Skip to content

College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

Faculty and Staff Profile

Kristen E. Okamoto

Assistant Professor

Office: Strode 414

Phone: 864-656-1567


Educational Background

Ph.D. Health and Organizational Communication
Ohio University 2017

University of North Carolina at Charlotte 2013

Appalachian State University 2007

Courses Taught

COMM 2010: Introduction to Communication Studies
COMM 2020: Communication Theory
COMM 3640: Organizational Communication
COMM 3500: Group and Team Communication
COMM 3840: Communication in Health Organizations

COMM 6640: Advanced Organizational Communication
COMM 8040: Fundamentals of Health Communication
COMM 8070: Health Communication Campaign Planning and Evaluation
COMM 8110: Qualitative Research Methods

Research Interests

My research and creative activity explore how our experience of health is shaped by organizing practices and in turn assumes meaning within and through diverse bodies. Guided by poststructural feminist and narrative theories, I explore how bodies assume meaning through societal discourse, relational interactions, and institutional practices. I position embodied differences as central to understanding the ways in which we organize selves and resources for social change. My scholarship is motivated by questions including: How are bodies disciplined through organizational practices related to food consumption, exercise, and movement in spatial domains? What are the visible and hidden costs of asymmetrical power relations? In what ways do food's spatial, temporal, and material elements serve to emplot our understanding of health? What social orders are maintained or disrupted through storytelling? Whose interests are served (or not) through dominant narrative practices? Under what conditions can counter-narratives reimagine and/or articulate alternative possibilities?

Research Publications

Journal Articles:

Okamoto, K. E., & Peterson, B. L. (2021). Resurrecting and appending identities: Situating the organization in the stigma management process. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 51(2), 389-409.

Okamoto, K. E. (2020). “First you feast with your eyes:” An aesthetic approach to food and risk. Health Communication, 36(13), 1590-1597.

Okamoto, K. E.(2020). "As resilient as an ironweed:" Narrative resilience in nonprofit organizing. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 48(5), 618-636.

Schraedley, M., Bean, H., Dempsey, S., Dutta, M., Hunt, K., Ivancic, S., LeGreco, M., Okamoto, K. E., Sellnow, T. (authors listed in alphabetical order, not in order of contribution, all authors contributed equally with exception of first author) (2020). Food (In)security communication: A forum exploring current challenges and future possibilities. Journal of Applied Communication, 48, 166-185. doi: 10.1080/00909882.2020.1735648

Okamoto, K. E. (2017). Whose election is it? Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, 6(2), 87-89. doi: 10.1525/dcqr.2017.6.2.87

Thompson, C. M., Frisbie, A., Hudak, N., Okamoto, K. E., & Bell, S. (2017). The meanings of "support" for emerging adults whose parents have chronic health conditions: A lifespan perspective. Journal of Family Communication, 7, 301-318. doi: (lead article)

Wiederhold, A., L. W. Black, Munz, S., Okamoto, K. E. (2017). (Dis)Engagement and everyday democracy in stigmatized places: Addressing brain drain in the rural United States. Western Journal of Communication, 81, 168-187.

Okamoto, K. E. (2016). "It's like moving the Titanic:"Community organizing to address food
(in)security. Health Communication, 32(8), 1047-1050. 10.1080/10410236.2016.1196517

Okamoto, K. E. (2016). Positioning the answerable body in research. Health Communication, 31, 1433-1435.

Jiang, M., & Okamoto, K. E. (2014). National identity, state ideological apparatus, or
panopticon?: A multiperspectival analysis of Chinese national search engine Jike. Policy and Internet, 6, 89-107.

Book Chapters:
Ivancic, S., & Okamoto, K. E. (2021). Food communication and critical place-making in community-based organizing. S. Dempsey (Eds.). In Organizing Food Justice: Critical Organizational Theory Meets the Food Movement. Routledge.

Okamoto, K. E., Chumley, H. (in press). Focus groups/interviewing. In E. Ho, C. Bylund, & J. van
Weert. International Encyclopedia of Health Communication. Wiley.

Okamoto, K. E. (in press). “It’s All A Question of Story:" The Temporal and Spatial Dimensions of
Origin Narratives: Mobilizing Action, Moralizing Bodies. To be published 2021 in Brave Space-Making: The Poetics and Politics of Storytelling. Kendall Hunt.

Okamoto, K. E., & Ivancic, S. (2020). Walking the political line at home. C. S. Davis, & J.
Crane (Eds.). In The Body Politic: Bodily Experience in a Post-Trump World. Rotterdam:
Sense Publishing.

Peterson, B. L., & Okamoto, K. E. (2017). "Involuntary members." In: Farazmand A. (eds.) Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance. Springer.

Titsworth, S., & Okamoto, K. E. (2017). Communication competence. In J. Keyton (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Organizational Communication. Wiley-Blackwell.

Harter, L.M., Broderick, M., Okamoto, K. E, & Crawford, R., & Parsloe, S. (2016).
Communicating health and healing through art. In J. Yamasaki, B. Sharf, & P. Geist-Martin (Eds.), Communicating health: Personal, cultural, and political complexities (pp. 121-140). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Quinlan, M. M., Harter, L. M., & Okamoto, K. E. (2015). The communication potentials and
challenges of arts-based programming in healthcare settings. In M. Brann (Ed.) (2nd ed.), Contemporary case studies in health communication: Theoretical and applied approaches. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing.

Documentary Films:

Okamoto, K. E. (Associate Producer). (2015). Creative Abundance. Feature-length
documentary produced by L.M. Harter & E. Shaw. Athens, OH: WOUB Center for Public Media. First released documentary in series entitled The Courage of Creativity. The series explores connections between art and well-being. Creative Abundance profiles the efforts of activists working alongside individuals with disability who embrace an asset-approach for organizational innovation and social change.

Okamoto, K. E. (Assistant Producer). (2014). A beautiful remedy. Feature-length documentary
produced by L.M. Harter & E. Shaw. Athens, OH: WOUB Center for Public Media. First released documentary in series entitled The Courage of Creativity. The series explores connections between art and well-being. A Beautiful Remedy profiles the Arts in Medicine program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Arts in Medicine offers pediatric, adolescent and young adult cancer patients opportunities to express themselves, connect with others, and transcend or transform their social realities.

College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences
College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences | 116 Edwards Hall