Faculty

Take a moment to get to know our dynamic faculty better and find out what keeps them fascinated in all things FIMS. This is what we found out:

Michael Arntfield, Adjunct/Sessional Professor

Other faculty affiliations: I am currently migrating to other departments on campus and building some new courses. These include over in American Studies where I designed and teach Crimes of the Century, a course to which I’ve exported most of the content from the former FIMS serial killer course (now a campus wide club) which is designed. I also teach several courses in the Writing dept including Writing for MIT and a new course I designed titled Crime Scene to Courtroom: An Introduction to Forensic Writing.

Research interests: My research interests include what I call media forensics, and generally consist of an interdisciplinary look at crime reportage and narratology, technological determinism in violent crime, cyber profiling and social media, police film and television production and theory, the history of detective fiction and literature, dataveillance and predictive policing, social deviance and smartphones, and forensic writing.

Currently reading: I’m currently reading White Jazz by James Ellroy and re-reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: Fav FIMS course would be Police + the Media… First of my own courses I taught and the first course I taught at the prof level after TAing for several years.

Words of advice for students: Understand that FIMS programs represent a liberal arts education the same as many other degree options and that they are not necessarily stepping stones to a career in media per se. Select your courses wisely, do your own background checks on profs and don’t be seduced by course titles or desciptions that sound too good to be true. Also consider minors that will make you flexible and leave with you plenty of options either in terms of employment or grad school. Trust your instincts on who to listen to and what ideas you think are logical and reasonable. While its never too late to reinvent yourself, it isn’t always a good idea. Play nice in the sand box and don’t eat yellow snow.

Robert Babe, Associate Professor

Research interests: Political economy of scholarship, history of communication thought, propaganda & persuasion

Currently reading: Anything/everything by Noam Chomsky

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: Public Opinion

Words of advice for students: Enjoy and treasure these 4 short years when you are (sometimes) encouraged/allowed to think critically and freely.

Andrea Benoit, Lecturer and PhD Candidate in Media Studies

Research interests: Advertising, Consumer Culture, and Cause-Related Marketing

Currently reading: Capital Volume 1, (Karl Marx); A Brief History of Neoliberalism (David Harvey); Inside Marketing: Practices, Ideologies, Devices (Zwick and Cayla); North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell); and the September issue of everything – for all the ads.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: It’s early in my teaching career, and so far I’ve taught only 3214 – but it would be my favourite anyway because it’s about advertising.

Words of advice for students: I like to imagine the finished project and work backwards by creating a list of smaller tasks and a schedule or plan for completing them. Then I work each day with short-term goals in mind. I am a firm believer in physically checking each item off my list – it really feels like I’m making progress and reduces the stress and panic that can set in when the larger task seems overwhelming. Eventually, the thing will get done. It always does.

Mary Bunch, Adjunct Professor

Research interests: Critical, queer and feminist theory. Sexuality studies, sex work, biopolitics, disability, radical democracy, post-human rights.

Currently Reading:

Catherine Malabou, Changing Difference
Sheila Cavanagh, Queering Bathrooms
Giorgio Agamben, Means without Ends, Remnants of Aushwitz 

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: It would have to be Rebels and Rogues, which I have taught for the past four years. But I also taught a class called “Cyborg’s in Visual Culture” that was a lot of fun.

Words of advice for students: Do what you love!  Rigor and hard work are important, but when you have found ways to connect your course work (or any work for that matter) to what you are passionate about, the work is a pleasure, and you are far more likely to demonstrate your expertise, creativity, and originality. In all your work be daring, take risks, and be yourself.

Jacquelyn Burkell, Associate Professor

Other faculty affiliations: Rotman Institute

Research interests: Privacy in online social spaces, online health information, social implications of technology

Currently reading: It’s summer and I’m on holidays — all fiction, all the time!

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: Haven’t had the opportunity to teach in the undergrad program for a while…this will be my favourite course!

Words of advice for students: Have fun, and juice every course for all you can get out of it.

Grant Campbell, Associate Professor

Research interests: Information Organization, Classification, Literature and Information

Currently reading: Conversations with John Schlesinger,
Half a Life, V.S. Naipaul
Rabbit Run, John Updike

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: MIT 3114 Search and Discovery

Words of advice for students:

There are three reasons to take an undergraduate degree:

  1. To get a good job by obtaining marketable skills
  2. To keep a good job over the long term by learning broader theories and concepts that enable one to adapt to changes over the course of one’s career
  3. To be informed, responsible and conscientious citizens, who participate fully and meaningfully in the life of a community, a nation, and the planet.

