Released Books

The Dark Side of Stand-Up Comedy

Edited by Patrice Oppliger & Eric Shouse, April 2020

This book focuses on the “dark side” of stand-up comedy, initially inspired by speculations surrounding the death of comedian Robin Williams. Contributors, those who study humor as well as those who perform comedy, join together to contemplate the paradoxical relationship between tragedy and comedy and expose over-generalizations about comic performers’ troubled childhoods, addictions, and mental illnesses. The book is divided into two sections. First, scholars from a variety of disciplines explore comedians’ onstage performances, their offstage lives, and the relationship between the two. The second half of the book focuses on amateur and lesser-known professional comedians who reveal the struggles they face as they attempt to hone successful comedy acts and likable comic personae. The goal of this collection is to move beyond the hackneyed stereotype of the sad clown in order to reveal how stand-up comedy can transform both personal and collective tragedies by providing catharsis through humor.

Divine Programming: Negotiating Christianity in American Dramatic Television Production, 1996-2016

Authored by Charlotte E. Howell, April 2020

From the mid-90s to the present, television drama with religious content has come to reflect the growing cultural divide between white middle-America and concentrated urban elites. As author Charlotte E. Howell argues in this book, by 2016, television narratives of white Christianity had become entirely disconnected from the religion they were meant to represent. Programming labeled “family-friendly” became a euphemism for white, middlebrow America, and developing audience niches became increasingly significant to serial dramatic television. Utilizing original case studies and interviews, Divine Programming investigates the development, writing, producing, marketing, and positioning of key series including 7th Heaven, Friday Night Lights, Rectify, Supernatural, Jane the Virgin, Daredevil, and Preacher. 

As this book shows, there has historically been a deep ambivalence among television production cultures regarding religion and Christianity more specifically. It illustrates how middle-American television audiences lost significance within the Hollywood television industry and how this in turn has informed and continues to inform television programming on a larger scale. In recent years, upscale audience niches have aligned with the perceived tastes of affluent, educated, multicultural, and-importantly-secular elites. As a result, the televised representation of white Christianity had to be othered, and shifted into the unreality of fantastic genres to appeal to niche audiences. To examine this effect, Howell looks at religious representation through four approaches – establishment, distancing, displacement, and use – and looks at series across a variety of genres and outlets in order to provied varied analyses of each theme.

Journalism & Truth in an Age of Social Media

Edited by James E. Katz & Kate K. Mays, 2019

This edited volume contextualizes the current “fake news problem.” Yet it also offers a larger perspective on what seems to be uniquely modern, computer-driven problems. We must remember that we have lived with the problem of people having to identify, characterize, and communicate the truth about the world around them for millennia. Rather than identify a single culprit for disseminating misinformation, this volume examines how news is perceived and identified, how news is presented to the public, and how the public responds to news. It considers social media’s effect on the craft of journalism, as well as the growing role of algorithms, big data, and automatic content-production regimes. As an edited collection, this volume gathers leading scholars in the fields of journalism and communication studies, philosophy, and the social sciences to address critical questions of how we should understand journalism’s changing landscape as it relates to fundamental questions about the role of truth and information in society.

Melania & Michelle: First Ladies in a New Era

Authored by Tammy R. Vigil, 2019

At home or at the podium, the First Lady is uniquely poised to serve as advisor, confidant, and campaigner, with the power to shape American political and social conversation. At first blush, First Ladies Michelle Obama and Melania Trump appear categorically different from each other; however, as women rising from humble origins to pursue their ambitions and support their husbands, the two have more in common than one might think. In Melania & Michelle: First Ladies in a New Era, author Tammy R. Vigil provides a compelling account of our modern first ladies, exploring how each woman has crafted her public image and used her platform to influence the country, while also serving as a paragon of fashion and American womanhood. Both women face constant scrutiny and comparison—from their degrees of political activism to their cookie recipes—and have garnered support as well as criticism. From their full lives pre-nomination to their attitudes while occupying the White House, Vigil builds careful and thoughtful portraits of Melania Trump and Michelle Obama that provide new appreciation for how these women, and the first ladies that came before them, have shaped our country.

Tweencom Girls: Gender and Adolescence in Disney and Nickelodeon Sitcoms

Authored by Patrice A. Oppliger, 2018

Tweencom Girls analyzes the different ways character tropes are portrayed in media targeted at eight- to twelve-year-olds, particularly female characters, over the last twenty-five years. The book focuses particularly on sitcoms produced by the cable giants Disney Channel and Nickelodeon because of their popularity and ubiquity. It provides extensive examples and alternative interpretations of the shows’ tropes and themes, particularly for those who are unfamiliar with the genre. The first section explores common tweencom tropes, focusing on different themes that are prevalent throughout the series. The second section includes a discussion of the big picture of how tropes and themes give insight into the female characters portrayed in the popular tweencom programming, as well as advice to parents and educators.


Moms-in-Chief: Republican Motherhood Rhetoric and the Spouses of Presidential Candidates

Authored by Tammy R. Vigil, 2018

In 1776, when Abigail Adams implored her husband to “Remember the Ladies,” John Adams scoffed, declaring, “We know better than to repeal our masculine system.” More than two hundred years later, American women continue to struggle against the idea that they are simply vassal extensions of their husbands–a notion that is acutely enacted in presidential campaigns. An examination of how the spouses of recent presidential candidates have presented themselves and been perceived on the campaign trail, Moms in Chief reveals the ways in which the age-old rhetoric of republican motherhood maintains its hold on the public portrayal of womanhood in American politics and constrains American women’s status as empowered, autonomous citizens.


The First Amendment and the Fourth Estate (12th Edition)

Authored by T. Barton Carter, Marc A. Franklin, Amy Kristin Sanders, & Jay B. Wright, 2017

This casebook provides a thorough examination of the law of mass media, providing principal court opinions, explanatory text, and questions for discussion. Topics include the American legal system, introduction to freedom of expression, defamation, privacy, liability for emotional and physical harm, copyright and trademark, national security, obscenity and indecency, advertising regulation, press coverage of the administration of justice, confidentiality, newsgathering from non-judicial public sources, ownership of the media and related problems, access to the media, introduction to broadcasting, and legal control of broadcast programming. In this edition, Internet and new media topics, including net neutrality and other current issues, are integrated into the other materials.

The Power of Information Networks: New Directions for Agenda Setting

Edited by Lei Guo & Maxwell McCombs, 2015

The news media have significant influence on the formation of public opinion. Called the agenda-setting role of the media, this influence occurs at three levels. Focusing public attention on a select few issues or other topics at any moment is level one. Emphasizing specific attributes of those issues or topics is level two. The Power of Information Networks: The Third Level of Agenda Setting introduces the newest perspective on this influence. While levels one and two are concerned with the salience of discrete individual elements, the third level offers a more comprehensive and nuanced perspective to explain media effects in this evolving media landscape: the ability of the news media to determine how the public associates the various elements in these media messages to create an integrated picture of public affairs. This is the first book to detail the theoretical foundations, methodological approaches, and international empirical evidence for this new perspective. Cutting-edge communication analytics such as network analysis, Big Data and data visualization techniques are used to examine these third-level effects. Diverse applications of the theory are documented in political communication, public relations, health communication, and social media research.

Connecting with Constituents: Identification Building and Blocking in Contemporary National Convention Addresses

Authored by Tammy R. Vigil, 2015

Connecting with Constituents explores speeches delivered at national nominating conventions from historic, strategic, and analytic perspectives. Focusing on the strategies speakers use to appeal to particular facets of the American audience, this book illustrates the importance of nominating conventions as part of an ongoing national conversation about the political character of the country and its people. The individual chapters focus on different types of convention orations, including keynote speeches, acceptance addresses by presidential and vice presidential nominees, orations by the candidates’ wives, and addresses by other surrogate speakers. Each chapter provides a brief history of a particular type of oration, an explication of speakers, speeches, and contexts from the RNC and DNC between 1980 and 2008, and an in-depth comparative analysis of 2012 Republican and Democratic speeches. The book demonstrates how candidates and those speaking on their behalf employ strategies (such as telling personal stories, using jokes, offering intraparty appeals, acclaiming accomplishments, and framing the opponent in particular ways) to alter how citizens build, or fail to build, personal connections with the speakers, the parties, and their nominees. These analyses reveal more than simply how speakers and speechwriters persuade audience members; they show how would-be leaders view their potential constituents. They also highlight key social, historical, and political changes in the nation.

Connecting with Constituents blends historic anecdotes, excerpts from numerous speeches, and insights from political communication studies in a manner that engages the interests of anyone seeking to understand the relationship between political candidates, their speeches, and the people they wish to lead.

Philosophy of Emerging Media: Understanding, Appreciation, Application

Edited by Juliet Floyd & James E. Katz, 2015

The term “emerging media” responds to the “big data” now available as a result of the larger role digital media play in everyday life, as well as the notion of “emergence” that has grown across the architecture of science and technology over the last two decades with increasing imbrication. The permeation of everyday life by emerging media is evident, ubiquitous, and destined to accelerate. No longer are images, institutions, social networks, thoughts, acts of communication, emotions and speech-the “media” by means of which we express ourselves in daily life-linked to clearly demarcated, stable entities and contexts. Instead, the loci of meaning within which these occur shift and evolve quickly, emerging in far-reaching ways we are only beginning to learn and bring about.

