Leah Sprain is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Her research focuses on democratic engagement, studying how specific communication practices facilitate and inhibit democratic action. Her research and teaching draw on language and social interaction perspectives to explore deliberation, environmental communication, and social movement activism. Outreach and praxis are crucial to democratic engagement thus much of her research is collaborative and focused on the practice-theory interface. As an ethnographer of communication, she has conducted extended fieldwork in Nicaragua and the United States. She co-edited Social Movement to Address Climate Change: Local Steps for Global Action, and her work appears in the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, and Communication Theory. She received her BA from Pacific Lutheran University, and MA and PhD from the University of Washington.
Carcasson, M. & Sprain, L. (in press). Beyond problem solving: Re-conceptualizing the work of public deliberation as deliberative inquiry. Communication Theory.
Sprain, L., Carcasson, M., & Merolla, A. (2014). Experts in public deliberation: Lessons from a deliberative design on water needs. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 42, 150-167.
Sprain, L. & Gastil, J. (2013). What does it mean to deliberate? An interpretive account of jurors’ expressed deliberative rules and premises. Communication Quarterly, 61, 151-171.
Sprain, L. & Boromisza-Habashi, D. (2013). The ethnographer of communication at the table: Building cultural competence, designing strategic action. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 41, 181-187. [Introduction to a Special Forum on Ethnography of Communication in Applied Communication Research]
Witteborn, S. & Sprain, L. (2010). Grouping processes in a public meeting from an ethnography of communication and cultural discourse analysis perspective. International Journal of Public Participation, 3, 14-35.
Endres, D., Sprain, L., & Peterson, T. R. (Eds.) (2009). Social movement to address climate change: Local steps for global action. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press.