Alumni Panel: The Intellectual Traditions of SMS

By in Current Semester, Lectures on October 12, 2015

Alumni Panel – The Intellectual Traditions of SMS: Susan Murray, Paula Gardner and Laurie Ouellette

Monday, October 19, 2015, at 6:00 pm to 7:50 pm

University Center, 63 Fifth Ave, lower level, room L104

murray2015Susan Murray – Media Histories and Cultures: An Intellectual Trajectory

Abstract: Murray’s MA thesis for the media studies program at the New School was a cultural analysis of daytime talk shows in the 1990s. It was a precursor to her later work on reality television, including a very successful anthology on the topic, edited with fellow media studies alum, Laurie Ouellette. Her first single author book was a historical work and focused on how the television industry utilized performers to brand networks and define television in its transitional years, roughly from the mid 1940s until the mid 1950s. In the years since that book’s publication, she has continued to publish extensively in journals and anthologies on the topic of television and its intersections with other cultural and aesthetic forms, while also expanding her scope to include other visual mediums, such as digital video and photography.

In her talk, Murray will discuss how her experience in the media studies MA program provided her with the interdisciplinary grounding to mix approaches and methods in her work. After providing an overview of her intellectual and career trajectory, Murray will discuss her most recent project, a book length manuscript on the history of color television in the U.S. from 1928- 1970.

Bio: Susan Murray is Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. Her work has appeared in such journals as Public Culture, Screen, The Journal of Visual Culture and Cinema Journal as well as numerous anthologies. She is the author of Hitch Your Antenna to the Stars: Early Television and Broadcast Stardom (Routledge, 2005) and the coeditor of Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture (NYU Press, 2004; second edition, 2009) with Laurie Ouellette. She is currently working on Brought to You In Living Color: A Cultural History of Color Television (working title), a book project under contract with Duke University Press and supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and The NYU Center for the Humanities.

pgardnerPaula Gardner – Science + Art = Media Studies? From Here to There

Abstract: As a student at the New School in the mid 90s, Gardner’s thesis interpreted the behaviours of women diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder as performances, vividly lashing out against misogynistic cultural norms insisting that women are pleasing. In her PhD dissertation, observing the rampant diagnosis of Major Depression, Gardner understood depression as a solution, and located the “problem” in a culture of neoliberalism, hyperproductivity, depression promotions and Prozac. At the time, Gardner’s academic advisors humoured the merging of feminist, media and science studies; but since then, these worlds are routinely mashed up, particularly with aesthetic inquiry.

Gardner’s talk reviews this mashing of methods, specifically incorporating feminist science and post humanist and aesthetic theories to: create aesthetic renderings of biometric bio data in the Biomapping; and data as performance in the Dance your Data project. In Baycrest Body Editing, Gardner discusses how the gesture-based biofeedback platform is employed in therapeutic gaming interventions for seniors with dementia. Gardner also will discuss her participatory art interventions—working with teen refugees on Hyper Migration to create an open digital story telling platform, and with teens living with depression in Mindfulness Technologies to migrate their therapy onto a mobile app that fits into teen lives.

Bio: Paula Gardner, PhD, is the Asper Research Chair in Communication, in the Faculty of Communication Studies and Multimedia, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada and Senior Adjunct Faculty at OCAD University. She co-founded the Mobile Lab at OCADU and now begins the “Pulse lab” at McMaster.   Gardner is PI on various funded projects that bind feminist media studies and participatory media practice in: digital storytelling, documentary, mapping and gesture based experiences. She currently serves as co-facilitator of FemTechNet and has produced four video dialogues as part of our open source curriculum. Gardner’s current work includes a dance improvisation biofeedback platform; a mindfulness therapy app co-designed with teens; and the “hyper-migration” project, a multimedia platform co-developed with refugees to map the context of displacement in post-colonial and feminist terms. Her written scholarship is published in Communication, STS, Feminist Media and HCI journals and can be found at or Gardner is currently working on a book entitled Pace: The Culture of Biometrics.

URL: (search Proofofproofofconcept; Biomapping, Portage, Hyper Migration, Body Editing, Eyes That Don’t See; Dialogues in Feminism and Technology)

Ouellette PhotoLaurie Ouellette – Governing through Media

Abstract: I am an interdisciplinary scholar who works on television, media studies and (more recently) digital culture. My training is in cultural studies, social theory and screen studies, with specializations in feminist film and television, documentary, historiography and media and citizenship. I tend to work on genealogies of the present; I’m interested in placing current developments (clusters of significance) in media culture within broader historical trajectories and power dynamics.  This talk will discuss my work on governing through media, asking the question:  How do institutions like television shape and guide “good citizens,” and toward what ends?

Bio: Laurie Ouellette graduated from the New School’s Media Studies MA Program in 1993, and completed a Ph.D. in Communication Studies with a focus on media and cultural studies from the University of Massachusetts in 1998.  She held academic positions at Rutgers University and Queens College before returning to her hometown of Minneapolis in 2006. Currently, she holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Communication Studies and the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, where she is also affiliated with the Departments of American Studies, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, and the Graduate Minor in Moving Image Studies.  She is author of Viewers Like You? How Public TV Failed the People, co-author of Better Living Through Reality TV: Television and Post-Welfare Citizenship, and author of Lifestyle TV, to be published in March 2016.  She is also editor or co-editor of A Companion to Reality Television, Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture (with Susan Murray) and Keywords in Media Studies (with Jonathan Gray). She has published articles in a range of journals including Television and New Media (where she is Associate Editor), Cultural Studies, and Screen.

WATCH: Understanding Media Studies class #6, Distinguished Alumni panel: Susan Murray, Paula Gardner and Laurie Ouellette, Monday, October 19, 2015

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