SJMC Professor Emeritus Hanno Hardt passes away

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Friday, November 4, 2011

This memorial of Professor Emeritus Hanno Hardt was written by Meenakshi Gigi Durham, Associate Professor of Journalism & Mass Communication, The University of Iowa

Hanno Hardt, whose visionary and radical writings had a major impact on critical communication studies, passed away on Tuesday, October 11, at the age of 76. Hanno was an internationally recognized scholar, but he’s best remembered by former graduate students and colleagues as a bon vivant with a formidable intellect. His legendary post-seminar soirées at George’s pub in Iowa City —his favorite dive — were the scene of energetic discourses on politics, aesthetics and theory that ran late into the wee hours; and he opened his home to graduate students and junior colleagues, becoming “Pappa Hanno” to generations of children.

Hanno was Professor Emeritus in the University of Iowa’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He taught at Iowa for 33 years as the John F. Murray Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication. He also held a joint appointment in the Department of Communication Studies. After his retirement from Iowa in 2002, he continued his academic career at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, where he was professor on the Faculty of Social Sciences. He was the founder of EURICOM, the European Institute for Communication and Culture, and active in many professional associations.

His work addressed a wide range of issues in communication and media studies, from critical theory to class politics in the newsroom to visual rhetorics. He published nine books and numerous journal articles that garnered him international renown. In addition to his scholarship on the media, he was an accomplished photographer; his photographic work included long-term projects in County Clare, Ireland, the eastern counties of Iowa, the former East Germany, and Slovenia. It ranges from street photography to documentations of community life, and landscapes. His photographs have been published in newspapers and magazines in the United States, Germany, and Slovenia. He has also exhibited his work in Iowa and in Slovenia.

During his time at Iowa, Hardt chaired more than 50 dissertations and is perhaps best remembered for his generous mentorship and support of graduate students and junior faculty. A Festschrift honoring his work was held at the University of Iowa in 2003, attended by former students and colleagues from all over the world. Hanno was the founder of the Journal of Communication Inquiry, a student-edited scholarly journal committed to critical media scholarship, still going strong since its launch in 1974. The journal is part of his legacy of mentoring and inspiring graduate students, as well as a marker of his passion for cutting-edge, innovative, politically invested media scholarship. 

Hardt was a cherished colleague, mentor and friend. His brilliance, charisma and dynamism has left a lasting impact on the School of Journalism and Mass Communication as well as on the field of media studies.

Hanno is survived by his wife Vida and his three daughters, Katreen, Nicole, and Nina.

A memorial web site where tributes can be posted is online at: