Dr. Tony Adams is a Caterpillar Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at Bradley University. Before Bradley, he worked at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) for nine years. At NEIU, he served as the Director of Graduate Studies (2011-2014) and as Chair of the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre (2014-2017). In 2017, he was honored to be named the Bernard J. Brommel Distinguished Research Professor, the highest research award at NEIU; in 2021, he was honored to be named a Caterpillar Professor, the highest research award at Bradley.
Much of Dr. Adams’ research focuses on sexual diversity and LGBQ+ concerns such as stigma, social support, and self-disclosure. In his first book, Narrating the Closet (Routledge), he identified struggles with disclosing same-sex attraction—often referred to as “coming out (of the closet).” He described experiences of sexuality before, during, and after coming out, as well as demonstrated how the coming out process often never ends as every new audience makes for a new time to disclose. Several of his current projects focus on forgiveness and sexuality by investigating how LGBQ+ persons live with past homophobic offenses.
In addition to this research, Dr. Adams has focused on contributing to the interdisciplinary and international infrastructure for autoethnography, a method that merges the practices of life writing with the practices of ethnography. Underlying all of his research is a commitment to identifying social injustices, challenging harmful cultural norms, and improving relationships.
Dr. Adams has written three books and edited six books, and his writing has been translated from English to Spanish, German, Greek, and Japanese. He is also a co-editor of the Writing Lives: Ethnographic Narratives book series (Routledge) and founding co-editor of the Journal of Autoethnography (University of California Press).
Dr. Adams is a first-generation college student. He received his A.S. (Business Administration) from Danville Area Community College, a B.A. (Radio-Television) and a M.S. (Communication) from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and a Ph.D. (Communication) from the University of South Florida. He attended private Catholic school from age four until eighteen, worked as a bartender at Yellowstone National Park, and has been a vegetarian since 1998. He enjoys softball too.
Tony E. Adams, Ph.D. (he/they)
Caterpillar Professor and Chair
Department of Communication | Bradley University
1501 W. Bradley Ave., CGCC 300 | Peoria, Illinois 61625