I grew up on the edge of Amish Country, watching plain-clothed people bring vegetables to the farmers market by horse and buggy. And I have lived in far-flung places—including the Bouches-du-Rhône and Beijing as well as Bloomington and Brooklyn. Acclimating to diverse lifestyles, languages and landscapes is my modus operandi. I view cultures from the outside, question assumptions about how things “should” be done, and understand that another way of living is always possible.
Before earning a Ph.D, I considered myself a soup-to-nuts journalist, working variously as a writer, editor, photographer and page designer for the American Red Cross, China Daily and Philadelphia City Paper, among others. I managed a photography lab at Temple University and did public relations at Lehigh University for a while. I also hosted shows at college radio stations and interned with Tony Michaelides, a British music promoter who plugged for 4AD, Factory and other independent labels.
These experiences shaped my perspective as a scholar and educator. For more than a decade, I have studied alternative media, social activism, new technologies and popular culture from critical and cultural perspectives. I teach courses that weave together communication, media studies and journalism with a strong emphasis on writing, creativity, civic engagement and critical thinking.
My original research appears in a range of academic and popular venues. I have contributed book chapters on activist audiences to Routledge and on “slow media” to Wiley-Blackwell. I have published around a dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Communication, Culture & Critique and Media, Culture & Society. I also write articles for The Huffington Post and other general audiences, including the blog “Slow Media” and the online guide “Unplug Your Class.”
My new work examines media from the viewpoint of sustainability and Green issues. I derive inspiration from the media ecology theories of Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman as well as George Gerbner's cultural environment movement. James Carey, Walter Benjamin and Robert McChesney have left indelible marks, too. Another great theoretical source is Slow Food, where I have identified a framework for thinking about the influence of media on human and environmental well-being.
I have shared many of these ideas in interviews with the Australian Broadcasting Corp’s Radio National program, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., German public radio and other journalists. I discussed social-media addiction in a panel with Michael Chiklis (The Shield) on Huffington Post Live. And, National Public Radio featured me in two segments of its Marketplace program focusing on my year of unplugging.
I live in New York City with my husband, Michael Fanuzzi—a musician, gardener and wine enthusiast who moonlights as a technologist. We are endlessly entertained by our cats, Quincy and Violet, as well as Repecca, the downy woodpecker who regularly visits our backyard feeder. She is like part of the family and doesn't know it.