University of Calgary

Richard D. Heyman

  • Professor Emeritus of Education

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Dr. Richard Heyman, a graduate of Cornell, Edinburgh and Columbia Universities, is a professor at the University of Calgary and has taught courses, written articles and papers, and has been a guest lecturer on topics in ethnomethodology and the ontology of the social and material worlds. He was founder and director of the Discourse Analysis Research Group, an international network of scholars who study language use in everyday life. He was a visiting Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge University. He has given the Faculty of Education Distinguished Lecture, and was nominated multiple times by his students for the Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award which he received in 2009. He is currently a member of the editorial board of TEXT, an international journal for the study of discourse. His professional affiliations include the American Sociological Association, and the National Communication Association. He has published his research findings in the fields of ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and communication extensively, including more than thirty chapters and articles in various books and such distinguished journals as Sociolinguistics, Discourses Processes, and Discours social / Social Discourse. He is also the author of five popular books on communication published by Jossey-Bass, Prentice Hall and Penguin.

Research & Scholarly Activity

Dr Heyman has a strong interest in the question: Can we have a science of society, i.e. does it make good sense to assume we can study, understand, and manipulate the phenomena of the social world using the same scientific methods we use to study, understand, and manipulate the phenomena of the physical world? To answer this question he has focussed his research on the ontology and epistemology of social and physical phenomena though the lens of my field, ethnomethodology, in order to examine the way in which the things of the social and physical worlds appear to exist. It seems clear that this question has not satisfactorily been answered in either the social sciences or the humanities, and that further argument and clarification of the relevant issues needs to be done insofar as the majority of published books and articles about the social world read as if it were as valid to use scientific method to research social phenomena as it is to research physical phenomena.


Columbia University

Certificate in African Studies
Columbia University

Columbia University

Diploma in English Studies
University of Edinburgh

Cornell University

Professional & Community Affiliations

Dr Heyman is involved in a number of academic societies, including the American Sociological Association and the National Communication Association. He has also been involved in a number of professional and community arts organizations in Calgary including the Calgary Opera, Morpheus Theatre, Front Row Centre Players, Workshop Theatre, and Storybook Theatre.

  • The National Communication Association (US) where belongs to three specializations: Language and Social Interaction, Communication as Social Construction and the Philosophy of Communication
  • American Sociology Association, Section on Ethnomethodology


Heyman, Richard. "Academic Alchemy: The Social Construction of Social Scientific Knowledge," in Dr Yvett Yun Yue (Ed.) Advances in Social Sciences Research, Sydney, Australia: Australian International Cultural and Education Institute (AICEI), 2013. pp. 1-12.

Heyman, Richard, "Looking for Truth in All the Wrong Places: Why We Can Never Have a Science of Society," in International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2012, pp 17-27.

"The Neurophysiology of Cognition: Language and Social Interaction in the Work of Humberto Maturana," in Florida Communication Journal, Vol. 33, Number 1, Spring 2005, pp.31-41.

"The Sociology of Education in Canada: Critical Perspectives" in Studies in Philosophy and Education, vol. 18, (Winter 2000), pp. 445-455.

Heyman, Richard. How To Say It To Teens. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall Press, 2001, 442 p.


  • Ford Foundation Fellowship for International Development
  • Visiting Fellow, Wolfson College, Cambridge University
  • University of Calgary, Faculty of Education Distinguished Lecturer
  • University of Calgary, Students Union, Teaching Excellence Award
  • Killam Resident Fellowship

Media Work

  • Cosmopolitan Magazine, expert contributor on problems in communication
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