Most college students, particularly those in the humanities and social sciences, can expect to work with digital communications in some form. While they can typically acquire technical skills on the job, it is a deeper and broader comprehension of the media landscape—in its past and present forms—that enable them to anticipate the future, and to excel personally and professionally. In my teaching, I work hard to facilitate that learning, so I frame coursework in relevant ways and create an atmosphere that encourages thoughtful learning and discussion. I challenge students to see beyond the limitations of their own social and cultural identities. Finally, I work to provide students with functional knowledge they can use as practitioners in whatever field they choose; I address topics like intellectual property, fair use, free speech, and labor disputes. It's important to not only teach students about the historical significance of these media institutions, but to encourage them to become familiar with the practices that guide them today.

In taking a class with me, students can expect to develop a media literacy that is firmly grounded in a historical economic and social context that will enable them to become conscientious, critical consumers of media, and active, engaged citizens. What exactly does that mean? I ask my students how media texts came to be (in terms of financing, demographic targeting, and marketing), how they were received  (critically acclaimed? controversial? popular? profitable?), and how they impacted culture (assessing their artistic legacy in addition to their effects on both the culture industries and social issues). I also emphasize the critical relevance of media history, encouraging connections across different media, and also between past and present. Through discussions and writing, we examine how industry, cultural values, and political and social institutions have changed and how they remain the same. My overall goal is to help students of every background and interest better understand the nature of their own media practices and to engage more thoughtfully in contemporary cultural debates. 

Communication, Institutions, and Power

Grad Seminar: History of Communication Research

Popular Culture

Media Audiences