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Leading communication, identity scholar to speak on what contemporary films teach about race, African American culture

March 24, 2011

Erica Blust
(315) 443-5891

Ronald L. Jackson II, head of the University of Illinois’ Department of African American Studies and a professor of media and cinema studies, will present the talk “What Do Contemporary Films Teach Us about Race and African American Culture?” on Thursday, March 31, at 6 p.m. in Watson Theater. The talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). Parking is available in Booth Garage.

jacksonScholars have insisted since the burgeoning of critical studies that media come with their own pedagogies. No matter if it is television news, a TV sitcom, a video game, a blockbuster film, a social networking site or a tweet, all media have meaning. Taking samples of the contemporary media landscape as his text, Jackson will look at the role, function and future impacts of contemporary media technologies and suggest that media have advanced messages about race and identity that subtly, and sometimes blatantly, impose propaganda about how we ought to think about gender, race, class and sexual differences.

Past president of the Eastern Communication Association, Jackson is one of the leading communication and identity scholars in the nation. His research examines how theories of identity relate to intercultural and gender communication. In his teaching and research, he explores how and why people negotiate and define themselves as they do.

Additionally, Jackson’s research includes empirical, conceptual and critical approaches to the study of masculinity, identity negotiation, Whiteness and Afrocentricity. His work appears in several journals, including the Journal of Black Studies, Quarterly Journal of Speech, The International and Intercultural Communication Annual and Communication Theory.

Jackson teaches intercultural communication and is author of eight books, including “The Negotiation of Cultural Identity” (Praeger, 1999), “Understanding African American Rhetoric: Classical Origins to Contemporary Innovations” (with Elaine Richardson; Routledge, 2003) and “African American Communication & Identities: Essential Readings” (Sage, 2004). His published theoretical work includes the development of two paradigms coined “cultural contracts theory” and the “black masculine identity theory.”

For more information, contact Amardo Rodriguez, professor of communication and rhetorical studies, at (315) 443-5142 or

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