| Rhetorical Theory & Criticism | Communication Technology & Visual Culture | Arts & Technology Administration |


Quick Profiles:

Media Research:
My research is at the intersection of art, communication, and technology in contemporary postmodern visual culture.


Media Production:
President of Angry Duck Productions, an LLC in Utah.


Technology & Administration:
Currently Director Of Digital Technology for the School of Mass Communication.


Academic Research Profile

My primary research interests are at the intersection of two areas: media culture and communication aesthetics. More narrowly, the research studies the issues of media – broadly conceived – and technology, both at their intersection and as topics in their own rights, from the interdisciplinary frameworks of cultural criticism, aesthetics, and rhetoric. Using the lens of contemporary communication theory, I draw from both modern and postmodern conceptions of mass communication and critical theory as an approach to conceptualizing the operation of power.  Specifically, I am most drawn to discourse-centered theories of power, particularly as informed by the works of Michel Foucault. 

Coursework, research, and my experience with the arts, technology, and media inform my understandings of contemporary visual culture from multiple points of view.   I combine both rhetorical and critical approaches to visual culture and cultural performance in an effort to understand individuals’ understandings of their own social worlds as well as the broader dynamics of power in which those social worlds are situated.  Rhetorical analysis provides insight into the symbolic world, which necessarily shapes our experiences.  Critical cultural analysis provides insight about the assumptions and types of experiences that constitute cultural production and performance of self and other. I am interested in these issues both as they are put into practice by individuals and as they are framed in broader social discourses. 

As Nick Mirzoeff writes in his Introduction to Visual Culture, “modern life takes place onscreen.” Mediated experience may be the primary form of experience in the 21st Century. Mediated experience is increasingly privileged over all other values. And what are the most important experiences? Fun? Immediacy? My particular research agenda adopts a critical-cultural approach to the discourses surrounding media and technology, which shape the contemporary world of communication, particularly in terms of users’ understandings and experiences of media.  Specifically, my goal is a dissertation project that will explore the increasing evidence that contemporary constructions of identity are media-based and experiential in nature.

I am interested in this project for several reasons:

My dissertation focuses on critical/cultural, post-structural, postmodern, and other contemporary critical rhetorical communication theories as they inform research into media and technology, particularly as it relates to newer Internet-based media and communication methods, and its technologies of production, transmission, and consumption. I will analyze and deconstruct media texts/images and consider the influence of media on individuals and on society. This provides an opportunity for exploring relationships among media texts, culture, power, and the discursive formation of identity.

In short, this research direction affords me the opportunity to engage all of my topical, theoretical, and methodological interests, enriching my understanding of each, while addressing what I feel is an important and often overlooked social issue: our cultural relationship to new media. 

Major Areas of Competency

Contemporary Critical /Rhetorical Theory, emphasizing discourse-based theories of power
Communication Technology and Visual Culture, primarily new media environments
Organizational Trends in Higher Education, especially new technology integration issues
Qualitative Research Methodologies, primarily rhetorical- and critical-based