Don’t let the understandable pressures of #1 overwhelm your attention to #2 and #3.

Christopher Clark, Adjunct Professor

Currently reading: I’m reading a few things right now: Bottom of the 33rd, by Dan Barry, about the longest baseball game ever played; Civilization by Niall Ferguson, about, well, civilization; and I always read and enjoy the current issue of The Atlantic magazine.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: I’ve taught these two FIMS courses in the five years I’ve been at Western. I’ve enjoyed both courses and nearly all the students in them each year

Words of advice for students: Write about something that interests you, unless what interests you is reality TV.

Norma Coates, Associate Professor

Other faculty affiliations: Joint appointment in the Department of Music Research and Composition, Don Wright Faculty of Music

Research interests: Popular Music and Identity, particularly gender and age; Popular Music across and trans-media, particularly television; Cultural History, particularly of the 1960s and 1970s, veering into the 1980s

Currently reading: Right now, Sara Marcus, Girls To The Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution; Sam Binkley, Getting Loose: Lifestyle Consumption in the 1970s; just finished John Lanchester, Capital; and dipping into myriad other books for class prep. Looking forward to reading Jonathan Sterne, MP3 and Murray Forman, One Night on TV is Worth Weeks at the Paramount when my copies arrive.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: I don’t teach too many courses in MIT because of my joint appointment, so I suppose my favorite is Gender and Popular Music because of the great discussions that sometimes happen.

Words of advice for students: Pay attention during class. That is, try to stay off Facebook, Tumblr, stay away from texting, focus.  I too am easily distracted by the wealth of  social networking and the internet, so I understand the urge.  Your professors ask three hours a week of you, and you will never have this concentrated time again to discuss ideas and soak in knowledge.  Try to learn, not just earn a grade.  If you want to go on to a professional school, earn the grade, don’t just expect it. Make the most of the education you can get here; don’t just put in your time or view attending class as an impediment. Participate!

Sally Colwell, Part-time Lecturer

Other faculty affiliations: In addition to teaching part-time in FIMS, I’m also a full-time PhD student in the Department of English. In the fall term, I’ll be working with Professor Jo Devereaux on ENGL 2041, “Special Topics in Drama,” the department’s annual theatrical production for credit. This year we’re presenting Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle, a zany, early modern, metatheatrical comedy that you should all (provided you’re reading this before November 2012!) come see during its November run (yes, this is a shameless plug). Professor Devereaux is the play’s producer/director; I’ll be working as her stage manager.

Research interests: My research falls under the headings of cultural and performance studies. I’m primarily interested in constructions of the female body in film, television, and literature, and in questions of temporality (including queer temporalities, the effects of re-representing the past, and straight-up time-travel narratives). Lately I’m spending a lot of time thinking about televisual performances, especially those occurring on programs slotted into the “reality” genre, and with the concept of the grotesque on reality TV.

Currently reading:

Cities of the Dead, by Joseph Roach
Teaching Critical Thinking, by bell hooks
Hopeful Monsters, by Hiromi Goto
The Donna Haraway Reader, by Donna Haraway
Time Travel: A Writer’s Guide to the Real Science of Plausible Time Travel, by Paul J. Nahin
Philosophy of Time Travel : Edgar Arceneaux, Vincent Galen Johnson, Olga Koumoundouros, Rodney McMillian and Matthew Sloly, edited by Christine Y. Kim
Television After TV: Essays on a Medium in Transition, edited by Lynn Spigel and Jan Olsson
Abel’s Island, by William Steig (with my six-year-old cousin)

As important as what I’m reading is what I’m watching. In the summer of 2012, this is ContinuumSuits, and — yes, I’ll admit it – Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: Since “Deviant Divas” is the only FIMS course I’ve taught so far, I’m going to go with “Deviant Divas”! This course was a lot of fun to deliver in 2012; I’m really looking forward to working with students on it again in 2013.

Michael Daubs, Assistant Professor

Research interests: Digital media and culture; User-generated content, produsage, and digital labour; Media and democratization; Participatory journalism, counter-public spheres, and inter-media agenda setting; Visual culture, media aesthetics; Remediation, mediatization

Currently reading: Currently, for research: David Harvey, Rebel Cities; Jodi Dean, Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies; Friedrich Krotz und Andreas Hepp (eds.), Mediatisierte Welten: Forschungsfelder und Beschreibungsansätze; On deck: Nick Couldry, Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice

For fun: Volker Klüpfel und Michael Kobr, Seegrund: Kluftinger’s dritter Fall

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: Answering this question is like being asked to pick your favourite pet. Each class is interesting in its own way, and I’ve structured the classes I’ve made to complement and build on each other, so it’s difficult to pick a favourite. I like them all (which is why I teach them).

Words of advice for students: Make it interesting for yourself: learn about things you love or hate. Oh, and watch more TV.

Carole Farber, Associate Professor

Other faculty affiliations: Women’s Studies and Feminist Research

Research interests: Ethnographic, feminist and critical perspectives on: New Media Cultures and Technologies, Performance, Cultural Production, 3D, and a continuing interest in India, Canada and Online research venues

Currently reading: Course books, certainly.  Otherwise I always have several other fiction and non-fiction books on the go in one or more of my ereaders.: Literature and other genres, especially mystery and sci-fi.  At present:  Perils in Papberback ( a bibliophile mystery); Kevin Kelly’s  What Technology Wants; Caarlos Bueno’s Lauren Ipsum; Rebecca Cantrell’s  A Game of Lies; Joseph Turow’s  The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry is Defining your Identity and your Worth —-  among others.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: Ecotourism and the Media, and also the courses I teach in and about Virtual Worlds

Words of advice for students: Remember the creative and seemingly outrageous;  Learning is serious and critical play.

Kane Faucher, Assistant Professor

Research interests: Semiotics of media, ontologies of the virtual, cryptanalysis, digital narcissism, neoliberalism, comment culture, metastasis.

Currently Reading: My reading habits are as eclectic as my research practices, which means having piles of books in every room of my house to ensure that I’m always digging into something. At present: Philosophy and Simulation: The Emergence of Synthetic Reason by Manuel DeLanda, The Enigma of Capital by David Harvey, Algebraic Shift RegistersThe Bolsheviks by Adam B. Ulam, The Recognitions by William Gaddis, Emergence and Embodiment: New Essays on Second-Order Systems Theory (various authors).

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: a class is as rewarding as the students that enroll in it. Content-wise, I enjoy them all, but if forced to choose one it would be Propaganda in Print and Visual Culture.

Words of advice for students: Take ownership of your education; read as much as you possibly can; geek out with your classmates over the material; grades are earned and never given; your prof is more of a sherpa than a despot.

Estee Fresco, Lecturer

Research interests: My primary research interest is related the ways in which sport, consumption and nationalism intersect. I focus primarily on the Olympics in Canada.

Currently reading: I’m currently reading a fascinating book called Feeling Canadian: Television: Nationalism and Affect by Marusya Bociukiw.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: I’ll tell you once I have taught MIT2404, Sport, Media and Culture.

Words of advice for students: My advice for students is, your best learning will happen when you challenge yourself and try on ideas that may at first seem intimidating or difficult to understand.

Romayne Smith Fullerton, Associate Professor

Other faculty affiliations: Women’s Studies and Feminist Research

Research interests: As an interdisciplinary scholar, the broad scope of interests that animates my teaching also outlines my research areas. Generally speaking, I employ a feminist cultural studies approach to considerations of women and/or minorities in mainstream media, journalism and popular culture. I have written about how fairy tales and cultural myths frame criminals and victims in problematic ways (for example, Karla Homolka and Leslie Mahaffy). I have also published work about representations of First Nations people—specifically considering the Ipperwash crisis—and argued that despite ‘best practices,’ newsrooms have inherent biases that make ethical coverage nearly impossible. Recently, I have also become interested in the ways that crime is covered—both in North America and abroad. Using a feminist ethic of care framework, I am writing a series of articles that considers the ethical and cultural implications of what differing newsroom practices of naming or not naming alleged perpetrators and victims ‘means.’ In 2010, this research encompassed Sweden and Holland and this year, the data collection has expanded to include England, Ireland and Wales. In addition, I am editing a book about Canadian coverage of crime that brings together both scholarly and journalistic perspectives.

Currently Reading: Jenny Diski’s Skating to Antarctica

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: Women in the media (MIT 3210)

Words of advice for students: Please do your readings for class; they are an intrinsic part of course material. But also, please read as much as you can–newspapers, novels, magazines (not the fashion variety)–it will help both your own writing and help stimulate your own ideas (about which you can write).

