Spotlight

2020-21 Year-in-Review

Ph.D. Program

Texts and Technology

Department website

Active Students (as of August 2021)

Graduate students: 72

Other 2020-21 figures:

35 faculty and student publications
70 faculty and student presentations at international, regional, and local conferences
7 mentions in the news

The Texts & Technology (T&T) doctoral program, an interdisciplinary program drawing on the expertise of faculty across the college, continued its tradition of research excellence, innovating to meet the demands of a year of unexpected challenges. T&T’s focus on exploring the impact of technology on the humanities (and humanity) was an essential ingredient for rising to the occasion as many T&T faculty and students collaborated on exciting and timely new research projects this year.

First, T&T produced important research on the intersection of health and technology. T&T student Francine Sutton published work examining user experience design in mobile health apps for older adults. T&T faculty and students also did important work about COVID in particular. T&T faculty member Sonia Stephens and collaborators published about how “Flatten the Curve” COVID-19 visualizations helped people understand their risk. T&T student Bonnie Cross was interviewed by Spectrum News 13 about her research on social media reactions to mask mandates. T&T student Christine McClure wrote a series of guest articles for Inside Higher Ed about her experience teaching in COVID times.


T&T continued its tradition of research excellence, innovating to meet the demands of a year of unexpected challenges.


Racial justice and activism were also at the center of national attention this year following the murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed. These were important issues for T&T students and faculty as well, with student Corinne Jones presenting about hashtag activism for racial justice at the international Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference (along with 12 other faculty, students and alumni presenting) and faculty Scot French publishing research on gentrification in the historic Black township of Eatonville. T&T also brought in two exceptional scholars to share their research with the community: Kishonna Gray, author of Intersectional Tech: Black Users in Digital Gaming, and Jacinta Yanders, who shared her experience designing inclusive and anti-racist pedagogy.

And, of course, Fall 2020 saw a presidential election, and T&T research was on the cutting edge in this area as well. T&T student Rachel Winter published an article about how fans of politicians often write fan fiction to flesh out the limited information provided by the news media. T&T student Marissa Salas presented about then-President Trump’s Twitter use.

As our society and university adapt to new challenges of virtualization and the mediation of public life through our screens, T&T students, alumni and faculty will continue to lead the way.

— Anastasia Salter, Director of Graduate Programs and Texts and Technology