Charlton McIlwain

Associate Professor of Media, Culture and Communication

Charlton McIlwain

Phone: 212.992.9495

Curriculum Vitae/Syllabi:

As a researcher, writer and teacher, my primary interests focus broadly on issues of race and media, particularly within the social and political arena. My previous work centered on how political candidates construct, mobilize, benefit or suffer damage from race-based appeals. In 2011 I co-authored the book Race Appeal: How Candidates Invoke Race in U.S. Political Campaigns (Temple University Press). In 2012, the book won the prestigious Ralph Bunche Award, given by the American Political Science Association for the best book addressing ethnic pluralism. The same year, the American Library Association recognized the book as one of the Best of the Best books among academic publishers. In addition to authoring/coauthoring four additional books and close to thirty scholarly journal articles and chapter in edited volumes, and regularly providing expert commentary for local, state, national and international media, I continue to pursue research about racial appeals through collaborative work focused on analyses of individuals’ real-time perceptions of race-based appeals in political advertising, as well as a variety of cognitive/physiological responses to racialized communication. You can stay informed about my ongoing work in that area at the RaceProject.

My recent interests, however, have turned to the intersections of race and digital media, principally as they relate to three primary questions: to what degree can/has the internet and other forms of digital media use lead to increased political participation, voice and influence for people of color?; in what ways might internet use provide greater access to social, professional and economic mobility for people of color?; and in what tangible ways do forms of racial discrimination, disparate treatment and denial of opportunity take place in online environments? I’m currently working on a number of projects in this area, including:

  • An article titled, Racial Formation Online: Representation, Inequality & the Political Economy of the Web.
  • A book project titled Digital Movement: Black Politics, Organizing & Activism on the Web, which traces the roots and charts the development of racial justice networks online since the 1990s.
  • A related project analyzing the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter. The project is in collaboration with lead investigator Deen Freelon, and Meredith Clark, and is funded by the Spencer Foundation.

I'm also working on the following with other collaborators:

  • A book project titled, Good Feelings: The Story of Race & Barbecue in America with Kathleen McElroy.
  • A final book project with Stephen Maynard Caliendo titled Nigger 2.0: The Turbulent Transformation of a Still Troublesome Word.

In addition to these projects, Robin R. Means Coleman and I edit the Routledge Transformations in Race & Media book series for Routledge.



The Project on Race in Political Communication

Excellent Geo-services for my research provided by Texas A&M Geoservices




Courses Taught