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The Inclusive Vision

Essays in Honor of Larry Gross


Edited By Paul Messaris and David W. Park

Larry Gross is one of the most influential figures in the history of media studies. In this collection of original essays, his former students reflect on his groundbreaking contributions to three major developments: the emergence of visual studies as a distinct field of media theory and research; the analysis of media fiction as a symbol of power structures and a perpetuator of social inequalities; and the growing scholarly attention to the relationships between mass media and sexual minorities.

“To sit in classes with Larry Gross was to learn, by example, habits of critical discernment and reflection, and this was as true for discussions of experimental research design as it was for critiques of media representation or structuralist studies of art. The essays of his students collected here emulate the keen critical acumen of their mentor, continually challenging received disciplinary boundaries and tacit assumptions to forge fresh perspectives and analyses across the breadth of communication and media studies. Most importantly, each of the chapters in its own way reflects Gross’s specific attention to the varieties of symbolic behavior that mediate between ‘life’ and ‘art’, his concern to illuminate the processes by which media institutions influence those symbolic experiences and their effects, and his lifelong commitment to promoting greater participation, inclusion, and equality in cultural production and media representation. This book is a fitting tribute to Larry Gross and his legacy.” —Michael Griffin, Associate Professor of Media & Cultural Studies, Macalester College

“What matters? From digital imaging ethics to the role of feeling in politics to the ongoing classed dimensions of queer representation, the authors in this broad-reaching anthology situate their work in a context of social and political commitments. This connective tissue of meaningful intellectual work reflects the extraordinary legacy of Larry Gross. His broad intellectual reach still energizes his former students’ research, and his mentorship has produced some of the pioneers of our field. The collection sparkles with inspiration and rigor, glows with love and thanks.” —Katherine Sender, Professor, Communication Studies, University of Michigan

“Larry Gross is one of academia’s great enablers, as demonstrated by this superb collection. He has consistently brought together humanistic and social scientific, aesthetic, and political perspectives into dialogue, opened up the field of the visual within that of communications, and both paved the way for and consolidated LGBTQ+ studies. His work has always been underpinned by a commitment to students, to administration that enables rather than hobbles, and to practical political activity, and all of this shines through the fine and rigorous scholarship of these essays by some of his former students and colleagues. Their breadth of interest—museums, photography, religion, music, bars, digital media, populism, and much more—is also Larry Gross’s, as is their engaging and engaged character, their lucidity, and their tonic combination of composure and urgency.” —Richard Dyer, Professor Emeritus of Film Studies, King’s College London

“Where’s Larry Gross? You’ll find his charisma on every page. You will also find an overview of some major issues in media research.” —Elihu Katz, Professor (emeritus), Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and Hebrew University of Jerusalem

“Paul Messaris and David W. Park, along with other former students, have composed a volume that could profitably be read for its notable entries on a rich variety of important subjects. But its value goes way beyond the sum of its chapters. All festschrifts celebrate intellectual legacies; this one offers, in the example of Larry Gross, an inspiring vision of the possibilities of scholarship. Read it for a reflection of what it means to do grounded, courageous, humane, and silo-defying intellectual work.” —Tina Huey, Adjunct Faculty, Department of English, University of Connecticut

“From interdisciplinary conceptualizations of visual communication and art as communication to foundational contributions to cultivation theory, media, and social change—the essays in this collection demonstrate the enduring legacy of Larry Gross’s work by bringing his scholarship into the contemporary media and cultural era. It is a must-read for communication scholars who share and are engaged by Gross’s continuing commitments to studying the significance of communication, culture, power, and inclusion.” —Isabel Molina-Guzmán, Associate Dean of the Graduate College; Research Associate Professor, Institute of Communications Research; Associate Professor of Media and Cinema Studies; Associate Professor of Latina/Latino Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign