Mediated forms of communication have long been a key shaping force of the human experience. In their many incarnations, media provide tools through which we come to understand the world. Though there are a number of approaches to studying the role of media in society, critical media studies is a broad umbrella that encompasses the study of media texts, technologies, industries, audiences, cultures, and histories with a primary focus on their relation to issues of power in society. Critical media studies research tackles large cultural concerns—identity, economy, politics, technology—with the goal of understanding how mediated experiences shape the social world. Methodologically, it spans the humanities and social sciences.
Though film and communication studies are the most concentrated homes of critical media studies, the pervasiveness and significance of media and technology in daily life mean that media studies topics are salient in a wide variety of disciplines. The Media Studies Research Workshop provides an opportunity for graduate students and faculty from a variety of departments to engage in productive conversations about working in critical media studies traditions. Because media is a topic of interest across a variety of fields, opportunities for interdisciplinary discussion deepen our scholarly perspectives by providing access to approaches and conversations that may be outside of departmental homes.
Media Studies Research Workshop is a bi-monthly space for collaboration and mentoring. Meetings vary in organization: faculty-led workshops on professional development strategies and intellectual matters, presentations of in-process work for feedback by faculty and students, and discussion sessions with visiting scholars. There is also an opportunity for everyone to check in and discuss little research crises we all struggle with at each session. We aim for Media Studies Research Workshop to create a low-stakes environment for sharing and working through troublesome parts of unfinished work that provides a collaborative space for graduate students working in traditions that prioritize non-collaborative research to benefit from the “lab” socialization of disciplines that train through joint publication.