This website is best viewed in a browser that supports web standards.

Skip to content or, if you would rather, Skip to navigation.

Northwest Missouri State University

Brian Swafford

No picture provided



151 Wells Hall


660.562.1947 (fax)

Joined Northwest in 2011


Director of Forensics


  • M.A. in Communication Studies - Ohio University, 2008
  • B.A. in Communication Studies - University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 2004

Courses Taught

  • Fundamentals of Oral Communication
  • Argumentation and Debate
  • Practicum in Debate and Forensics
  • Advanced Practicum in Debate and Forensics

Academic Interests

Sports matter. I can give you the dollars that are spent on all levels of athletic competitions and the huge amounts of time spent attending, watching and thinking about sports by our society. My academic interest in the study of sport is specifically in sports fans. Fans in the stands, on message boards, on talk radio, and at watch parties across the country constitute unique sites of fan community and identity. By immersing myself in fan cultures and analyzing various rhetorical texts that are key to each fan group, I am able to offer insights into how, and perhaps more importantly why, fans come together in celebration of their team.

My interest in fan cultures does not stop with sports. I am also interested in fans of comic books and graphic novels. This fan culture is much more insular since being an avid comic fan does not hold the same social standing as being a sports fan. Yet the popularity of comic book movies, from Superman to Spiderman to Batman to the X-Men, and the prevalence of these characters in popular culture tell us that the images and personas tap into important parts of our social psyche. Examination of the comics themselves sheds light on the interpretive community of readers and immersion in key cultural locations, like the local comic shop and the national comic book conventions, allow me to reveal what these fans find significant about their love of comic books in general and comic characters specifically.

Scholarly Activity

Recent Publications

  • Ledbetter, A. M., Mazer, J. P., DeGroot, J., Meyer, K. R., Mao, Y., & Swafford, B. (2011). Attitudes toward online social connection and self disclosure as predictors of Facebook communication and relational closeness. Communication Research, 38, 27-53.
  • Swafford, B. (2009). Catching a ballgame from the comfort of home: A Center Field Shot to the relationship between baseball and television. Review of Communication, 9, 351-354.

Accepted Manuscripts

  • Swafford, B.  Counterplans:  Rethinking what makes counterplans competitive arguments in policy debate. (Manuscript accepted at National Forensics Journal)
  • Swafford, B. & Hinck, E. A.  Performative fiction:  The use of scripts in interactions between debate competitors and judges. (Manuscript accepted at National Forensics Journal)

Book Chapters

  • Swafford, B. Critical ethnography: The comics shop as cultural clubhouse. In R. Duncan & M. Smith (Eds.), Comics Criticism. (Book accepted by Routledge Publishing)

Student Group Advisement

Northwest Missouri State University Speech and Debate Team

Other Professional Experiences

  • Professional Organization Memberships
    • Pi Kappa Delta Forensics Association
    • National Forensics Association
    • National Communication Association
    • Central State Communication Association
    • Ohio Communication Association
  • Professional Service
    • National Forensics Association
      • Impromptu and Extemporaneous Committees
    • National Communication Association
      • Reviewer, Student Section
    • Central States Communication Association
      • Reviewer, Rhetoric Division
    • Ohio Communication Association
      • Impromptu, Extemporaneous, Constitutional Revision Committee
  • Debate Camps and Workshops
    • Trojan Summer Retreat (Lee County HS, Leesburg, GA) - July 2011
    • Ohio University Summer Speech Camp (Ohio University) - 2007, 2008
    • Ohio Forensics Association Fall Workshop - October 2006
    • Ceramic Mug Debate Workshop (Central Michigan University) - August 2004
    • Fish and Chips Debate Camp (Westover HS, Albany, GA) - 2003-2005
  • Forensics Coaching Success
    • Boise State University, 2010-2011
      • National Champion, Overall Team Sweepstakes - Pi Kappa Delta
      • National Champion, Individual Events Team Sweepstakes - Pi Kappa Delta
      • National Runner-Up, Debate Team Sweepstakes - Pi Kappa Delta
      • Third Place, Season Team Sweepstakes - International Public Debate Association
      • Gold Program, Individual Events and Debate Team Sweepstakes - Northwest Forensics Conference
      • Idaho Speech Conference Champion, Team Sweepstakes
    • Various successes as an assistant coach with Central Michigan (2004-2006) and Ohio University (2006-2010)