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Communication Theory and Millennial Popular Culture

Essays and Applications

Edited By Kathleen Glenister Roberts

Theories help to troubleshoot gaps in our understanding, and to make sense of a world that is constantly changing. What this book tries to do, in part, is blur the lines between the differences between today’s college students – the millennial generation – and their professors, many of whom hail from the Boom Generation and Generation X.
In the following chapters, contributors build upon what both parties already know. Writing in a highly accessible yet compelling style, contributors explain communication theories by applying them to «artifacts» of popular culture. These «artifacts» include Lady Gaga, Pixar films, The Hunger Games, hip hop, Breaking Bad, and zombies, among others. Using this book, students will become familiar with key theories in communication while developing creative and critical thinking. By experiencing familiar popular culture artifacts through the lens of critical and interpretive theories, a new generation of communication professionals and scholars will hone their skills of observation and interpretation – pointing not just toward better communication production, but better social understanding.
Professors will especially enjoy the opportunities for discussion this book provides, both through the essays and the «dialogue boxes» where college students provide responses to authors’ ideas.


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About the Contributors


Janelle Applequist is an Assistant Professor in Integrated Advertising, Pub- lic Relations, and Health Communication at the University of South Florida, in the Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications. Upon presenting a TED talk in 2014 at TEDxPSU, she felt more passionate than ever about combining her research trajectories with her academic instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels. As a health communication re- searcher, focusing on both quantitative and critical/qualitative approaches, she is invested in how patients are represented, and the ways in which health care is presented to patients alongside consumerist discourses. Janelle re- ceived her bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and Psychology (2009) and her master’s degree in Media Studies (2011), from the Pennsylvania State University. She completed her Ph.D. at the Pennsylvania State Univer- sity in 2015, with a dissertation featuring mixed-methods approaches to the content of prime-time television pharmaceutical advertisements. While re- searching and teaching at Penn State, Janelle received two individual re- search grants, and was the recipient of the 2014 University-Wide Harold F. Martin Teaching Award. Janelle has taught large, general education areas, and also advanced theoretical topics, featuring the following courses: Media and Democracy, World Media Systems, and International Communications; and Qualitative Research Methods at the graduate level. Nancy Bressler is an Assistant Professor at Wheeling Jesuit University, and teaches communication courses, such as Research Methods, Presentational Speaking, and Introduction to Communication. She earned her master’s de- gree in Communication at the University of Hartford, and her Ph.D. in Media & Communication...

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