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PhD in Communication

Core Faculty

Kathryn Montgomery

Professor Kathryn Montgomery, Ph.D.
Doctoral Program Director
Montgomery is a well-known media scholar and leading public policy advocate. Her recent book, Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet (MIT Press, 2007), explores the myriad ways that young people are engaged with digital media and the influence these technologies have in their daily lives.  The book also addresses a range of key public policy debates about children and media, documenting several major disputes during the 1990s and offering analysis of critical issues such as Internet pornography, television violence, and commercialization.  She is also the author of Target: Prime Time (Oxford University Press, 1989). Her current work focuses on the role of digital media in the health behaviors of children and adolescents.

Faculty Profile

American University School of Communication professor and Center for Social Media Director Patricia Aufderheide

University Professor Patricia Aufderheide, Ph.D.
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 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 (the Guilford Press, 1999).

Faculty Profile

W. Joseph Campbell, professor of communication

Professor W. Joseph Campbell, Ph.D.
Campbell is a journalism historian with a PhD from the University of North Carolina, who joined the AU faculty in 1997, after more than 20 years in professional journalism.  Assignments in his award-winning career took him across North America to Africa, Asia, and Europe.  Campbell is the author of five books, including The Year That Defined American Journalism: 1897, The Clash of Paradigms (2006), which tells the story of a decisive year in American journalism and Getting It Wrong, which was published in June 2010 by University of California Press.

Faculty Profile

Photo: Declan Fahy

Assistant Professor Declan Fahy, Ph.D.
Fahy has reported extensively on science, health, and environmental issues, as well as many other topics, for the Irish Times, Irish Daily Mirror and Longford Leader newspapers.  His current scholarly research examines media representations of celebrity scientists such Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking.  Other research projects have analyzed media coverage of health policy, opinion and commentary journalism, business reporting, and the reporting of transnational political institutions, such as the European Union.  His peer-reviewed research appears in a number of outlets including Science Communication, Public Understanding of Science, Health Promotion Practice, Journalism Studies, and Irish Communications Review.

Faculty Profile

Rodger Streitmatter

Professor Rodger Streitmatter, Ph.D.
Streitmatter is a cultural historian who is a leader in exploring how the media have helped to shape the way Americans think and act. The most recent of his seven books is From “Perverts” to “Fab Five” ~ The Media’s Changing Depiction of Gay Men and Lesbians. Individual chapters focus on such topics as the film Brokeback Mountain and the TV show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.  Streitmatter’s other books include Sex Sells! and Mightier than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History.

Faculty Profile

John Watson

Associate Professor John Watson, Ph.D., J.D.
Watson focuses on journalism ethics and law.  Grounded by more than two decades of experience as a professional journalist, he holds a J.D. degree from the Rutgers School of Law and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was awarded a Freedom Forum fellowship.  He is the author of a number of scholarly book chapters and articles on media law and ethics and is the author Journalism Ethics by Court Decree: The Supreme Court on the Proper Practice of Journalism, which analyzes how the U.S. Supreme Court treated issues of journalism ethics in cases decided from 1947 until 2007.

Faculty Profile

Associate Professor Rhonda Zaharna, Ed.D
Zaharna specializes in intercultural and international strategic communication, with an emphasis on culture and communication in the Arab and Islamic regions.  She has advised on communication projects for multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations, diplomatic missions, and international organizations, including the United Nations, World Bank, and USAID.  She has testified before the US Congress and addressed diplomatic audiences and military personnel in the United States and Europe on cross-cultural communication and public diplomacy. She is author of Battles to Bridges: US Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy after 9/11 (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010).

Faculty Profile

American University School of Communication Professor Laura DeNardis

School of Communication Professor Laura Denardis

Professor Laura DeNardis, Ph.D
Laura DeNardis is a globally recognized Internet governance scholar whose research addresses Internet policy and technical design issues related to communication rights and freedom of expression online. DeNardis comes from Yale Law School, where she held a joint research and teaching appointment and served as Executive Director of the Yale Information Society Project. The most recent of her four books is The Global War for Internet Governance (Yale University Press 2014). DeNardis earned a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Tech, an MEng from Cornell University, an AB in Engineering Science from Dartmouth College, and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from Yale Law School.

Faculty Profile

Deen Freelon

Assistant Professor Deen Freelon
Deen Freelon joins SOC as Assistant Professor in Public Communication. His expertise is in mapping and analyzing online content, behavior, and outcomes especially related to political conversation. Freelon is the author of three journal articles including one in New Media & Society; is a second author on a forthcoming article at the Journal of Communication; and is founder and contributor to Blackacademics.org. He also served as a technology trainer, web designer, and multimedia consultant at Duke University. He has an MA in Communication from the University of Washington and a BA in Psychology (with honors) from Stanford University. Deen Freelon has completed his doctoral work at the University of Washington and began teaching at American in Spring 2012.

Faculty Profile

SOC Ben Stokes

Benjamin Stokes
CMSI, Civic Media Research Fellow

Benjamin Stokes is a researcher at USC, where he is completing his PhD on civic learning, participatory mapping and real-world gaming. Previously, Benjamin served at the MacArthur Foundation as a program officer in their $50M portfolio on Digital Media and Learning. Benjamin is a co-founder of Games for Change, the branch of the serious games movement which seeks to advance social change. Benjamin has also led design teams on games and e-training, reaching more than 150,000 youth at the nonprofit MercyCorps/NetAid. In educational technology, Benjamin produced virtual field trips and research tools for their network of more than 43,000 high schools at the ProQuest/Bigchalk educational publishers. Benjamin will be joining the SOC faculty full time in Fall 2015.