You are here

Media History and Culture

  • Portrait of Tim Havens.

    Tim Havens


    Tim’s research and teaching interests include television studies; media globalization; race, ethnicity, and media; and critical analysis of media industries. He is the author of Black Television Travels: African American Media Around the Globe (2013) and Global Television Marketplace (2006); the co-author with Amanda D. Lotz of Understanding Media Industries (2011, 2016); the co-editor with Paul McDonald and Courtney Brannon Donoghue of Digital Media Distribution: Pipelines, Platforms, Portals (2021); and co-editor with Aniko Imre and Katalin Lustyik of Popular Television in Eastern Europe Before and Since Socialism (2012). He is a former Fulbright Scholar to Hungary, and holds affiliated appointments in African American Studies and International Studies.

  • Joy Hayes

    Joy Elizabeth Hayes

    Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies

    Joy’s research and teaching interests include radio studies; media history; Latin American media; media theory; race, ethnicity and media; and Latin American Studies.  She is co-author/editor of War of the Worlds to Social Media: Mediated Communication in Times of Crisis (2013, Peter Lang); author of Radio Nation: Communication, Popular Culture and Nationalism in Mexico, 1920-1950 (2000, University of Arizona Press); and a former Fulbright Scholar to Mexico.  Her scholarship has also appeared in The Radio Journal, The Journal of Radio and Audio Media, Diálogos de la comunicación, and Cinema Journal.  Her current US research examines the legacies of New Deal government broadcasting and explores the construction of “radio bodies” in broadcasting from the 1930s-2000s.  Her research on Mexico investigates community broadcasting and translocalism.

  • portrait of alfred martin

    Alfred Martin

    Associate Professor

    Alfred L. Martin Jr. is a media and cultural studies scholar whose work is concerned with the complex interplay between media industry studies and audience/fandom studies as related to television and film studies, critical black studies, sexuality and gender studies.

    Martin's book, The Generic Closet: Black Gayness and the Black-Cast Sitcom (Indiana University Press, 2021) argues that the black-cast sitcom is an explicit genre, and therefore its engagement with black gayness does not resemble any other contemporary genre. By examining audience reception, industrial production practices, and authorship, the project argues that representations of black gay characters are trapped into particular narrative tropes.

    Martin has published articles in scholarly journals including International Journal of Cultural Studies, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Communication, Culture & Critique, Feminist Media Studies, Popular Communication, and Television and New Media. Martin is currently a Board Member At-Large for the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and serves on the editorial boards of Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies and Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture.

    Martin is currently working on a book about blackness and fandom studies and a co-authored monograph on the documentary Tongues Untied (under contract with McGill-Queen’s University Press).

  • Kembrew McLeod

    Kembrew McLeod

    Professor, Department Chair

    passcode for office hours: 660267

    Kembrew McLeod is a Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa and an independent documentary producer. A prolific author and filmmaker, he has written and produced several books and documentaries that focus on popular music, independent media and copyright law. He co-produced the documentary Copyright Criminals, which premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival and aired in 2010 on PBS’s Emmy Award-winning documentary series, Independent Lens. His first documentary, Money For Nothing, was programmed at the 2002 South by Southwest Film Festival and the 2002 New England Film and Video Festival, where it received the Rosa Luxemburg Award for Social Consciousness. McLeod’s second documentary, Freedom of Expression®: Resistance and Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property, was distributed by the Media Education Foundation—where he also worked as an educational documentary producer. Freedom of Expression® serves as a companion to his book of the same name, which won the American Library Association’s Oboler book award for “best scholarship in the area of intellectual freedom” in 2006. Most recently, McLeod co-authored the book Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling and the anthology Cutting Across Media: Appropriation Art, Interventionist Collage and Copyright Law, both published by Duke University Press in 2011. His fifth book, Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World, will be published by New York University Press on April 1, 2013. McLeod’s music and cultural criticism have appeared in Rolling Stone, SPIN, MOJO, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Village Voice, and The New Rolling Stone Album Guide.

  • Portrait of Jenna Supp-Montgomerie.

    Jenna Supp-Montgomerie

    Associate Professor

    Jenna Supp-Montgomerie earned a Ph.D. in religious studies with a certificate in cultural studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds a joint appointment in Religious Studies and Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. Her research examines the relationships of religion, media, and infrastructure.

