Posts tagged Robin Means Coleman

Welcoming the New Department Chair: Robin Means Coleman

Project Humanities Launch WeekThursday night panel.Happy autumn! Fall is one of my favorite seasons, bringing with it colorful foliage, cooler temperatures perfect for outdoor activities, and tasty apple cider. Poet John Keats aptly described autumn as a season of “mellow fruitfulness.”

In Communication Studies, fall marks the beginning of a bustling academic year that is most certainly “fruitful,” but whose energy is far from “mellow.”

These are exciting times as we just completed an external review of our department. We are benefiting from a new, comprehensive department governance structure. More, we are enlivened as we continue to chart innovative scholarly and pedagogical routes. These intellectual pathways will enhance our already stellar reputation as globally recognized disciplinary leaders.

Our department is celebrating new faculty arrivals. I am absolutely thrilled to welcome three new faculty members to the department. Reighan Gillam, an Assistant Professor, joins us from the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, here at the University of Michigan, where she completed a research fellowship. Reighan’s research focuses on Afro-Brazilian racial politics in commercial television. She is completing a book on the development of a Black television network—TV de Gente—in Sāo Paulo, Brazil. Katherine Sender, a Full Professor, arrives from the University of Auckland in New Zealand bringing her expertise in gender, sexuality, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer representation. Her current research focuses on sex museums and transnational sexual mobilities. Brian Weeks, an Assistant Professor, comes to us after completing a research fellowship at the University of Vienna. His research focuses on political communication with particular attention to affect, misperceptions, misinformation, and rumor. He is concerned with how inaccurate political beliefs emerge.

Our ranks continue to grow as we also welcome one of our larger doctoral student cohorts. I extend greetings to Sedona Chinn, Stewart M. Coles, Dia Das, Ian Hawkins, Dan Hiaeshutter-Rice, Sage Lee, Sriram Mohan, and Emily Saidel. At the undergraduate level, we continue to be one of the most popular majors on campus. Our new Associate Chairs, Kris Harrison (undergraduate program) and Aswin Punathambekar (graduate program) are directing their respective programs with an eye toward advancing cutting-edge curricula, fostering diversity, and supporting students with their professional development goals.

Our halls will be teeming with visitors who will be joining us for several stimulating events. These events include, but are certainly not limited to:

• Fall Convocation (October 6) in which we welcome our new and returning majors.

• Global Media Studies Initiative (October 8-9). This inaugural symposium kicks off the formal establishment of the Initiative in the department. Guest speakers Wendy Willems (London School of Economics and Political Science) and Michael Curtin (UC Santa Barbara) will discuss where the field of global media is heading, as well as the globalization of media production.

• Entertainment Media Career Forum (November 13), which brings back alumni to provide career mentoring for our students.

• The Marsh Lecture (date TBD), presented by Louisa Lim, the Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism. Lim is author of the award-winning book The People Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited.

• Colloquium (Thursdays, 4-5:30), in which we hear from a range of presenters about new scholarly inroads.

• And, of course, we are already looking ahead toward the Department’s Commencement (April 29, noon) where we celebrate our graduates and shake the rafters with cheers of “Go Blue!”

Finally, we are in the process of completing some welcome renovations. The 7th floor has been sound-proofed to support the inventive research being conducted in our various research labs. The graduate student lab is in the process of receiving a major overhaul, to include new paint and furniture. We look forward to an open house celebrating our graduate students’ recent achievements and showcasing the lab’s new look. Finally, the 5th floor will be brought to life with artwork, furniture, and other enhancements.

In short, Communication Studies is the place to be if you want an intellectually dynamic, far from mellow environment.

In Brief: April 2014


Congratulations to all of our graduating Communication Studies students! READ MORE »

Robin R. Means Coleman’s Book Published

In follow up to a previous post, Associate Professor Robin R. Means Coleman‘s most recent book, Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to the Present, was published by Routledge this June. Horror Noire traces the history of characterizations of blackness in the horror film genre and examines the extent of black participation (both on screen and off) within the genre. Means-Coleman argues that the horror film genre provides a representational space for blacks to challenge racialized imagery in separate media outlets, and allows a greater range of portrayal within the very concept of blackness. Through the shifting imagery in horror films, Means-Coleman offers a glimpse into the social history of blacks in America and into the ways popular culture’s stories comment on race. Covering a wide range of films within the horror genre, Horror Noire tracks how racial fears and anxieties are both depicted and combated in black cinema.

In a review of the book, NYU Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication Charlton McIlwain writes, “Slavery’s brutality. The Violence that birthed a nation. Our own modern-day “birther’ movement. Without question, Blacks, blackness and black identity is inextricably linked with horror. Means-Coleman plunders a natural, yet untapped source: the horror film. The result is a treasure trove of insight into how racial performance, racialized narratives, as well as challenges to prevailing racial discourse permeate American life. Means-Coleman builds her case for the historical and contemporary significance of horror films not only by astutely choosing the most exemplary among them, but by presenting her analysis in a vivid and powerful historical trajectory where 20th century media and 21st century technology set the stage for new debates about the future of race and Blackness in the global public sphere.”

Horror Noire is available in hardcover and paperback, and can be found at Routledge and other book stores and distributors.

Robin Coleman Receives Associate Professor Fund Award

Robin Means ColemanAssociate Professor Robin Means Coleman has been awarded one of the highly competitive Associate Professor Fund awards from the University of Michigan to support her research on her work-in-progress on the role of the NAACP’s media activism in affecting media history, politics and content.  The funds will support Robin’s travel to numerous archives next year as she completes research on this project.

Robin Coleman’s Forthcoming Book

Associate Professor Robin Means Coleman’s new book, Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films: 1890’s to Present will be released on June 29th 2011. Read a synposis of the book after the jump.


“Scared of Something? Black Women and the Horror Film”

Associate Professor Robin Means Coleman gave a talk on March 17th called “Scared of Something? Black Women and the Horror Film” as a part of the Center for AfroAmerican and African Studies (CAAS) Faculty Brown Bag Series.

Coleman has a dual appointment in Communication Studies and CAAS. She says, “The University of Michigan is an enthusiastic supporter of interdisciplinarity. I am quite fortunate to be on the faculty of Communication Studies and of CAAS. My association with these two departments has proven to be tremendously beneficial to my research and teaching by bringing increased theoretical and methodological perspective, depth, and complexity to the issues that I explore. These departments represent the best of what transcending disciplinary boundaries is all about.”

Robin Means Coleman Receives Humanities Award

Associate Professor Robin Means Coleman has been awarded a highly competitive LS&A Michigan Humanities Award which will help complete her book project on the NAACP’s media activism over the past 100 years.

Robin Means Coleman Received the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award

Six faculty members, including Associate Professor Robin Means Coleman, dedicated to developing cultural and ethnic diversity at the University of Michigan have received the 2010 Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award from the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Affairs.

Robert Townsend’s Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy

On April 9, 2010 the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies in conjunction with the Department of Communications Studies proudly presented Robert Townsend’s, Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy.


Robin Means Coleman: Who Will Take Oprah’s Daytime TV Crown?

Associate Professor Robin Means Coleman spoke with about the difficulty in identifying an heir apparent for Oprah Winfrey, who has said she will end her daytime television show in 2011.