Professor of English and Rhetoric, English
My primary interest is in the relationship between "mass culture" and the "masses"---the dialectical relationship between our institutions of television, film, radio, and print culture and our social/political formations (Raymond Williams). While some scholars of mass culture continue to ridicule it, and others celebrate it, I am more interested in trying to explain it. I am also interested in the possibility that mass culture does not simply make us "passive consumers." My book on these questions, Radio-Active: Advertising and Activism 1935-1947
, was published 2004. I also write a bi-weekly media column for The Pittsburgh City Paper
. In addition, I am interested in theory, literature, visual art, and music. I have published articles on Civil War medical photographs, the image of the graduate student in popular culture, black radio stations in the South in the 1950s, and the challenges of being a junior professor ("Nice Work if We Can Keep It"). Forthcoming articles include a piece on MTV's Daria, a book chapter on radio critics of the 1930s, and an article for Minnesota Review on the working-class consumerism of True Story magazine in the 1950s. In addition, I am also a graphic artist and a union advocate.