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The Department of Communication at Georgia State University offers programs of instruction in journalism, film and media studies, public relations, rhetoric and speech communication, theater, international communication, and media production. The intellectual and creative energies activated by this rich range of activity make the department an ideal place to prepare for a professional career in communication or education and to undertake research that makes a difference. Students are mentored by a highly acclaimed and passionate faculty that includes Emmy- and Sundance-award winning media makers and accomplished and prolific scholars, and accomplish this work in state of the art laboratories and production facilities.

Recent faculty work addresses the central dynamics of the entertainment and information industries, and the possibilities that enhanced systems of communication might play in creating a more just and secure world:

Oral Advocacy and Debate

With funding support from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Einhorn Family Foundation, and the Atlanta Public Schools, Carol Winkler and colleagues are documenting the extraordinary gains that training in oral advocacy and debate can make in improving educational outcomes, especially for students in the most socioeconomically challenged schools. These efforts were cited by a White House task force as modeling best educational practices for young persons at risk.

International Communication

The Center for International Media Education, founded and led by the acclaimed media historian Leonard Teel, trains journalists from around the world in how to productively cover and intersect with nongovernmental organizations while undertaking ongoing research relating to international communication. CIME has received more than a million dollars to implement these outreach efforts, especially in the MENA nations (particularly Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Lebanon). Amelia Arsenault led an international team supported by the U.S. Institute of Peace to specify best practices for journalistically covering conflict situations, including regions stressed by war, natural disasters, and severe poverty. Hongmei Li has organized an Atlanta-regional consortium of international communication scholars to generate new insights, with first projects focused on the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations.

Media Industries

In the media industries area, Alisa Perren edits a widely read website, In Media Res, that provides a forum for the world’s leading media scholars to debate the implications of entertainment programming. Her new book explores the history of Miramax, and the transitions imposed by economic changes on independent film. Sharon Shahaf is conducting field research to examine how global entertainment is shaping Israeli TV. And Ethan Tussey is studying how 24-7 access to entertainment and information screens is transforming the workplace.

Rhetorical Studies

Scholars in the department’s top-twenty rhetorical studies area are focused on understanding how political language shapes identity, public life, and patterns of public deliberation. Tomasz Tabako has completed a major project that explores how rhetorical choices shaped Poland’s Solidarity movement, and M. Lane Bruner’s new book examines how neoliberal states shape personal identity by their manipulations of cultural and artistic life. Mary Stuckey has completed archival work aimed at understanding how Franklin D. Roosevelt managed to use political speech to enable the vast expansion of federal governmental power during the Great Depression and World War II years. James Darsey, whose work on prophetic rhetoric is among the most acclaimed in the field, is examining cosmopolitan rhetorics, and Nathan Atkinson the intersections of public discourse and visual culture.

Media Studies

A group of media scholars are at work to better explain how mass mediated communication shapes the wider culture. Cindy Hoffner’s work on media depictions of mental illness, Jaye Atkinson’s research on communication and aging, Yuki Fujioka’s examination of media ethnic stereotyping, Holley Wilkin’s efforts to account for the power of the media to shape health outcomes, Ann Williams’ studies on the role of public opinion on political behavior, and Marian Meyers’ award-winning research on mediated gender and racial portrayals exemplify some of the ways in which GSU communication scholars are focusing on the implications of diversity.

Moving Image Studies

Faculty in the moving image studies program are taking account of the impact of cinema, television, and new forms of mass mediation on public culture. Alessandra Raengo has completed a book on race and visual culture. Kathy Fuller-Seeley, a highly accomplished media historian, has undertaken ongoing research on film history and the broader cultural and economic contexts of the industry’s past and present. Greg Smith’s book on Ally McBeal proposed a dramatic new framework for understanding the aesthetic possibilities of narrative television. Area faculty recently hosted an international conference to examine alternatives to theoretical accounts focused on representation, an event entitled Rendering the Visible.

These examples barely scratch the surface. The Department of Communication leads two interdisciplinary research teams: one organizing artistic and humanistic scholarship on new and emerging media with partners in Art, Music, and English; another concentrated on the prevention of transcultural conflict undertaken in concert with colleagues in Religious Studies, Computer Science, and Middle Eastern Studies. The Digital Arts Entertainment Laboratory, headed by Kay Beck, is one the region’s leading centers for media production. And the department also coordinates significant instructional programs in theatre and film production. Professors in these areas regularly produce films (documentary, narrative fiction, and experimental) that achieve acclaim on the film festival circuits and coordinate inventive theatrical productions that engage large local audiences.

Graduates from GSU communication programs today occupy key positions in the public relations, corporate communication, film/TV, theater, and news industries and have achieved regular recognition for their good work. As one of the nation’s leading producers of communication professionals of color, GSU degree programs in communication play a key role in diversifying the media industries

The university’s location in downtown Atlanta could not be more ideal for undertaking studies in communication. GSU is located within ten minutes of major communication centers such as CNN, Turner, Cox Enterprises, Clear Channel, Georgia Public Broadcasting, the city’s major TV news, radio outlets and public relations firms, and the region’s thriving production and post-production companies. The Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library are also nearby. Departmental partnerships with the Atlanta Film Festival, the Atlanta Press Club, CNN, and dozens of media companies that provide GSU students with internships, provide further opportunities for professional networking and career advancement.

Thank you for taking the time to fully explore the opportunities that await you at Georgia State University. Please reach out if you to learn more about these programs, or would like to visit the department or the university. Most of all, we invite you to join us in one of the world’s true communication capitals!

Research/Centers