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Patricia Aufderheide

University Professor School of Communication

Additional Positions at AU

  • Affiliate Professor, School of International Service
  • Affiliate Professor, History Department
Patricia Aufderheide is University Professor of Communication Studies in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C. She founded the School's Center for Media & Social Impact, where she continues as Senior Research Fellow. She is also affiliate faculty in the School of International Service and the History department at American University, and a member of the Film and Media Arts division in the School of Communication. Her books include Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright (University of Chicago), with Peter Jaszi; Documentary: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford), The Daily Planet (University of Minnesota Press), and Communications Policy in the Public Interest (Guilford Press). She has been a Fulbright Research Fellow twice, in Brazil (1994-5) and Australia (2017). She is also a John Simon Guggenheim fellow (1994) and has served as a juror at the Sundance Film Festival among others. Aufderheide has received numerous journalism and scholarly awards, including the George Stoney award for service to documentary from the University Film and Video Association in 2015, the International Communication Association's 2010 for Communication Research as an Agent of Change Award, Woman of Vision award from Women in Film and Video (DC) in 2010, a career achievement award in 2008 from the International Digital Media and Arts Association and the Scholarship and Preservation Award in 2006 from the International Documentary Association.


BA History (summa cum laude), University of Minnesota; MA History, University of Minnesota; PhD History, University of Minnesota

Languages Spoken
Portuguese, Spanish

Download Resume (PDF)

SOC - School of Communication
McKinley - 323
Contact Info
(202) 885-2069 (Office)

Send email to Patricia Aufderheide

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Center for Media and Social Impact


  • Spring 2019

    • CORE-105 Complex Problems Seminar: The Big Short: Money and Power
    • Description

AU Expert

Area of Expertise:

Copyright and creativity, arts journalism, media criticism, U.S. and international telecommunication policy; press ethics, 1996 Telecommunications Act, telecommunication innovations, information access and equity, free speech, fair use and digital media

Additional Information:

Patricia Aufderheide specializes in the social impact of mass media and communication policies. She is director of AU’s Center for Social Media, which analyzes and showcases media for social justice, civil society, and democracy. She co-authored, with Peter Jaszi, Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright (University of Chicago Press, 2011), and authored Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2007); The Daily Planet: A Critic on the Capitalist Culture Beat (University of Minnesota Press, 2000); and Communications Policy in the Public Interest (Guilford Press, 1999). With Peter Jaszi in the Washington College of Law, she has coordinated since 2004 the Fair Use and Free Speech Project, a project to expand access to the copyright doctrine of fair use. Focusing on independent and international work, Aufderheide is an award-winning film and video critic who has been a juror for the Sundance Film Festival. She has also served on the film advisory board of the National Gallery of Art, and on the board of directors of the Independent Television Service, an organization that produces television programming for underserved audiences. Aufderheide is on the board of directors of Kartemquin Films, a leading independent social documentary production company. She is a member of the editorial boards of numerous publications, including Communication and Law and Policy, and the newspaper In These Times. She has received several life-achievement awards, including in 2010 from Women in Film and Video (D.C.); in 2008 from the International Digital Media and Arts Association, and in 2006 from the International Documentary Association. Her current projects focus on social documentary and intellectual property.

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.