This volume’s purpose is to develop, broaden and spark future philosophical discussion of emerging media and their ways of shaping and reshaping the habitus within which everyday lives are to be understood. Drawing from the history of philosophy ideas of influential thinkers in the past, intellectual path makers on the contemporary scene offer new philosophical perspectives, laying the groundwork for future work in philosophy and in media studies. On diverse topics such as identity, agency, reality, mentality, time, aesthetics, representation, consciousness, materiality, emergence, and human nature, the questions addressed here consider the extent to which philosophy should or should not take us to be facing a fundamental transformation.

Image and Emotion in Voter Decisions: The Affect Agenda

Authored by Renita Coleman & H. Denis Wu, 2015
Drawing on a decade of their own research from the 2000 to 2012 U.S. presidential elections, Renita Coleman and Denis Wu explore the image presentation of political candidates and its influence at both aggregate and individual levels. When facing complex political decisions, voters often rely on gut feelings and first impressions but then endeavor to come up with a “rational” reason to justify their actions. Image and Emotion in Voter Decisions: The Affect Agenda examines how and why voters make the decisions they do by examining the influence of the media’s coverage of politicians’ images. Topics include the role of visual and verbal cues in communicating affective information, the influence of demographics on affective agenda setting, whether positive or negative tone is more powerful, and the role of emotion in second-level agenda setting. Image and Emotion in Voter Decisions will challenge readers to think critically about political information processing and a new way of systematically thinking about agenda setting in elections.

Mass Communication Law in a Nutshell. (7th Edition)

Authored by T. Barton Carter, Juliet Lushbough Dee, & Harvey L. Zuckman, 2014

Mass Communication Law in a Nutshell satisfies the need for a basic text in communication law, not only for law students but for journalism and communication students as well. Highlights of the Seventh Edition of the popular book include a discussion of the USA Patriot Act, the Critical Infrastructure Information Act exemption to the Freedom of Information Act, government initiatives such as warrantless eavesdropping on telephone calls following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and recent FCC regulations authorizing a low-power radio service, digital television (DTV), high-definition television (HDTV) and digital must-carry regulations. Further highlights include Congress’ passage of the Broadcast Indecency Enforcement Act following Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction,” litigation involving filtering software and the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), Congress’ attempts to control “spam” on the Internet.

The Social Media President: Barack Obama and the Politics of Digital Engagement.

Authored by James E. Katz, Michael Barris, & Anshul Jain, 2013

The proliferation of social media has altered the way that people interact with each other – leveling the channels of communication to allow an individual to be “friends” with a sitting president. In a world where a citizen can message Barack Obama directly, this book addresses the new channels of communication in politics, and what they offer.

Bullies and Mean Girls in Popular Culture.

Authored by Patrice A. Oppliger, 2013

The numerous anti-bullying programs in schools across the United States have done little to reduce the number of reported bullying instances. One reason for this is that little attention has been paid to the role of the media and popular culture in adolescents’ bullying and mean-girl behavior. This book addresses media role models in television, film, picture books, and the Internet in the realm of bullying and relational aggression. It highlights portrayals with unproductive strategies that lead to poor resolutions or no resolution at all. Young viewers may learn ineffective, even dangerous, ways of handling aggressive situations. Victims may feel discouraged when they are unable to handle the situation as easily as in media portrayals. They may also feel their experiences are trivialized by comic portrayals. Entertainment programming, aimed particularly at adolescents, often portray adults as incompetent or uncaring and include mean-spirited teasing. In addition, overuse of the term “bully” and defining all bad behavior as “bullying” may dilute the term and trivialize the problem.

The Illness of the Media: The Issues and Solutions to Taiwan’s News Environment

Authored by H. Denis Wu & Lin, E., 2013

The First Amendment and the Fourth Estate: The Law of Mass Media

Authored by T. Barton Carter, Marc A. Franklin, Amy Kristin Sanders, & Jay B. Wright, 2012

This casebook provides a thorough examination of the law of mass media, providing principal court opinions, explanatory text, and questions for discussion. Topics include the American legal system, introduction to freedom of expression, defamation, privacy, liability for emotional and physical harm, copyright and trademark, national security, obscenity and indecency, advertising regulation, press coverage of the administration of justice, confidentiality, newsgathering from non-judicial public sources, ownership of the media and related problems, access to the media, introduction to broadcasting, and legal control of broadcast programming. In this edition, Internet and new media topics, including net neutrality and other current issues, are integrated into the other materials.

