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Elizabeth Suter


  • Faculty


communication, family, Adoption

Professional Biography

Elizabeth A. Suter (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Affiliated Faculty in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Denver. She identifies as a feminist, social-justice-oriented interpersonal and family communication scholar. She views the family as a politicized institution animated by the broader discursive, material, and political environment. Primary contexts of study include transracial, international adoption and lesbian co-motherhood. Recently she developed the Critical Interpersonal and Family Communication (CIFC) heuristic, calling for the centering of power, praxis, and reflexivity in contemporary studies of relationships and families. This work appears in The Journal of Family Communication, Communication Monographs, and Communication Theory. She lives with her partner and two daughters in Denver, Colorado.


  • Ph.D., Speech Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001
  • MA, Speech Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994
  • BA, Speech Communication , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1991

Professional Affiliations

  • National Communication Association
  • International Communication Association

Areas of Research

family communication
transracial adoption
international adoptions from China
family diversity
family identity
family names
interpersonal communication
relational communication

Featured Publications

Suter, E., & Norwood, K. (2017). Critical theorizing in family communication studies: (Re)Reading relational dialectics theory. Communication Theory, 27, 290-308.
Suter, E. (2016). Introduction: Critical approaches to family communication research: Representation, critique, and praxis. Journal of Family Communication, 16(1), 1-8.