agenda.Technoculture: An Online Journal of Technology in Society Volume 6.
Kelley-Romano, S. (2008). “Trust No One: The Conspiracy Genre on American Television.” Southern Communication Journal 73, 2, p.105-121.
Kelley-Romano, S. & *Westgate, V. (2007).  “Blaming Bush: An Analysis of Political Cartoons Following Hurricane Katrina.” Journalism Studies, Vol. 8 Issue 5, p755-773.
Kelley-Romano, S.  (2007).  “Makin’ Whoopi: Race, Gender, and The Starship Enterprise.”  (Chapter 9) Siths, Slayers, Stargates, and Cyborgs: Modern Mythology in the New Millenium. Edited by David Whitt and John Perlich.  Published by Peter Lang.
Kelley-Romano, S. & *Westgate, V.  (2006).  “ Drawing Disaster: The Crisis Cartoons of Hurricane Katrina.”  Texas Speech Communication Journal.  Volume 31 Issue 1.
Kelley-Romano, S.  (2006).  “’The Modern Mythmaking of Alien Abductions.”  Communication Quarterly.  Vol. 54 Issue 3, p383-406.
Kelley-Romano, S.  (2006).  “A Report on the Demographics of Alien Abductees/Experiencers.”  Journal of UFO Studies.  Volume 9.
* = Bates Student



Great Falls Forum (February 2022) Conspiracy Theories

April 2021. COVID Conspiracies: Contextualizing & Countering False Beliefs. Presentation at Grand Rounds for CMMC Pediatrics Department

Rocque, M. & Kelley-Romano, S. (February 19, 2021) “Why do mass shootings spawn conspiracy theories?” The Conversation.

Kelley-Romano, S. (August 1, 2019) “If the Democrats Master This Single Strategy, They Can Defeat Trump in 2020 | Opinion” Newsweek


February 2021. Vulgarity in PoliticsLewiston Sun Journal. Comments on vulgarity in politics.
July 2020. “Maine CDC Reports 8 new COVID-19 cases, announces 18 ‘swab and send’ testing sites.Portland Press Herald. Quoted re: Maine Calling appearance.
June 2020. Topic: Face Coverings: How Has Mask-Wearing Become Polarizing & What Are Mainers’ Attitudes Toward Masks? Guest: Maine Calling with Dr. Nirav Shah, director, Maine Center for Disease Control.
May 2020. Topic: Conspiracy Theories: What Do Some People Believe & What Makes These Theories Take Hold in Society? Guest: Maine Calling with *Dr. Ryan Neville-Shepard and *Tim Kaplowitz
November 2017. “Bates Professor Knows a Thing or Two About Alien Abduction.” Associated Press/ US News and World Report.
October 2017. “Abducted New England” Documentary by Brock, Bill
June 2017. “The Psychology of Why Interviewing Alex Jones is Such a Bad by Dreyfuss, Emily
June 2017. ”The Psychology of a Conspiracy Believer” ESV Times by Blair, Scott
October 2016. “At Bates College Students Feel the Heat of Presidential CampaignPortland Press Herald.
June 2016. The Message from Alien Abductees by Sloat, Sarah
November 25, 2015. “Chasing Bigfoot: A Former TDP Staff Writer Recalls Local Lore and Tales of Sightings.” Tatahlequah Daily Press by Glenn, Eddie
January 2015. “Crazy Beliefs. Sane Believers: Toward a Cognitive Psychology of Conspiracy Ideation” Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.1 by Bost, Preston R.