The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film

Edited by Cynthia Lucia, Roy Grundmann, & Art Simon, 2012

Comprising over 90 essays and richly illustrated with over 200 images The Wiley-Blackwell History of American Film provides a chronological portrait of American film history from its origins to the present day.

This collection brings you:

  • Discussions of the industrial and institutional components of film history, including multiple modes of production, distribution, and marketing
  • Investigations into the political, social, and economic factors that informed industry change and framed the reception of films
  • Engaging close readings and in-depth analysis of canonical and non-canonical films
  • Profiles of essential industry figures – major directors, stars, and producers – along with important figures outside the industrial mainstream
  • An exploration of the history of film criticism and culture, and central issues in American film historiography
  • The most authoritative collection of fresh investigations available in one state-of-the-art resource

A Companion to Michael Haneke

Edited by Roy Grundmann, 2010

A Companion to Michael Haneke is a definitive collection of newly-commissioned work that covers Haneke’s body of work in its entirety, catering to students and scholars of Haneke at a time when interest in the director and his work is soaring.

  • Introduces one of the most important directors to have emerged on the global cinema scene in the past fifteen years
  • Includes exclusive interviews with Michael Haneke, including an interview discussion of The White Ribbon
  • Considers themes, topics, and subjects that have formed the nucleus of the director’s life’s work: the fate of European cinema, Haneke in Hollywood, pornography, alienation, citizenship, colonialism, and the gaze of surveillance
  • Features critical examinations of La Pianiste, Time of the Wolf, Three Paths to the Lake and Caché, amongst others

Ugly War, Pretty Package: How CNN and Fox News Made the Invasion of Iraq High Concept

Authored by Deborah L. Jaramillo, 2009

Deborah L. Jaramillo investigates cable news’ presentation of the Iraq War in relation to “high concept” filmmaking. High concept films can be reduced to single-sentence summaries and feature pre-sold elements; they were considered financially safe projects that would sustain consumer interest beyond their initial theatrical run. Using high concept as a framework for the analysis of the 2003 coverage of the Iraq War—paying close attention to how Fox News and CNN packaged and promoted the U.S. invasion of Iraq—Ugly War, Pretty Package offers a new paradigm for understanding how television news reporting shapes our perceptions of events.

Media, Politics, and Asian Americans

Authored by H. Denis Wu & Tien-Tsung Lee, 2009

Although there are books about Asian Americans and media or politics, there is likely the first and only in-depth investigation into both media and political issues facing this racial minority.

Using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods, this book examines racial attitudes toward Asian Americans, their media habits, how Asian American politicians are covered in the news media, and what election candidates and their campaign staffs think about their treatment by the press.

The Third Agenda in U.S. Presidential debates: DebateWatch and Viewer Reactions, 1996-2004

Authored by Diana B. Carlin, Tammy Vigil, Susan Buehler, and Kelly McDonald, 2008

Drawing on scholarly research and media critiques, The Third Agenda in Presidential Debates examines the most recent U.S. presidential debates from the perspective of television viewers who watched the encounters first hand. Through a national program―DebateWatch―tens of thousands of viewers had an opportunity to provide feedback to the debate sponsors, the campaigns, and the media following the 1996, 2000, and 2004 presidential debates. As a result, thousands of groups met after each debate to discuss what they liked and didn’t like about a particular candidate, what they learned, and what they still needed to know about the issues presented before them. These focus groups, along with various surveys and emails, allowed viewers to lay out a concise third agenda for the debates: the public’s, one in which comparisons could be drawn between their own interests and that of the media and the candidates themselves.

Besides clearly mapping out the important aspects the public looks for when watching a debate, the authors demonstrate how citizen participation challenges candidates and their issues. In addition, the authors offer predictions for future debates and how new generations will choose to participate.

Through Their Eyes: Factors Affecting Muslim Support for the U.S.-led War on Terror

Authored by Michael G. Elasmar, 2008

What Influences Muslims Support for the U.S.-Led War on Terror? That was the key question mass communication scholar Michael Elasmar sought to answer when he analyzed data on citizens in seven countries with substantial Muslim populations, including Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Senegal. Using a theory-driven quantitative structural model, Elasmar found that Muslims support for the U.S.-led war on terror is higher among Muslims who have more positive attitudes toward the United States, who believe the United States is not ignoring the interests of their countries and who consume more U.S. entertainment media. Through Their Eyes is one of the most significant studies to emerge from the research since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and no doubt will have public policy makers, diplomats, citizens, scholars and students pondering the results for years to come.

