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From Iron Maiden to Coastal Fisheries to March Madness: A Day of Shared Research

The Department of Communication & Theatre Arts will host a virtual research colloquium featuring work by its faculty on Wednesday, May 27 from 9:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

"For the most part, these presentations are of papers that had been accepted to conferences this past Spring and Summer that were, unfortunately, canceled," said Avi Santo, associate professor and chair of the department. "It also includes some works in progress."


9:45-10:00 AM Chair remarks

10:00-10:30 AM

Tom Socha (with Tiffany Daniel, Danyella Jones, Adam Pyecha, Shana Stanley-Costanzo, Rae Smith, Anika Williams)

Title: Communicating With Anti-Social Outgroups: An Exploratory Intergroup Study of Grouches, Bullies, A$$holes, and B!#hes

Abstract: This paper reports a mixed-methods, inter-group communication study (n = 72) of antisocial outgroups. It examined (a) how individuals perceive group membership markers of four antisocial outgroups (grouches, bullies, assholes, and bitches); (b) communication resignation/resistance tendencies when encountering members of these four antisocial outgroups, and (c) the role (if any) that communicators' sex and dispositional happiness plays in interactions with members of these four antisocial outgroups. Results provide evidence that an intergroup approach to studying antisocial outgroups is conceptually rich. Cluster analysis identified shared and unique group markers of four antisocial outgroups (grouches, bullies, assholes, and bitches) and shows that group markers matter when individuals make communication choices whether to resign/resist, especially when communicating with assholes. Sex of communicator and dispositional happiness were also found to affect resigning/resisting when encountering assholes

10:30-11:00 AM

David Mallin

Title: "Unmasked"

Abstract: Unmasked is a short screenplay based inside the world of the current COVID-19 Pandemic. It focuses on Phillip, who lives alone in a Virginia suburb. His lack of human connection leads him to attend a lockdown protest. Several days later he interacts with his elderly neighbor Barbara, who goes on to contract the disease and pass away. Phillip will never know if he passed the virus to Barbara, but the uncertainty and associated guilt push Phillip to reevaluate how he is responding to the circumstances. Reopening film production under the guidelines of physical distancing is going to be a significant challenge. Unmasked not only attempts to address the issues currently faced by the world with its content, but it also aims to be a film production that could reasonably take place in the near future. Masks and physical distancing are written into the script to a significant degree, and the approach is one that could be executed with a relatively lean crew.

11:00-11:30 AM Jane Rowe

Title: Nature, Culture, and Narrative: A Community in the Balance

Abstract: This paper will analyze the narratives told by residents of a rural coastal Virginia community who describe their relationship with the natural world through stories. These residents, some of whom are farmers or fishers, have a lifestyle and, in some cases, a livelihood, that is rooted in the natural world, which they consider synonymous with "home." I will draw from the works of Walter Fisher and other scholars to examine the beliefs, values, and persuasive messages embedded within these narratives to argue that the rural residents are members of a culture that is grounded in the natural world. Currently, they see their community as threatened by sea-level rise, nearby development, and by government policies that they see as increasing the risk of flooding in their communities. My overarching question will be: Are these narratives an effective tool for residents arguing for the preservation of their community? Can they help to persuade opinion leaders to take action to preserve the environment and culture? I will argue that these residents are effectively creating persuasive arguments through narratives about past or contemporary life that depict their relationship to the natural world, and I will incorporate the perspectives on aesthetics, culture, and economy that are embedded in these narratives.

11:30-12:00 PM Priya Vashist

Title: A More Perfect Union

Abstract: My presentation will be focused on my research for the Short Documentaries grant at NEH. The documentary will tell the story of Hunton Y through the lens of gentrification in St Pauls neighborhood, which Hunton Y has been serving since 1875. The presentation will go into the details of my research, ideas, and rationale for the documentary project.

12:00-1:00 Break for lunch

1:00-1:30 PM: Alison Lietzenmayer, Danielle Jackson & Alice Jones

Title: From Iron Maiden and Mother to Boss and Mentor: How women in Higher Education can use gendered communication roles to get ahead

Abstract: This session will use Baxter's 2012 framework on transformative gendered resources to facilitate a conversation on the ways in which women are still performing invisible emotional and service labor while on their path to and in leadership positions. Participants will have an opportunity to engage in conversations and create action steps for managing conversations around key topics.

1:30-2:00 PM Avi Santo

Title: Fanning The Flames of Fan Lifestyles at Hot Topic

Abstract: In this presentation, I am particularly interested in how the category of fandom is now being re-conceptualized by retailers like Hot Topic as part of the industrial turn toward lifestyle branding, wherein branded merchandise is an integral resource through which people can assert their uniqueness, style, and worldview and cultivate what Sarah Banet-Weiser calls their "self-brand." I argue that today's brand owners, licensors and retailers are explicitly courting consumers as fans - or inviting them to see themselves as fans - while depicting fandom as a desirable assertion of difference and distinction from societal norms, albeit one rooted in mainstream consumerism and brand culture. As such, I argue that fandom as a lifestyle category complicates the traditional binary within fan studies between affirmational and transformative forms of fandom as an affirmation of industry-sanctioned merchandise is predicated upon its transformative potential to harness one's self-brand and distinguish oneself among peers.

2:00-2:30 PM Fran Hassencahl

Title: "Stages of Being Foreign as Portrayed in Inch Allah Dimanche and Bent Keltoum"

Abstract: The research question was: How do Inch Allah Dimanche, made by Yamina Benguigui (2001) and Bent Keltoum (2001) made by Mehdi Charef, portray the immigrant experience? Assuming that film reflects the human experience, I examined these films about immigrant experience to see how Kalervo Oberg's model of Culture Shock applied to the portrayed experiences of Zouina and Rallia the main characters.

2:30-3:00 PM Myles McNutt

Title:"'There's a Reason the Show Has An American Feel': Negotiations of Spatial Capital in Netflix's Foreign Originals."

Abstract: While Netflix has transformed our understanding of global distribution with its centralized platform, this presentation explores how the terms of that globalization have led to locally-produced series designed to drive subscriber growth in markets like Spain and the United Kingdom being stripped of specificity. By exploring the terms by which value is ascribed to the elision of place, I explore how issues of distribution complicate the acquisition and understanding of what I term "spatial capital" within my current book project.

3:00-3:30 PM Brendan O'Hallarn

Title: The Day the Madness Died

Abstract: The Indiana Sports Commission had to scramble as the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament was canceled mid-event because of COVID-19. Through the eyes of the event's volunteer coordinator, see how organizers put crisis communication best practices into action.

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