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Media Studies

Graduate Media Studies Colloquia

Fall 2020

The Media Studies Department at Queens College convenes regular colloquia to engage colleagues and outside practitioners in conversations about their work, research and scholarship.

Sessions take place on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm Eastern time. All are welcome.

This semester, all colloquia will be conducted by Zoom, at the link:
Or dial in: +1 646 558 8656 US (New York) Meeting ID: 676 874 6508

Dríade AguiarDríade Aguiar, Mídia Ninja (September 9)
Mídia NINJA is one of the main resistance organizations fighting to strengthen democracy, indigenous rights, and rain forest preservation in Brazil. It is a free communication network based on new technologies and a collaborative work logic, producing news films, documentaries, and journalismfrom non-traditional reporters, activists, and witnesses. Today, the network engages more than 7 million supporters and about 500 people directly involved at Born in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Dríade Aguiar is one of the creators and editors of Mídia NINJA, in addition to being one of the communication managers of Fora do Eixo. Since 2014 she has been a member of ELLA - Latin American Meeting of Feminisms, focusing on Afro feminism, LBT rights and anti-fatophobia.


Jonathan JacobsJonathan Jacobs, Thesis Presentation (September 23)
Graduating masters student Jonathan Jacobs will discuss his masters thesis, Fantasy to the Rescue? The children’s middle grade book market in an age of anxiety, political turmoil, and environmental crisis. This tumultuous moment in history, with the rise of fascistic governments, white nationalism, potentially irreversible climate change, and most recently the coronavirus, is having a direct effect on the mental health of pre-adolescents and subsequently the medium of children’s middle grade books in all genres. With a focus on the fantasy genre and its media offshoots, this thesis investigates ways in which the fantasy medium has historically spoken to the anxiety of children, how the magnitude of the current global crises have left adults unable to offer suitable answers or guidance, and investigates how a new fantasy media born from this tumultuous moment, beginning with books, might serve as a powerful immersive tool for middle grade-aged children to better interpret their current dystopian reality and prepare for the future.


Esteban KellyEsteban Kelly, AORTA: Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance (October 21)
Esteban Kelly is a visionary leader and compassionate strategist who inspires organizers by drawing on science fiction, social theory, and collective liberation. Throughout Esteban’s 25 years of professional facilitation, lies a sweeping range of principled organizing. In addition to working for AORTA, he is the Executive Director for the US Federation of Worker Co-ops, also known as the USFWC or simply “the Worker Co-op Federation.”

Uniting close friends and long-time co-organizers, Esteban was inspired to co-create AORTA culling together his creative energy and organizational skills for expanding food sovereignty, economic justice and the solidarity economy, gender justice & queer liberation, and movements for racial justice. He has brought many of these sectors together through his efforts to expand economic democracy, chiefly using the cooperative business model for community ownership and worker’s control. Esteban is a co-founder and former board President of the cross-sector Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA). Internationally, Esteban has advocated for workplace democracy through the ICA (International Cooperative Alliance) and for land reform and other social movements from Canada to Brazil. In 2019 Esteban was elected to the board of the international worker co-op federation known as CICOPA. 


Jessica Gordon NembardJessica Gordon Nembard, Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice (October 28)
Dr. Gordon Nembhard is a political economist specializing in community economics, Black Political Economy and popular economic literacy. Her research and publications explore problematics and alternative solutions in cooperative economic development and worker ownership, community economic development, wealth inequality and community-based asset building, and community-based approaches to justice. She has recently completed a book on Black cooperatives: Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice (2014 The Pennsylvania State University Press). Collective Courage was a finalist for the University of Memphis Benjamin L. Hicks National Book Award for 2014.

She is Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Department of Africana Studies at John Jay College, of the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City, USA, where she is also Director of the McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. She is an affiliate scholar at the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, where she is co-investigator for the “Measuring the Impact of Credit Unions,” Community and University Research Partnerships (CURA) project; and an affiliate scholar with the Economics Department’s Center on Race and Wealth at Howard University.


Sarah PessinSarah Pessin, From Media Bubbles to Borderlands?: Imagining Civic Futures with Connolly and Anzaldúa (November 11)
“We are all wounded, but we can connect through the wound that’s alienated us from others” (Gloria Anzaldúa, Light in the Dark). In her last book, Anzaldúa invites us into a radically inclusive "spiritual activism" guided by a complex embodied sense of rupture and a healing process that is always only in process. This, together with her earlier Borderlands invitation to think more fluidly about identities can help us rethink civic spaces. What does radical inclusion suggest about the possibilities and limits of "media bubbles"? How does this compare or contrast with William Connolly's sense of "respectful agonism" in which we are called to make room at the table for at least some voices from whom we'd rather not hear? And how does all of this help us move beyond liberal "multicultural friendship civics”?

Sarah Pessin is Interfaith Chair and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Denver. She teaches and researches broadly in areas of ethics, politics, philosophies of religion, interfaith civics, critical race theory, and existentialism. She is the author of a book on late ancient spiritual ideas about materiality (Cambridge 2013) and she recently co-edited a new intercultural medieval philosophy reader (Bloomsbury 2019). Sarah is actively involved in interfaith efforts and has recently received grants for this work from the Interfaith Youth Core, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and the Mellon Foundation. Her current work centers on embodiment in politics and the limits of friendship for healthy civics.


Jennifer RauchJennifer Rauch, Re-Imagining Luddism: Heroes and Villains, Cranks and Converts (November 18)
Jennifer Rauch's work examines evolving public perceptions of Luddites over two centuries: as local heroes, public menaces, noble revolutionaries, and early archetypes of environmental and anti-globalization activists. Her talk will explore possibilities for reclaiming the rhetoric of Luddism to embolden conversations about the socio-cultural effects of digital media. Her book, Slow Media: Why Slow is Satisfying, Sustainable & Smart (Oxford University Press, 2018) examines a spectrum of innovative theories and practices that foster social and environmental sustainability in mediated life. It explains how our proliferating media habits are tethered to an unsustainable growth paradigm that depletes human and ecological resources.

I’m a critical/cultural media scholar and educator focused on news audiences; interpretive, affective and ritual approaches to communication; and political economic studies of media. My work explores how people valorize alternative cultures of journalism–such as advocacy, civic, solutions, and Slow journalism–by contrast with traditional, mainstream and “objective” news practices. 



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