Outlaw Journalist

Authored by William McKeen, 2008

Hunter S. Thompson detonated a two-ton bomb under the staid field of journalism with his magazine pieces and revelatory Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Outlaw Journalist, the famous inventor of Gonzo journalism is portrayed as never before. Through in-depth interviews with Thompson’s associates, William McKeen gets behind the drinking and the drugs to show the man and the writer―one who was happy to be considered an outlaw and for whom the calling of journalism was life. Thompson was often cited as the favorite writer of people who did not read. His pop-culture caricature overshadowed his immense gifts as a write and social observer.

Outlaw Journalist gives us the real man — behind the mask.

Girls Gone Skank: The Sexualization of Girls in American Culture

Authored by Patrice A. Oppliger, 2008

Instead of advancing women’s social and professional empowerment, popular culture trends appear to be backsliding into the blatant sexual exploitation of women and girls at younger and younger ages. This study investigates the effects of mass marketed sexual images and cultural trends on the behaviors and attitudes of young girls and describes many ways in which young girls are increasingly taught to go to outrageous lengths in seeking male attention.

Topics include the powerful effects of cultural phenomena such as revealing fashions, plastic surgery, and beauty pageants in influencing teen and preteen girls to willingly participate in and promote their own sexualization. These chapters also explore other cultural factors contributing to this early sexualization of young girls, including absentee parenting and material overindulgence. Later chapters focus on the sexual representations of females in the mass entertainment media, focusing specifically on how popular magazines, television programs, films, and the Internet prey upon, promote, and reinforce young girls’ physical and sexual insecurities.

Wrestling and Hypermasculinity

Authored by Patrice A. Oppliger, 2004

Professional wrestling revels in its exaggeration of masculinity. This hyper-masculinity is evident in the physical appearance of wrestlers, the sexuality-charged and violent moves used in and out of the ring, the role assigned to women and the extensive use of weapons such as chains, barbed wire and steel folding chairs. This study explores the link between watching televised wrestling matches and increases in verbal aggression, rebellion and propensity toward violence and retaliation. Wrestling is placed within the larger context of popular culture and other hyper-masculine entertainment.

The book begins with a brief history of professional wrestling, a summary of the criticisms of the sport, and a discussion of the author’s research methods. One chapter discusses how gender socialization plays a part in the effects of wrestling on its viewers, arguing that wrestling goes beyond the image of physically violent acts to models of interpersonal behavior. The expansion of wrestling into storylines outside the ring includes problem situations involving class, race, homophobia and nationality, to which violence is often presented as a solution. The book concludes with an investigation of the attractiveness of wrestling and its ability to lure fans back year after year.

The Impact of International Television: A Paradigm Shift

Edited by Michael G. Elasmar, 2002

For several decades, cultural imperialism has been the dominant paradigm for conceptualizing, labeling, predicting, and explaining the effects of international television. It has been used as an unchallenged premise for numerous essays on the topic of imported television influence, despite the fact that the assumption of strong cultural influence is not necessarily reflected in the body of research that exists within this field of study. In The Impact of International Television: A Paradigm Shift, editor Michael G. Elasmar and his contributors challenge the dominant paradigm of cultural imperialism, and offer an alternative paradigm with which to evaluate international or crossborder message influence.

In this volume, Elasmar has collected original research from leading scholars working in the area of crossborder media influence, and contributes his own meta-analysis to examine what research findings actually show on the influences of crossborder messages. The contributions included here illustrate points, such as: the contentions of cultural imperialism and the context in which its assumptions emerged and developed; the complexities of the relationship between exposure to foreign television and its subsequent effects on local audience members; the applicability of quantitative methods to a topic commonly tackled using argumentation, critical theory, and other qualitative approaches; and the difficulty of achieving strong and homogenous effects.

In bringing together the work of independent researchers, The Impact of International Television: A Paradigm Shift bridges over 40 years of research efforts focused on imported television influence, the results of which, as a whole, challenge the de facto strong and homogenous effects assumed by those who support the paradigm of cultural imperialism. The volume sets a theory-driven agenda of research and offers an alternative paradigm for the new generation of researchers interested in international media effects. As such, the volume is intended for scholars, researchers, and students in international and intercultural communication, cross-cultural communication, mass communication, media effects, media and society, and related areas. It will also be of great interest to academics in international relations, cross-cultural and social psychology, intergroup and international relations, international public opinion, and peace studies.