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PhD, Media, Culture, and Communication

Doctoral Research Colloquium

The Doctoral Research Colloquium (DRC) strengthens relationships within the doctoral community and promotes excellence in doctoral research. Faculty members, visiting scholars, and doctoral students who are more advanced in the program share insights with new students, fortifying the collegial support network that sustains the doctoral community.

The Neil Postman Graduate Conference

Named in honor of the MCC’s founding scholar, the annual Neil Postman Graduate Conference offers a forum for the presentation of research and projects by graduate students, faculty, and guest scholars. The conference is run entirely by MCC graduate students.

Department Events

Your academic journey extends beyond the seminar room to an array of topical symposia, workshops and working groups hosted in our department and across NYU. You will want to engage with the scholars, artists, and researchers that make this campus—and all of New York City—such a vibrant place to pursue doctoral work.

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Current PhD Students

Akhtar, Asif

Asif Akhtar holds an MA in Politics from the New School for Social Research and a BA in International Studies and Economics from Ohio Wesleyan University. Having grown up in Lahore, Pakistan, Asif’s research interests have come to converge on questions of how recently emerging industries and formats of 24-hour televised news in Pakistan are rapidly collapsing and reshaping spatial-temporal patterns – affecting the ways in which everyday practices and discourses of politics take place in the context of war and insurgency. Asif is keen on exploring dynamics of visibility, visual culture and representations of violence through ethnographic work. After working on Wall St. and witnessing the mortgage crisis firsthand as a risk analyst from 2006-2008, Asif moved back to conduct research in Pakistan while gaining experience working as a journalist. Covering politics, culture and terrorism in Lahore, he has written for publications like the Guardian and Foreign Policy in addition to several prominent Pakistani print and online publications. Presently he is an active part of the Naked Punch editorial collective, publishing engaged reviews of art, thought and politics from the Third World. Asif also writes fiction and has published short stories and monographs.

Alexander, Ian

Ian did his BA at the University of Pittsburgh and Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and his MA at Pratt Institute. He studies the history of technologies and scientific techniques used in forensics, correctional facilities, by police, and by probation and parole offices, with special attention to emerging technologies of risk evaluation that have begun to replace cash bail. 

Arias-Zapata, Angela

Angela Arias Zapata received her Master's degree in Publishing from the University of Salamanca in Spain, and her Bachelor’s degree in Literary Studies from the National University of Colombia. She has worked as an editor in academic publishing houses for several years, as well as a lecturer in different Colombian universities. Angela is interested in the debates on collective memory in the context of the ongoing Colombian civil war. Specifically, in the problematic role that mainstream and independent news media outlets play in the development of social consensus on the “truth” of traumatic past events. Moreover, she wants to explore the presence of objects and security systems as mediators between political and social acts of violence, and the everyday life experience of populations traditionally excluded from the “victim” category.

Beach, Tristan

Tristan Beach’s research looks to bridge media studies and molecular biology by examining how the standardization of CRISPR impacts this technology’s diverse applications, especially in nonhumans. He did his BA in German and history at Bates College and his MA in European Media Studies at Universität Potsdam.

Bullon-Cassis, Laura

Laura is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Media, Culture and Communications at NYU. Her dissertation looks at communication strategies deployed by youth activists to influence outcomes in climate change and sustainable development negotiations at the United Nations (UN). She is particularly interested in how the global youth climate movement, propelled by social media, is influencing the style and substance of UN discussions on these topics. As a writer with the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s (IISD) Reporting Services, Laura regularly attends environmental conferences and UN negotiations worldwide. She is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute, and is a member of the NYU Institute for Public Knowledge's (IPK) Doctoral Working Group on the "Social Challenges of Climate Change." She holds an MSc in Global Politics and a BSc in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and has held roles at, among others, the academic journal Public Culture, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), and the PR firm Edelman. She has published her work in academic and media outlets, including OpenDemocracy, Global Policy Journal and The Global Journal.

Fernandez-Selier, Yesenia

Cuban born performer and researcher, Yesenia Fernandez Selier is the recipient of fellowships from CLACSO, CUNY Caribbean Exchange Program, Cuban Heritage Collection and the organization “Save Latin America”. Her work on Afro Cuban culture, encompassing dance, music and race identity has been published in Cuba, United States and Brazil. She produced the theater play “ Women Orishas” for Miami Cuban Museum (2013) and the show “Cuba en Clave” for the New York Cuban Cultural Center (2014). She was featured dancing Yemaya in Jazz at Lincoln Center 2014 opening with Winton Marsalis, Chucho Valdes and Pedrito Martinez.

Grubbs, Victoria

Victoria Netanus Grubbs' research interests include the political economy of cultural production, transnational/diasporic cultural networks, the semiotics of sound, and the aesthetics of the black Atlantic. Professionally, she is an arts educator with a commitment to developing and supporting radical leadership in underserved communities in the U.S. and abroad.

Halperin, Yoav

Yoav Halperin's broad research interests include the politics of digital media, political communication, social movements, digital literacy, and the dynamics of online communication. Yoav’s current research focuses on the role of social media networks in shaping new political formations and imaginaries in contemporary Israeli society. His dissertation combines mining of social media archives with ethnographic fieldwork for the study of digitally mediated social and political movements, online interactions between social media users from different political-ideological circles, online political violence, politicians’ use of social media channels, and online policing. Yoav holds a BA in philosophy and history (cum laude) and an MA in philosophy (cum laude) from Tel Aviv University, where he focused on critical theory and phenomenology. 

Hassein, Nabil

Nabil Hassein is a technologist, organizer, and educator researching the broad relationship between computation and climate change from an anti-imperialist and police/prison abolitionist perspective. Born and raised in Northern Virginia, Nabil has lived in New York City since 2008 except for one year, and holds a B.A. in mathematics and computer science from NYU's Courant Institute. A former high school teacher and software developer, as well as a freelance writer and speaker, Nabil was also previously a co-organizer of !!Con, a popular conference about the joy, excitement and surprise of computing, and Code Ecologies, an open forum about the ecological impact of computing sponsored by the School for Poetic Computation, which Nabil attended before going on to work there. Nabil has also participated in grassroots anti-carceral organizing including the Campaign to Shut Down Rikers and No New Jails NYC.

Hoque, Salwa

Salwa T Hoque is interested in media and political theory. Salwa’s Ph.D. dissertation aims to explore how the distinct meaning(s) of secularism in Bangladesh challenge universality and dominant ideologies of “progress” of the modern nation-state. She analyzes the shifting political epistemologies via globalization and new media, which impact social structure in non-Western civil society, i.e., how the politics of knowledge dissemination influence the social construction of reality and doxa of secularism. The project contributes to broader theoretical concerns about the instability of secularism as a concept, approaching minority rights outside the dominant narrative of progress, and the position of Muslims in a secular modern or modernizing state. Salwa holds a Master of Arts in South Asia Studies from Columbia University. Her M.A. thesis suggests that the understanding and development of secularism in Bangladesh is complex; once the concept is contextualized, it is easier to grasp why attempting to universalize and impose a religion/secularism binary in this region is problematic. Salwa has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and English (Honors) from the University of Washington. Her English honors thesis explores biopolitics and neocolonial power in postcolonial Southeast Asia, namely how power is reinforced subliminally in the form of choice. 

Jervis, Francis

Francis holds a BA in Classics from Peterhouse, Cambridge, and an MA in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of California, Davis. He is interested in how people build personal, social and political futures around emerging technologies, particularly “open hardware” 3D printing and wireless mesh networking. His work includes theoretical approaches to topics including digital fabrication and computational design, cryptosystems and IP, combined with ethnographic work with the cultura libre movement in Argentina. Prior to his graduate studies, Francis worked as a VJ and video producer for over five years, and, more recently, with indigenous tourism projects in the Peruvian Amazon.

Kellogg, Sam

Sam Kellogg is a writer, photographer, and Assistant Editor at Public Culture, a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal of cultural studies. His work addresses questions of technological emergence, the (geo)politics of telecommunications infrastructures, digitality and computation, decolonization, and space, and focuses in particular on the Caribbean Basin. When he is not on an island—whether one in New York City or one in the Caribbean—he is likely in the mountains, finding places where the Internet still doesn’t reach. Twitter / Website

Kim, Hyo Jung

As a scholar of information technology and screen culture, Hyo Jung investigates how technology materializes aesthetic and progressive ideas. Through her research, Hyo Jung examines unwittingly political practices in online subcultures, the reappropriation of technology by end-users, emerging practitioners in digital music ecosystems, and inter-Asian popular culture with a focus on the politics of digital platforms, and media and entertainment industry stretched between Vietnam and Korea. Prior to her doctoral study at the MCC, Hyo Jung worked in the art world in the U.S., Vietnam, and Korea as curator, translator, and researcher. Hyo Jung holds an M.A. in Art History and Criticism with a Media, Art, Culture, and Technology certificate from Stony Brook University, and a B.A. double major in Journalism and Art History from Ewha Womans University.  

Kornstein, Harris

Harris Kornstein focuses on topics related to digital culture, new media theory, media-based art and activism, queer politics, and authenticity online. He is also a new media and performance artist, and has exhibited work in galleries and festivals in New York, LA, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Bergen, Norway, as well as performed in venues ranging from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to OccupySF. Harris's writing has appeared in the GuardianSalonHuffington Post, and Studies in Gender and Sexuality, and his artistic and activist work has been covered by publications including the New Yorker, New York Times, and Fast Company, among others. Prior to beginning his doctoral work at MCC, Harris was an organizer of the #MyNameIs campaign which successfully challenged Facebook's "real names" policy, and he worked professionally as a communications and community engagement manager for several nonprofit organizations. Harris holds an MFA in Digital Arts & New Media from UC Santa Cruz, and a BA from Swarthmore College.

Kuo, Rachel

Rachel Kuo's research and writing interests include racial justice, digital media activism, and intersectional feminism. She holds an MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU and a Bachelors of Journalism from the University of Missouri. Her professional background includes designing social justice workshop curriculum, building media literacy, and developing communications strategy. She has worked for NYU's Center for Multicultural Education and Programs, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs' Materials for the Arts program, and the University of Wisconsin's Multicultural Student Center. Follow her on Twitter @rachelkuo.

Kurlenkova, Aleksandra

Aleksandra Kurlenkova is a social scientist interested in body, technologies, and disability. Originally trained as a medical anthropologist at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology in Moscow, she is now developing her PhD project at the intersection of STS, new materialisms and disability studies, focusing on sensory practices and assistive technologies used by blind and low-vision people in everyday interactions. Her broader ambition is to make body and its 'techniques' a legitimate object of media and communication studies. Her other interests include social studies of biomedicine (in particular genetics) and kinship.

Mertia, Sandeep

Sandeep Mertia is an ICT engineer by training, with research interests in Software Studies, Science and Technology Studies, and Anthropology. His research focuses on the historical and emergent conditions of data-driven knowledge production and circulation, and computational cultures in India and South Asia. Sandeep is a former Research Associate at The Sarai Programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. He is the coordinator of the ‘Lives of Data’ workshop series at Sarai-CSDS, and the editor of Lives of Data from India(forthcoming, CSDS). His work has been published and forthcoming in many academic journals and blogs, including Economic & Political Weekly, Fibreculture, Computational Culture, Sarai, LSE Impact, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, and DataKind. Sandeep holds a BTech from the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology. He has been associated with community groups like DataMeet and HillHacks. He has also taught school children for Sambhav and Make A Difference. Twitter: @SandeepMertia.

Omer, Ayesha

Ayesha Omer's dissertation and book project "Networks of Dust: Media, Infrastructure, and Ecology along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" examines China’s internet, trade, and energy infrastructures in the indigenous borderlands of the Pakistani state, as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—a flagship project of China’s global Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Combining ethnographic fieldwork, archival research, and visual media analysis, this project explores the relationships between technological mediation, struggles for political sovereignty, and the force of environmental change across critical CPEC infrastructures.

Perold, Colette

Colette Perold is researching the early twentieth-century history of IBM in Brazil. For her dissertation, “The Empire of Informatics: IBM in Brazil Before Computing,” she researches the prehistory of the IT sector in the United States and its relationship to U.S. foreign policy in South America. Prior to starting in MCC, she worked on the editorial staff of the NACLA Report on the Americas as both assistant and managing editor, and as an organizer for the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW). She received her BA at Harvard University in Romance Languages and Literatures and Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality, with certificates in Spanish and in K-12 urban education. Her undergraduate thesis, for which she was awarded the Hoopes Prize, was on performance art and workplace organizing on the U.S.-Mexico border. Her current work draws from the business history of computing, digital media studies, and political economy of media and development.

Pfeifer, Michelle

Michelle Pfeifer holds an MA in Social and Cultural Analysis from NYU and a Bachelors in Literature and History from the Amsterdam University College. Her research examines the role of sound and audibility as crucial sensory registers in border and migration control, security infrastructures, and the genealogies of colonialism. Michelle has received a doctoral research fellowship from the Berlin Program at Freie Universität Berlin. She is an alumna of the German National Academic Foundation.

Ramírez, George

An Ecuadorian immigrant raised in the Bronx, NY, George Ramírez studies the performance of Latinidad in digital media. Specifically, he focuses on how the technological dimensions of social media, podcasts, and digital art help create pan-Latinx culture. Prior to his time at NYU, George received a B.S. in Physics and History from Yale University, a M.S. in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a M.A. in American Studies from The George Washington University. You can find him dancing to bachata, hiking somewhere upstate, or listening to Bruce Springsteen when he's not contemplating futurity and affect.

