My work as a media studies scholar focuses on how celebrities who engage in social action can both reinforce and disrupt gender norms, systems of racial oppression, and neocolonial power hierarchies. With particular attention to hashtag activism, celebrity athletes, youth consumption of celebrity, and celebrity motherhood, I interrogate global media discourses about the efficacy of collective action, symbolic protest, and commodity activism. I most recently edited the Celebrity & Youth collection, which is now available as part of the Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., Mediated Youth Series (Sharon Mazzarella, series editor).
In 2015, I was the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Transnational Studies at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, where I conducted a research project entitled “Canadian Celebrity Activism and Transnational Media in the Niagara Border Region” and taught a course on Celebrity Colonialism. The multi-method research included a reception study with activists and non-activists on both the US and Canada sides of the border, as well as a critical analysis of Canadian and US media coverage of celebrity activists.
I joined the faculty of Salem College in fall 2014 and am currently an Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies and chair of the Communication and Media Studies Department. After years of service within the AEJMC Commission on the Status of Women, I became Chair of CSW and served on the Executive Board of the AEJMC in 2013-2014.
In addition to studying celebrity and activism, I am the co-author – with Dr. Leigh Moscowitz – of the book “Snatched: Child Abductions in US News,” which analyzes over a decade of mainstream news coverage of high profile abduction cases.
My research articles also appear in the journals Celebrity Studies; Communication, Culture, and Critique; Feminist Media Studies; and Journal of Children & Media. Chapters are featured in the collections Circuits of Visibility: Gender and Transnational Media Cultures; Celebrity Colonialism: Fame, Representation, and Power in Colonial and Post-Colonial Cultures; and Beyond Princess Culture: Gender and Children’s Marketing.
As a fiber artist, I also teach an experimental fiber arts course and study Do-It-Yourself subcultures, consumerism, and sustainability.
Reflection for Salem College students during COVID-19 campus closure
Celebrity & Youth book release covered in local media
C-SPAN interview about “Snatched”
Interviewed by C-SPAN Cities Tour
In Media Res contribution, Resistance Narratives Week
Guest on Wisconsin Public Radio
In Media Res contribution, #NoJusticeNoLebron
Blog post for Brock University Social Justice Research Institute
Call for participants in Niagara region celebrity activism research project
Keynote speaker at Crossing Borders Conference
Salem College announces Fulbright award
Fulbright Canada announces cohort
Indiana University announcement of new position