Amanda Grzyb, Assistant Professor

Other faculty affiliations: Member, African Institute; Core Member, Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction; Affiliate, Women’s Studies and Feminist Research; Associate Scholar, Holocaust Literature Research Institute

Research interests: Holocaust and Genocide Studies; Social movements and Media; Homelessness and Poverty; American and African-American Literature; Theory and Criticism

Currently Reading: Timothy Snyder Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stali

Favourite undergraduate FIMS course to teach: Communicating Holocaust History – fourth year seminar

Laurie Harnick, Assistant Professor

Other faculty affiliations:  PhD from Western’s Department of English. Also teach Film1020E (Introduction to Film) at King’s University College

Research interests:  American Literature, Film Studies, Media Studies

Currently reading:  A biography of Mary Todd Lincoln.

Favourite undergraduate FIMS course to teach:   Depending on the course I’m teaching at the time, my “favourite” will change.  I really do enjoy teaching Comfort Television because it arose out of a paper I delivered at the Media Lab at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. in 2002 about the effects of 9 11 on Television consumption and production.

Words of advice for students:  Remember why you are here and try not to lose the excitement and promise you felt just before you first came to University. Don’t forget how fortunate we are!  We are in a place where so much is possible and we are only limited by the amount of energy and commitment we “bring to the table.”  We are in a place where we can learn virtually ANYTHING; a place where we can meet people from all over the world; a place that can open our minds (and often our hearts) to new ideas, new places, new people, etc. etc.  In short, be LIMITLESS!

James Hildebrand, Assistant Professor

Other faculty affiliations: I teach at MOS and in the philosophy department as well.

Research interests: Emerging laws regarding multimedia and information – but I am not a full time professor, I work as a lawyer and executive director at a legal clinic in the daytime.

Currently Reading: “Into the Dark Continent” by Henry Morgan Stanley

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: I enjoy teaching both of the above courses.

Words of advice for students: When writing, be sure to say what you mean.

Susan Knabe, Assistant Professor

Other faculty affiliations: I am jointly appointed with the department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research

Research interests: Media representation of sexuality and gender; constructions of socially and sexually dissident women (aka bad girls); critical theory; media and cultural production around HPV and HIV/AIDS

Currently Reading: Folly by Laurie King

Favourite undergraduate FIMS course to teach: I have been really lucky and all of the courses I teach at an undergrad level have been great.

Words of advice for students: Being an undergrad student is hard work and there are a lot of pressures on you, but it is also an amazing opportunity to engage with ideas and people. Embrace these opportunities and challenge yourself. Don’t settle.

Eric Lohman, PhD Candidate, Lecturer

Research interests: My research interests generally revolve around issues of gender and labor. In the past I have done research into De Beers diamond advertising, wedding reality television, and makeover shows.  My research has moved slightly away from that topic to include more analysis of the exploitation of women in domestic labor.

Currently Reading: Wow, I am reading at least four or five books at any time. The books on my nightstand are: Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and the Global Order by Noam Chomsky, Immaterial Labor by Maurizio Lazzaratto, One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead, and Watchmen, the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Now I feel like a nerd.

Favourite undergraduate FIMS course to teach: Political Economy of the Media.

Words of advice for students: Chris Hedges has the best advice for young students, so I’ll just quote him: “Education is about making minds, not careers.”

Douglas Mann, Adjunct/Sessional Professor

Other faculty affiliations: I’m teaching Sociology at UWO this summer, and taught Sociology at King’s last year. I’ve also taught in Philosophy, Film, Poli Sci and English.

Research interests: Pop culture in general, especially comics and scifi. Also theory of technology, education.

Currently reading: Lots of comics for the book I’m writing, Great Power and Great Responsibility, e.g. Planetary, Transmetropolitan, others. Also Mark Bauerlein, ER Burroughs’ John Carter novels, Twenge and Campbell’s The Narcissism Epidemic.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: By a hair, Science Fiction TV.

Words of advice for students: Only study things in university that interest you, and just say no to texting in class.

Vincent Manzerolle, PhD Candidate, Instructor/Lecturer

Research interests: Mobile Media & Wireless Connectivity; History and Political Economy of Information and Information Technologies; Surveillance Studies: Machine Learning & Communication; Databases & Data Mining; Economics and Technologies of Attention

Currently reading:

What is Media Archaeology? (2012) by Jussi Parikka;
Too Much to Know: Mapping Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age (2011) by Ann M. Blair;
Turing’s Cathedral (2012) by George Dyson;
The Original Accident (2007) by Paul Virilio;
Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization (2004) by Alexander R. Galloway.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: So far I’ve enjoyed each one (Mobile Media & Global Political Economy of Information)

Words of advice for students: ‘Don’t waste time obsessing over your grades. Instead, obsessively seek out those areas of learning that you’ll be most passionate about.’

