Recommended Readings

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve added any updates. This has been a semester full of reading and preparing for my preliminary exams. Now that I’ve passed (yay!) and I’m officially a doctoral candidate, I’m getting ready to head to Kenya to start my 7 months of dissertation fieldwork. Before I take off, I thought I would give a shoutout to some of my favorite books from my prelim reading lists. Here is one from each of my five lists:

  • Producing Public Television, Producing Public Culture by Barry Dornfeld. Dornfeld conducts one of the few in-depth media production ethnographies out there. He rejects the critical view that media producers are conduits of corporate ideologies and argues they are active agents working within particular structural constraints.
  • Hybridity, Or the Cultural Logic of Globalization by Marwan Kraidy. Kraidy’s “critical transculturalism” tries to balance the critical and cultural approaches to international media studies. Kraidy is quickly becoming one of my favorite communication researchers.
  • Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference by David Harvey. I’ll admit I was dreading this book at first. A few years back I read Harvey’s The Condition of Postmodernity and found it intriguing, but a bit of a difficult read. So I was pleasantly surprised to see how readable (besides impassioned, thoughtful, and interesting) this book was.
  • Reading National Geographic by Catherine Lutz & Jane Collins. I don’t know why I hadn’t read this book earlier. One of the things I appreciate most is the authors study all three phases of media: production, text, and reception. Each section is empirically rich and well argued, providing a really complete study.
  • Burying SM by David William Cohen & E. S. Atieno Odhiambo. The authors take a story about the death of a Luo lawyer in Nairobi and the ensuing legal battles that sought to determined his proper burial “home” to explore a series tensions in contemporary Kenyan society. The narrative is so compelling, you forget you’re learning about gender, ethnicity and rural-urban relations.

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