Theorists of many stripes classify ritual as a communicative mode. This seminar asks how we know a ritual when we see one. What are rituals for? If rituals do things, what do they do? Is ritual especially authentic compared to other communicative modes? Especially primitive? Is the term useful for labeling events in industrialized societies? How is ritual related to mass media? What constitutes a successful ritual? What ritual typologies are most useful for communication studies? What methodological and conceptual difficulties dog ritual studies?