The popular media of television, film, magazines, news, books, games, music, social media, and the like have a profound effect on our interpretation of the world and on the production of culture. Research in this area focuses on how the production of these cultural goods influences culture, identity, power, politics, and political discourse around the world. It explores how these influences have changed across time and technologies.

Recent research by our faculty has addressed:

  • The production of culture through popular media
  • Critical cultural communication
  • The melding of politics and popular culture
  • The role of music in social change
  • Historical and contemporary consumer culture
  • Branding
  • Video games and gaming culture 

Popular communication news

January 2021: Dr. Devon Powers’ book On trend: The business of forecasting the future is selected as one of the Choice Outstanding Academic Titles for 2020.

December 2020: M&C doctoral student Kelly Ryan successfully defends her dissertation “Transjacking television: Transgender representation on American narrative television from 2004-2014.”

October 2020: Dr. Brian Creech’s article "Exploring the politics of visibility: Technology, digital representation, and the mediated workings of power" was awarded the 2020 Mouton d'Or Article of the Year prize from the journal Semiotica, the official journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies.

October 2020: M&C doctoral student Aiden Kosciesza presents his paper, "Turning points in identity formation for Japanese media fans," at the 2020 Global Fusion conference.

October 2020: M&C doctoral student Aiden Kosciesza presents his paper, "'It’s do or die': Cultural labor, competitive reality TV, and the reproduction of neoliberal capitalism" at the 2020 conference of the New York State Communication Association.

October 2020: Dr. Brian Creech co-authors “Interrogating LeftTube: Contrapoints and the possibilities of critical media praxis on YouTube” in the journal Television & New Media.

August 2020: Dr. Adrienne Shaw co-authors “Beyond texts: Using queer readings to document LGBTQ game content” in the journal First Monday.

10/16/19: Dr. Devon Powers publishes new book, On trend: The business of forecasting the future, with University of Illinois Press.

10/7/19: Dr. Adrienne Shaw speaks at Bradley University in an event co-sponsored by the Interactive Media Department and the Common Ground (LGBTQ+) student organization.

9/25/19: Dr. Adrienne Shaw and colleagues publish an annotated bibliography on Feminist and Queer Game Studies as part of Oxford bibliographies in communication.

8/27/19: Dr. Geoffrey Baym publishes “‘Think of him as the president’: Tabloid Trump and the political imaginary, 1980-1999” in the Journal of Communication.

4/15/19: Dr. Carolyn Kitch publishes chapter “‘Taking Back’ a Post-Conflict City: Tourism, Anniversary Memory, and the New Histories of Belfast” in the book Communicating memory and history

4/15/19: Dr. Adrienne Shaw and doctoral student Hocheol Yang publish article "Counting Queerness in Games: Trends in LGBTQ Digital Game Representation, 1985-2005" in the International Journal of Communication.

4/15/19: Dr. Adrienne Shaw publishes book chapter "Leisure Suit Larry and LGBTQ representation" in the edited anthology How to Play Video Games from NYU Press.

4/15/19: Dr. Adrienne Shaw publishes the Rainbow Arcade Catalog. The catalog was published by winterwork in Berlin as part of the exhibit at the Schwules Museum she co-curated, and was just released to Kickstarter backers.

4/15/19: Dr. Larisa Mann publishes article “Sonic Publics| Booming at the Margins: Ethnic Radio, Intimacy, and Nonlinear Innovation in Media” in the International Journal of Communication.

4/1/19: Dr. Larisa Mann presents “Innovating In and Out of Time: Sound Systems’ Challenges to Citizenship” at the Global Reggae Conference, University of the West Indies, Kingston JA

12/1/18: Dr. Carolyn Kitch publishes article “A Future from the Past: Perspectives from Memory Studies” in Society of Americanists Review


Geoffrey Baym, Brian Creech, Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Carolyn Kitch, Matthew Lombard, Larisa Mann, Wazhmah Osman, Devon Powers, Adrienne Shaw

Typical courses offered:

  • Emerging media and communication
  • Communication institutions
  • Critical analysis of mass media
  • Media, identity, and representation
  • Media and social memory
  • Visual communication
  • Critical textual analysis
  • Historical methods
  • Media ethnography
  • Digital qualitative research methods