Resendiz, Ramon

Born and raised in the south Texas borderlands, Ramon Resendiz is a social and critical theory student, turned documentarian. He attended the University of North Texas, where he double majored in anthropology and philosophy, and began his work in visual anthropology, film studies, and environmental & social justice studies. He received a Master of Communication in documentary film from the Native Voices program at the University of Washington. He is the co-director of The Wall / El Muro (2017), a film produced with the collaboration of the Lipan Nde’(Apache) Band of Texas, which foregrounds human rights violations perpetrated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the process of building the U.S. Border Fence/Wall of 2006, as well as their tribal history and legacy of cultural survival. And he is also the co-author of Colonialism & Imperialism: Indigenous Resistance on the U.S./Mexico Border, recently published by the Journal of Perspectives on Global Development and Technology. His areas of interest include: Borderlands Studies, Postcolonial & Decolonial Studies, Social & Environmental Justice, and Visual Cultures. Prior to joining the department, he was the Communications Liaison for the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs at Texas Woman’s University, where he assisted nine universities in revising their sexual assault and Title IX policies for federal compliance.

Scott, Cheraine Donalea

Cheraine Donalea Scott examines the relationships between representations of blackness within popular culture, contemporary capitalism and cultural expression. Her MA thesis – ‘The Burden of Being Cool’ – explored both the impact globalized representations of blackness have had on the formation of a Black British identity, and potential connections between popular representations of blackness and recent racial injustices (both in the UK and USA) which have prompted a transnational #BlackLivesMatter movement. Cheraine holds an MA in Cultural and Critical Studies from the University of Westminster and a BA in Fashion Design from the University for the Creative Arts. Her writing has been published in the eBook Trending Now by Interdisciplinary Press.

Shamel, Salma

Salma Shamel works with video and text. Areas of interest include mediation in the courtroom, historiography, philosophical conceptions of evidence, Arab media and art industries, and experimental video. She did her BA in Media Art at the German University in Cairo and received her MA at The School of Art and Design History and Theory at The New School. She is a core member of the Mosireen Media Collective in Egypt, and a co-founder of the 858 archive. Her work has been published in Jadaliyya and MadaMasr, and shown at the MoMA in San Francisco, the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, among others.

Solomon, Rory

Rory Solomon is a software engineer, artist, and adjunct faculty at Parsons The New School for Design. His research focusses on the media archaeology of software, infrastructure, the stack, and computer programming education. Rory has developed database-backed websites for many organizations, including the New York Review of Books and Bank Street College of Education, and was the technical lead for the Urban Research Tool: a web-based mapping platform for geospatial humanities research. Rory has collaborated on artworks featured in Medialab Prado, the Conflux Festival and the National Art Museum of China. He holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from UC Berkeley, and a Master of Arts in Media Studies from The New School, where his thesis “The Stack: A Media Archaeology of the Computer Program” received an Award of Academic Achievement. @rorys

Stielau, Anna

Anna is a writer, educator and recovering art historian. She holds a BAFA and a Master of Arts in Fine Art from the University of Cape Town, where she also taught in the departments of photography and art history. Her Master's thesis explored representations of queer citizenship in post-apartheid South African visual culture, emphasizing the multiple forms of belonging these representations reveal and the structural inequalities that determine their expression. Her current research is concerned with vulnerability as a performance and a political strategy in South African culture and in relation to global social movements. Wider interests include contemporary African art, film and photojournalism, biopolitics, decolonial thought, queer and affect theory, violence, and memory. Anna’s writing has appeared in magazines, newspapers and online, and she has twice been recognised in the South African National Arts Journalism Awards.

Wiessner, Megan

Meg is an artist and researcher interested in the feedback between material environments and aesthetic experiences. Her academic work focuses on how design practices and expressions of taste—particularly those entangled with the Western idea of Nature—can perpetuate or remedy existing inequalities. She researches how humans can live out their relationships with their environments through sensory dispositions and representational practices rather than through explicit narratives. She is especially interested in architecture, textiles, and materials design, and in the dual role of technology as both feature of the environment and as a perceptual apparatus. These explorations are informed by Meg's years working in Baltimore, her hometown, as an educator, organizer, and coordinator for the public employment system. She holds an MSc from the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford, as well as a BA from Fordham University. A sample of some past creative projects is available on her website.

Wolk, Shari

Shari is working through the relation between media studies and psychoanalysis. Her research considers how conceptual metaphors of mediation reveal the cultural anxieties and fantasies of communication. Human-computer interaction is a primary focus of her work, which is informed by theories of influence, desire, and delusion. Her academic interests include the intellectual history of media theory and the cultural histories of cinema and television. While working as a digital media producer for nonprofit clients in Washington, DC, she edited digital video and designed the information architecture of websites in open-source content management systems. Shari received her BA in Political Communication and Film Studies from The George Washington University and received her MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University.