Dakota Park-Ozee

Dakota E. Park-Ozee

Assistant Professor of Political Communication

What I do

I am an Assistant Professor of Political Communication in the Department of Communication Studies.

Specialization(s)

political communication, news, Rhetoric, Inequality

Professional Biography

Before arriving at the University of Denver in the Fall of 2022, I received a Ph.D. in Communication Studies with a focus on Rhetoric, Language & Politics from the University of Texas at Austin (2022). I also hold an M.S. in communication from the University of Utah (2018) and a B.A. in technical theatre (minors in physics and math) from the University of Alabama (2015). My broad focus is political communication with a specific research interest in discursive hierarchies. I interrogate how narrative, framing, and definition (in both production and dissemination) contribute to political hierarchies that tell people who and what matters in U.S. public and political life.

Degree(s)

  • Ph.D., Communication Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 2022
  • MS, Communication Studies, University of Utah, 2018
  • BA, Technical Theatre, University of Alabama, 2015

Professional Affiliations

  • National Communication Association
  • American Political Science Association
  • Rhetoric Society of America

Research

My primary scholarly focus is on identity and inequality in U.S. political discourse, particularly the tensions among elite and citizen voices and interests. I am concerned with who is heard, how, and under what circumstances in a mediated and elite-driven political culture. A commitment to critically conscious social science that advances understanding and action on pressing political and policy issues drives my scholarship. Knowing the dominant narratives and how they limit discussions of what is politically possible—in terms of problem-solving and legible political identities—is the first step to challenging those narratives and rewriting how politics is discussed and lived in the U.S.

In an ongoing book project, I highlight a top versus bottom political tension that is rarely brought to the fore in a nation primarily concerned with left versus right. Booming class antagonisms of the last few years (e.g., Redditors attempting to take down a hedge fund) and the last decade (e.g., Occupy Wall Street and Senator Sanders’ presidential primary campaigns) highlight not just the role of money in politics but money in political identity. Wealth is the basis of an ongoing framing contest about who holds political power in the United States. What is said about money or wealth and those who do or do not have it can both create and disseminate frames about who and what matters in U.S. politics. Thus, I interrogate the ways elite, press, and everyday discourses frame the U.S. political hierarchy in terms of wealth and wealth-based identities.

These discursive political hierarchies exist for other identity and status groups overlapping with and beyond wealth and class. Much of my research examines elite and mediated representations of political actors from presidents to protestors and the ways their identities and unequal social standing interact with those representations. I also grapple with the same inequalities and contested identities but from the perspectives of everyday individuals.

Areas of Research

campaign communication
wealth
class
voters
candidates
U.S. political discourse
gender
news norms
electoral integrity

Presentations

Park-Ozee, D. (2023). The Year of the Missing Woman. Global Representation in Journalism. Denver, CO: University of Denver Department of Media, Film, and Journalism Studies.
Park-Ozee, D. (2022). "It's Great to Be in..": The Role of Place on the Rhetorical Road to the Presidency. NCA 108th Annual Convention: Honoring PLACE: People, Liberation, Advocacy, Community, and Environment. New Orleans, LA: National Communication Association.

Awards

  • Donald D. Harrington Graduate Fellow, University of Texas at Austin
  • Clock Award Nomination, Services for Students with Disabilities, University of Texas at Austin