Stephanie Kelley-Romano


Associate Professor of Rhetoric, Film, and Screen Studies, Chair
Pettigrew Hall, Room 308


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

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).  “Alien Abductions as Mythmaking.”  Extreme Deviance, Edited by Erich Goode and Angus Vail.  Pine Forge Press.

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

Public Scholarship

Professional Presentations

Kelley-Romano, S. (November 2014). ”The (Bio)power of Myth: Reproduction, Technology, and the Alien Agenda.”  Rhetorical and Communication Theory Division. National Communication Association Convention. Chicago, IL.

Kelley-Romano, S. (April 2014). “Symbolic Ritualization of Reproduction: Reproductive Anxieties in Alien Abduction Narratives.” Women’s Ritual Competence in the Ancient Mediterranean. Bates College, Lewiston, ME.

Kelley-Romano. S. (November 2010).  “Bridges to Beyond: Gender and Alien Abduction Narratives.”  Individual Paper Submission: Feminist Perspectives and Social Movements.  National Communication Association Meeting. San Francisco, CA.

Great Falls Forum (November 2008). “Election ’08: Lessons Learned – Sarah Palin Case Study.” Lewiston Public Library, Lewiston, ME.

Kelley-Romano, S. (April 2007).  “The Activism of Mythic Studies and Rhetorical Criticism: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, and Where We’re Going” Rhetorical Theory and Criticism Division of Central States Speech Communication. Madison, WI.

Kelley-Romano, S.  (April 2006). “Abducted by Aliens: Modern Myths and Narratives.”  Chair of Student Panel sponsored by the Rhetorical Theory and Criticism Division.

Community Presentations

February 2018
News Consumers get Tips on Discerning Fake News”  

August 2017
**Making Myth: Alien Abduction Narratives and the Cosmic Struggle for Meaning

  • Master Class @ Bates College

June 2017
**“50th Reunion Seminar: The Rhetoric of our Current Political Climate” 

  • Panel discussion about the first six months of the Trump administration

March 2017
Lewiston YWCA. “T.A.L.K.: Treating All Listeners Kindly” Series. 

  • “How to Listen After the Election.”

November 2016
Great Falls Forum. Recap of the 2016 Presidential Election. 

  • Students from Presidential Campaign Rhetoric led a discussion and took questions.

Fall 2016
“Ripped from the Headlines: Teaching about Current Issues”

  • Back to Bates: Faculty Symposium:

May 2015
“Creating the Presidency: Political Campaigns, The Media, and Experiential Learning” 


What is Rhetoric?  (Bates College: RFSS100)  Introductory level rhetoric class.   Large lecture class which introduces students to the fundamental readings in rhetorical theory from Aristotle through contemporary scholars such as Foucault, Gates, and Burke.

Rhetorical Criticism (Bates College: Rhetoric 257)  Application of rhetorical theories to a variety of rhetorical artifacts in order to understand the unique insights afforded by rhetorical studies.  Students write, discuss, and present papers in which they apply and analyze different rhetorical perspectives.

Television Criticism (Bates College: RFSS276)  Examines the representational strategies employed by television to convey social messages.  The goals of the course are twofold: first, to acquaint students with basic theoretical premises of rhetorical approaches to television, and second to provide students an opportunity for critical and original research.

The Rhetoric of Women’s Rights (Bates College: RFSS265). Throughout American history, the roles and rights ascribed to women have differed from those ascribed to men. Because of their differing situations, women have had to use rhetorical means to attain their goals of equality and access to the public sphere. This course examines rhetorical strategies created by women, and the way women’s texts are then interpreted by the mass media.  Texts will be drawn from the suffrage movement, celebrity magazines, television, newspapers, and academic/critical writing.

The Rhetoric of Alien Abduction (Bates College: RFSS391A)  This seminar examines the discourse surrounding UFOs and alien abduction. Texts are drawn from various media and include both fictional and nonfictional accounts of interaction with aliens. The course uses abduction/UFO discourse as a way to interrogate articulations of power, reality, control, rights, and identity as they are expressed both by abduction experiencers and popular culture. Topics include conspiracy, narrative, apocalyptic rhetoric, and myth.

Presidential Campaign Rhetoric (Bates College: RFSS391B)  In this course students explore the wide array of discourse surrounding Presidential Campaigns.  Texts include political speeches, political advertisements, debates, and news reporting on the campaign.  Special attention is paid to newspaper and television coverage of candidates and the development of image. A major component of this course is a mock campaign in which all students participate.

Conspiracy Rhetoric (Bates College: Rhetoric s32)  Short course that explores the types and functions of conspiracy discourse in pop-culture, politics, and American culture.


October 2019

Imaginary Worlds Episode 129: From Outer Space

October 2018
**”’Wicked Interesting’ 2nd District Debate for Bates Rhetoric Professor”   

November 2017
**“Bates Professor Knows a Thing or Two About Alien Abduction.” 

  • Associated Press/ US News and World Report

October 2017
**Interviewed for “Abducted New England” Documentary by Bill Brock 

June 2017
**Interview @ by Emily Dreyfuss

June 2017
**”The Psychology of a Conspiracy Believer”

  • by Scott Blair @ESV Times

November 2016
Bates Students Talk about their Exploration of Presidential elections.” November 2016

  • by Steve Collins Lewiston Sun Journal, Lewiston ME

November 2016
Slideshow: Presidential Politics vs (not real) Smallpox Crisis Hour by Hour.

  • Bates Web Page by Jay Burns

October 2016
At Bates College Students Feel the Heat of Presidential Campaign.” October 2016

November 25, 2015
Featured in: “Chasing Bigfoot: A Former TDP Staff Writer Recalls Local Lore and Tales of Sightings.”

  • by Eddie Glenn. Tatahlequah Daily Press, Tatahlequah OK November 25, 2015

January 2015
Crazy Beliefs…Toward a Cognitive Psychology of Conspiracy Ideation” 

  • by Bost, Preston R. Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.1, January/February 2015

May 2008
Interview in Bates Magazine

  • “Ask Me Another: There’s Nothing Alien about ET Abduction”

July 2, 2006
Interview about Abduction Research

  • “Alien Abductions: Bates College Professor…”
  • Lewiston Sun Journal

January 8, 2006
New York Times 

  • “Pop Ph.D.’s: How TV Ate Academics”

December 2004
Commentary on Television Effects on Children

  • Channel 6 News

June 2004
Commentary on Conspiracy Rhetoric in Documentary for Sky One Media 

  • Produced by Mentorn for Sky One Media
  • Broadcast in England and Europe

May 2004
Interview/Commentary on Conspiracy Rhetoric

  • “Welcome to the Conspiracy” by Rich Cohen
  • Vanity Fair, pp. 138-154.

August 2001
Commentary on Unidentified Lights seen over Lewiston, ME 

  • “Mystery Around Noise, Lights Continues” by M. LaFlamme
  • Lewiston Sun Journal

November 2000
Commentary on Presidential Debate Strategies November 2000

  • WMJX – Local Portland, ME. Televised News Station

Featured in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Extraterrestrial Intelligence

  • Short profile and contact information regarding research

November 1997
Featured in Kansas Alumni Magazine

  • “Out of this World: Graduate Student says Claims of Alien Abductions show Decay at an Early Level.”

October 1997
Commentary on Alien Abductions

  • The National College U. Magazine.  Insert in Sunday Newspaper.