My academic interests reflect a commitment to humanistic inquiry and interdisciplinarity at the intersection of media and communications study and critical cultural theory. Specifically, I focus on the history and theory of African American cultural production and media representation. Broadly, my research and teaching engages with questions concerning race as they relate to topics in television, film, and digital media studies, black studies, gender and sexuality studies, performance studies, as well as U.S. public and popular culture.
My first book manuscript Dark Optics: Blackness, Exposure, and Celebrity in Media Culture explores the visibility and visuality of racial blackness as exemplified by crises in and of representation within contemporary media fame. I argue that understandings of public exposure and public image are complicated by blackness in the headlines, and particularly by the “dark side” of publicity or what I call dark optics. The book analyzes famous individuals, popular performances, and memorable moments in early twenty-first century U.S. television and digital media culture in order to demonstrate the multiple ways in which blackness comes to be articulated in the limelight.
I am also working on a second project, tentatively titled Channeling Violence: Television, Blackness, and the Image of Reparations, which explores thecapacity of the television medium to address and provide redress for racial injustice. Moving across questions concerning TV aesthetics, politics, and ethics, this project contributes to film and media studies scholarship focused on the racial politics of representation and critical theory invested in mediations of violence.