    Jenna’s work focuses on entangled relationships of religion and infrastructure in everyday life, particularly as we negotiate technological change. Her first book, When the Medium Was the Mission: The Atlantic Telegraph and the Religious Origins of Network Culture (forthcoming, NYU Press) traces the shaping influence of religion—particularly American Protestantism—on network culture through the story of the 1858 Atlantic Telegraph Cable. In a wide range of activities, from global mission to American public speech to utopian experiments in communal living, religion forged an imaginary of networks as connective, so much so that connection now serves as the primary element of definitions of networks. She has published essays and book chapters on religion and media, including “Planetary Subjects after the Death of Geography” in Planetary Loves: Gayatri Spivak, Postcoloniality, and Theology and “‘If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen Through Your Eyes’: Destabilized Spectatorship and Creation’s Chaos in Blade Runner” in CrossCurrents.

    Jenna teaches courses on critical theory, media history and theory, religion and cultural life, digital media, and American religious history.

    Selected Publications: 

    • When the Medium Was the Mission: The Atlantic Telegraph and the Religious Origins of Network Culture (forthcoming, NYU Press)
    • “Affect and the Study of Religion.” Religion Compass 9, no 10 (October 2015): 335-345.
    • “Planetary Subjects after the Death of Geography.” In Planetary Loves: Gayatri Spivak, Postcoloniality, and Theology, edited by Stephen Moore and Mayra Rivera, 149-167. New York: Fordham University Press, October 2010. (Published under Jenna Tiitsman)
    • “Teaching Religious Diversity and Conflict.” In Education, Innovation, and Discovery: The Distinctive Promise of the American Research University, edited by Wendy Katkin, 52-55. Coral Gables, Fl.: The Reinvention Center at the University of Miami, 2009. (Published under Jenna Tiitsman)
    • “‘If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen Through Your Eyes’: Destabilized Spectatorship and Creation’s Chaos in Blade Runner.” Cross Currents 54, no.1 (2004): 32-47. (Published under Jenna Tiitsman)

    Courses Taught: 

    • COMM/GWSS:6345 New Materialisms
    • RELS:2930 Digital Media and Religion
    • RELS:5400 Methods & Theories in Study of Religion
    • RELS:2080 Public Life in US Religion & Media

    Awards, Honors and Grants: 

    • Public Religion and Media Publics Working Group, Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, 2017-Present
    • Innvations in Teaching with Technology Award, University of Iowa Academic Technologies Advisory Council, 2019
    • Caroline H. and Thomas S. Royster Fellowship, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2007-2012.
    • Distinguished Teaching Award, Royster Society of Fellows, UNC-Chapel Hill, November 2011.
    • Co-Chair, Religion, Media and Culture Group of the American Academy of Religion, 2009-present.
    • Co-Chair and Co-Presider, Religion and Media Workshop, AAR Pre-Conference, Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, 2008-2014.

    Back to top »

  • Rita Zajacz

    Rita Zajacz

    Associate Professor

    Rita seeks to understand the challenges and opportunities available to states as they seek control over the global communications infrastructure. She is interested in the application of enduring legal and geopolitical thinking to new technologies. Her historical book project, Reluctant power: networks, corporations and the struggle for global governance in the early 20th century, analyzes the transition from British to American leadership in global communications by defining “network control” and applying the concept to the early point-to-point radio network. Her new project examines the origins and contemporary manifestations of anonymity online. Rita serves on the editorial board of The Information Society and her research has appeared in the following journals: Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, International Communication Gazette, Media, Culture and Society and The Information Society. On the undergraduate level, she teaches Media and Society, Privacy and anonymity on the Internet and Communication, Technology and National Security. Courses on the graduate level include Internet Histories and Surveillance and Privacy on the Internet.

    Recent publications:  Silk Road: the market beyond the reach of the state. Information Society (2017) 33(1): 23-34.​

    WikiLeaks and the problem of anonymity: a network control perspective. Media, Culture and Society (2013) 35(4): 487-503.

    Reluctant power: networks, corporations and the struggle for global governance in the early 20th century

    Reluctant Power Rita Zajacz cover

    In Reluctant Power, Rita Zajácz examines how early twentieth century American policymakers sought to gain control over radiotelegraphy networks in an effort to advance the global position of the United States. Doing so, she develops an analytical framework for understanding the struggle for network control that can be applied not only to American attempts to establish a global radio network in the early twentieth century but also to current US efforts to retain control of the internet.