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About Donal Carbaugh

Donal Carbaugh is Professor Emeritus of Communication, former Samuel F. Conti Faculty Research Fellow (2010-2011), Chair of the International Studies Council (2004-2010), and Co-Chair of the Five College Committee on Native American Indian Studies (2003-2004). In 2017 he was named a Distinguished Scholar of the National Communication Association, its highest honor. In 2016, he received his university's Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity. In 2007-2008, he was Distinguished Fulbright Professor and Bicentennial Chair of North American Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland. His teaching has been honored as have several of his books and articles. He has been Chair of both the International Communication Association's and National Communication Association's Language and Social Interaction Division, and the National Communication Association's International and Intercultural Communication Division. In 1992, he was elected Visiting Senior Member at Linacre College, Oxford University, England, and is now Old Member of Linacre. He has held academic appointments at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Helsinki, the Turku School of Economics in Finland, and at other universities. His general interests focus upon cultural philosophies of communication, and more specifically, the ways culturally distinctive practices get woven into international and intercultural interactions. His studies focus upon Native American, popular American, Russian, and Finnish communication practices, with special attention to the relationship between language use, culture, spirit, and nature. He and a group of UMass doctoral awardees have worked with General Motors to develop speech systems for their driven and autonomous vehicles.
He currently serves on about twenty editorial boards of national and international journals. His published research has been honored in Environmental Communication, Intercultural Communication, and Language and Social Interaction. It has appeared in many major academic journals, in several countries including Finland, Germany, Italy, and Russia, in several languages. His book, "Cultures in Conversation", was designated the Outstanding Book of the Year by the International and Intercultural Communication Division of the National Communication Association; and with the Old Chestnut Award as a classic in Language and Social Interaction by the same association. His first book, "Talking American: Cultural Discourses on DONAHUE", was identified as "a favorite book of the past 25 years" in Contemporary Sociology by former president of the American Sociological Association, William Gamson. His edited volume, "Cultural Communication and Intercultural Contact", received the National Communication Association's Award for Distinguished Scholarship in International and Intercultural Communication. His other books include "Distinctive Qualities of Communication Research (edited with Patrice Buzzanell), "Narrative and Identity: Studies in Autobiography", "Self and Culture" (edited with Jens Brockmeier), and "Situating Selves: The Communication of Social Identity in American Scenes". Commentary on his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Indian Country Today, Psychology Today (several times and includes a January 2007 article about Finnishness), Vapaa Sana (North America's largest Finnish newspaper), the Finnish American Reporter, the Moscow Times, The Times of India, and Gentleman's Quarterly among other outlets. His most recent books are Reporting cultures on 60 Minutes: Missing the Finnish Line (2017) and Communication in Cross-cultural Perspective (2017) an edited book in the International Communication Association' Handbook Series.
In 2010 he was a featured speaker at the National Academies of Science, presenting a unifying framework for communication inquiry. He has served on the roster of Senior Fulbright Specialists, and was in the Fall of 2005 elected into the Communication Hall of Fame at the University of Washington. In 2014 he was selected Distinguished Graduate Mentor on the Department of Communication, the first so designated. In 2007, he was a finalist for the University of Massachusetts Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest award for teaching at the university; he is recipient of the Conti Faculty Fellowship Award, the university's highest honor for research and scholarship. In 1999, he was selected one of two "Great Teachers" by Wake Forest University for its program in Globalization and Diversity. In 1995, he was one of five scholars in communication to speak at the Smithsonian Institution's Campus on the Mall program. In 1990, he was one of two communication scholars in the United States to be named "Outstanding Professor" by the National Speakers Association, an award recognizing excellence in teaching and research. Recipient of a Hewlett Fellowship for Teaching, Fulbright Fellowships, an Advanced Institute of the Humanities Fellowship, several grants, and a consultant for the United States Congress, he has enjoyed lecturing at the United Nations (in New York and Geneva), at various embassies and other places across the United States, Europe, and Asia.


Present Director of the Graduate Program, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Present Professor, Department of Communication, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst


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Honors and Awards

  • Fulbright Fellowship, 1992
  • Distinguished Fulbright Professor, 2007-2008
  • Bicentennial Chair, University of Helsinki
  • Samuel F. Conti Faculty Research Fellow
  • Outstanding Teaching Lily Fellow

Contact Information

Machmer Hall Room #314
240 Hicks Way
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003
Tel: 413-545-3585

Finnish Studies (1)

Blackfeet (1)

Ethnography of Communication, Meta-communication, Cultural Discourse Analysis, Intercultural Communication, Communication Theory (4)

Native American Studies (1)

Recent Works (4)

Research Works (1)

North American Studies (3)

Environmental Studies (4)

Enthography of Communication (12)