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Robert Agne

Robert Agne

Associate Professor


Communication & Journalism

Robert Agne

Contact Me


112 Tichenor Hall

Office Hours

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:00–3:00 pm


PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder

MA, University of Dayton

BS, University of Dayton

About Me

Oddly, I received my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. I worked for the Department of Defense for 8 years before I decided to go back to school to study communication. I wanted to study communication because I had come to admire and value conversation as an art form. As a student and professor of communication, I have sought to learn as much as I can about that art – color, composition, and shape. Communication to me is the study of language use in social interaction, and find myself exploring that from all angles of my life – in my teaching, my research, and my relationships.

In my research, I gravitate to communication (particularly conversational) challenges people face in ordinary (and no-so-ordinary) situations. I examine talk in ways that shape who we are and how we regard others. I have examined the talk in various situations such as crisis negotiation, 911 emergency telephone calls, psychic readings, peer tutoring, doctor/patient relationships, and friends talking about their daily problems. For years, I have focused on the telephone negotiations between the FBI and a religious group known as the Branch Davidians that took place outside of Waco, TX in the Spring of 1993. My fascination with this data set is that the unstoppable force of religion butts its head against the immovable object of the law – and it is all found in the interactions in these negotiations. 

I have learned to understand and enjoy Auburn football since I first arrived here in 2004, but while everyone is tailgating, I prefer being on the golf course. I have recently taken up tennis and pickleball, thoroughly enjoying both. I love to walk for exercise and I enjoy hiking in the the woods and mountains. On walks I enjoy listening to audiobooks – a lot of fantasy and science fiction, but not exclusively. I sometimes tutor for the Lee County Literacy Coalition, where I especially enjoy tutoring in math.

Research Interests

His research explores naturally-occurring talk in ordinary (and not-so-ordinary) situations where people face communication (particularly conversational) challenges. He examines talk in ways that shape relational and institutional identities.


Agne, R. R. (2024). The Discourse of managing attempted levity in a serious situation: Relational identity-work in the Waco Standoff negotiations. Western Journal of Communication, 88(1), 1-20, Doi:

Agne, R. R. (2021). Action-implicative discourse analysis. In P. Moy (Ed.) Oxford Bibliographies. New York: Oxford University Press. http://doi:10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0271

Agne, R. R., & Muller, H. L. (2019). Discourse strategies that co-construct relational identities in STEM peer-tutoring. Communication Education, 68, 265-286.

Agne, R. R. (2018). “You’re not listening”: Negotiating and problematizing ideal interaction through the metatalk of listening in the Waco Standoff. Western Journal of Communication, 82(3), 356-375.   

Agne, R. R. (2010). Self-assessment as a dilemmatic communicative practice: Talk among psychics in training. Southern Communication Journal, 75(4), 306-327.

Agne, R. R. (2007).  Reframing practices in moral conflict: Interaction problems in the negotiation standoff at Waco. Discourse and Society, 18(5), 549-578.

Agne, R. R., & White, C. H. (2004). The nature of facework in discussion of everyday problems between friends. Southern Communication Journal, 70(1), 1-14.

Courses Taught

  • Comm 2010: Communication in Society
  • Comm 3300: Communication and Conflict
  • Comm 3500: Foundations of Human Communication
  • Comm 3510: Research Methods in Human Communication
  • Comm 4800: Interpersonal Communication
  • Comm 4850: Discourse in Society
  • Comm 7000: Communication Theory
  • Comm 7010: Qualitative Methods
  • Comm 7300: Language and Social Interaction