My research, as well as my teaching, is informed by two stages of my history: my career in the media industry prior to entering academia and my intellectual growth during my graduate work at the University of Oregon. Before entering my doctoral program, I had a professional career in newspapers, magazines and, to a lesser extent, public relations. These experiences in the media field partly shaped who I am as an academic. For example, my interest in studying the First Amendment initially grew out of my experience as a general assignment reporter. However, it was my exposure to feminist theory and critical race theory at the University of Oregon that propelled my initial interest in media law to a much more advanced level and set the foundation for the critical scholar and professor that I am today
My research explores issues of power associated with free speech and free press, resulting in a theoretical and analytical critique of First Amendment applications in areas including hate speech, Internet pornography, political dissidence, reporters rights, and academic freedom. The bulk of my research has focused on exploring the complicated relationship between the First Amendment and culturally disempowered groups in the United States. This research culminated in the publication of several articles and my first book, Modern Power and Free Speech: Contemporary Culture and Issues of Equality. In Modern Power, I use post-structural feminist theories of societal power and individual agency to create a new conception of freedom of speech and a testable, concrete framework for case analysis of speech involving disempowered groups. This framework both deconstructs liberal conceptions of autonomy in case law and dispels the discourse in those free speech areas that sidestep or ignore issues of power and agency. My recent research projects include the development of a constitutional argument for the protection of academic freedom, a critique of the quickly evolving government speech doctrine, and a re-evaluation of hate speech laws in relation to Internet hate speech. In addition to my scholarship focusing on First Amendment issues, I also have presented work comparing Russian and U.S. media.
My teaching at UW Tacoma predominately focuses on courses for our Communication Major. My course offerings cover both skills-based courses and theory-base courses. My skills courses focus on writing for print media, while my theory courses cover a range of topics from law to history.
TCOM 275 Writing, Reporting and Editing for the Mass Media
TCOM 349 News Writing
TCOM 482 Investigative Reporting
TCOM 484 Opinion Writing for Mass Media
TCOM 486 Feature Writing for Magazines
TCOM 353 Critical Approaches to Mass Communication
TCOM 354 Communication History
TCOM 388 Russian Media Studies
TCOM 454 Communication Law
Union for Democratic Communication steering committee member
UW Seattle Jackson School of International Studies, affiliate faculty
Student Success Mentoring Program, mentor
Team in Training Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, participant and past mentor
Faculty Supervisor, UW Tacoma/Moscow State University Newspaper Project. Autumn 2002 to present.