Ajit Pyati, Assistant Professor

Research interests: International library development; critical development studies; international service learning

Currently reading: I have been reading a lot of books on yoga philosophy recently, as well as books by James Hollis on Jungian depth psychology.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: A tie between MIT 1700 and MIT 3902: Alternative Media

Words of advice for students: “Know thyself.”  This is a seemingly simple and self-explanatory phrase.  But it is quite possibly the most important task that every person has to do, both in creating a personally meaningful life and a better world.

Anabel Quan-Haase, Associate Professor

Other faculty associations: Sociology

Research interests: Internet and Society, privacy, Facebook, digital online networks, serendipity.

Currently reading: The Travels and Adventures of Serendipity: A Study in Sociological Semantics and the Sociology of Science, Robert K. Merton & Elinor Barber

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: G LEC 001, Social Networking in Everyday Life: Social Relations, Social Movements, and Privacy

Words of advice for students: Enjoy your time at university, it will form who you are as a person.

Diane Rasmussen-Neal, Assistant Professor

Research interests: For my dissertation, I investigated the online photograph representation, search and retrieval needs of photojournalism professionals, and associated implications for system design. Related to this work, I am currently undertaking research on tagging of non-text documents such as photographs and music, especially emotion-based tags. How can affect or emotion-based facets of documents be used to connect people with documents in new and interesting ways?
Developing engaging, effective online mental health information resources for emerging adults comprises my other main line of research. We are currently running different projects that inform this work: search habits, the semantic gap in lay and clinical vocabulary, social networking for peer support, self-stigma, and the role of video games in improving mental health.

Currently reading: “My life as a night elf priest: An anthropological account of World of Warcraft” by Bonnie Nardi.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: The only undergraduate FIMS course I’ve taught so far is MIT 3852 Social media and organizations, but I enjoyed it tremendously.

Words of advice for students: Take advantage of opportunities!

Chris Richardson, Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Journalism, Popular Culture, and Crime.

Currently reading: Bourdieu, Foucault, bell hooks, Cornel West

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: 3438F: Journalism and Popular Culture

Words of advice for students: Ask: What is not being asked? That’s usually a good start. It’s what I try to do.

Kamran Sedig, Associate Professor

Other faculty affiliations: Department of Computer Science

Research Interests: Design of information tools that support people when performing cognitive activities; Human-information interaction design; Interaction design

Currently reading: Many books

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: Design of digital cognitive games

Words of advice for students: Undergrad years are very important years in shaping your character. Take advantage of your years here to develop different facets of your character.

David Spencer, Professor

Other faculty affiliations: Along with a course I teach in journalism, I am accredited to all of the programs in the faculty such as Media Studies, Library and Information Science and Journalism.  Keeps one off the street.

Research Interests: I am primarily a journalism historian with specialization into the Victorian and Early twentieth century journalism.  I have written a book on The Yellow Journalism and as I write this, I have two more books in the works both of whom should be out soon.  One book, Drawing Borders, is a history of Canadian-American relations in the Victorian period as seen through the eyes of editorial cartoonists.  I have also published material on the rise of trade union newspapers, visions of war, the difficult subject of race just to name a few topics.  There are more.

Currently reading: I am working my way through Mark Twain’s biography which was just released this year.  I am also working on a new book called The Titanic Age by communications historian Paul Heyer.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: I really do like them all but MIT4031 still tops the list.  The course as I noted above looks at social issues as seen in editorial cartoons, many of which are over a century and a half old.

Words of advice for students: Buy the books for the course.  They are a life time investment.  Go to classes.  Many good things happen there.  Get to know where your professor’s office may be.  It is shocking how few students do not show up there until the last week of a semester.

Warren Steele, Assistant Professor

Research Interests: My current research interests include: the philosophy of technology; technics and responsibility; the politics of love, memory, mourning, and melancholia; critical race theory.

Currently reading: Some Jewish philosophy. And the novels of Ernst Junger.

Favourite undergraduate course to teach: Difficult to say. But running “Race, Ethnicity, and Technology” has been incredibly rewarding. Especially last winter.

Words of advice for students: We are all so young. Beyond this, I have none to give.