Our MA and PhD Students

Our graduate students are conducting exciting research in diverse subject areas.

Mohammad Aldhahri

Mohammad Aldhahri is a PhD student in the Student Photo Mohammad Aldahahriprogram of Communication and Culture at York University. He holds an MA in Film Studies from Concordia University, and a B.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (clinical pharmacy stream) from King Saud University. Mohammad’s research range from a broad interest in media and film studies, with an emphasis on film philosophy and phenomenological hermeneutics, to a particular interest in the premodern aesthetics and artistic practices: their dialectical relationship with contemporary philosophical modes of thought (shaped by natural philosophy, metaphysics, mysticism and theology), and to the then-emerging secular and rational modalities (promoted by science and logical positivism)

Before starting his graduate studies, Mohammad had worked as a pharmacist for several years. In addition, he had worked as a freelancer journalist and film critic for several Arabic newspapers and publications. He had also directed, written, and produced several short films and documentaries. His short film “Sunrise/Sunset” had been screened in several international and regional film festivals and had received multiple awards including The International Film Critics' Award (FIPRESCI).

Manfred Becker

Manfred Becker entered academia through the back door, Student Photo Manfred Beckerafter working as an independent documentary filmmaker, since immigrating to Canada 30 years ago. Manfred's area of research grew out of those decades as a media practitioner. The current proliferation of factual entertainment programs and its popularity raises urgent questions about the ethics and responsibilities of its creators towards its subjects and audiences, since there is a perceived deficit of media literacy and - awareness among both. As a programmer for the Rendez Vous with Madness Film Festival, he has addressed the question where the dividing line of entertainment versus social responsibility is situated.

However, as a practitioner in the traditional field of documentary Manfred faces similar questions. Please refer to At-home - Ethics of Studying People on the Edge for more information.

Exploring that dilemma will be the focus of his dissertation. Manfred also teaches film at both Ryerson's Image Arts and York University's Fine Arts.

both Ryerson's Image Arts and York University's Fine Arts.

Shaughna Boara

Shaughna Boara is a Masters Student at York University in the Communication & Culture joint program with Ryerson University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media Production from Ryerson’s RTA School of Media (Formerly Radio and Television Arts).
Her research interests include the varied reactions to sound, the human experience of soundscapes and listening, as well as music, sound and culture. She is not only involved with sound through her studies, but accesses sound from a practical background in production as a sound engineer approaching her research from the both theoretical and practical viewpoints.

Conference Presentations
“Sound Design and the Mind: The Listener’s Reception of Sound” Broadcast Education Association Conference, 2017, WestGate, Las Vegas, NV.
“She Wears Short Skirts, I Wear T-Shirts: Women, Transitions and Popular Music” Popular Culture Association of Canada Annual Conference, 2017, Sheridan Hotel, Niagara Falls,ON.
Joseph Armand-Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship MA, 2017
RTA School of Media: Matt Jesson Award, 2015

Natalja Chestopalova

Student Photo Natalja ChestopalovaNatalja Chestopalova is a PhD Candidate in Communication and Culture at York University. She holds an MA in Literatures of Modernity from Ryerson University and an Honours Bachelor Degree in English and Political Science from the University of Toronto.

Natalja’s current research is informed by popular culture aesthetics, space/place, and psychoanalysis, and focuses on the transformative experience and multimodality in literature, graphic novel, immersive site-specific performance, and film. Her recent works include a paper on trauma, affect, and plasticity in cinema at the PCA ACA Conference, and a paper on architectural capital in multimodal literature at the ACLA. Natalja’s publications appeared in The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism and the White Wall Review.

Burke Christian

Student Photo Burke ChristianBurke is a part-time PhD candidate in the department exploring areas of deliberative democracy and the potential for a revitalized public sphere through reform of public and democratic institutions.

He is also interested in the construction of ideology through political discourse and its impact on citizens understanding of our democratic institutions.His Masters dissertation “Mediated Legitimacy: Canada’s 2008 Parliamentary Crisis: A Study of Ideology, Legitimacy and Political Communication” explored this relationship using the 2008 parliamentary crisis in Canada as a case study.

When he is not working on his research, you can find Burke travelling the halls of Queen’s Park where is he currently serving as the Senior Strategic Advisor to the Chief Officer, Diversity & Accessibility. In this role he provides strategic policy and program advice and serves as the liaison with senior decision-makers across the public service, including the Secretary of the Cabinet. Since joining the Ontario Public Service in 2000 he has held a number of senior policy and communication roles in a number of key ministries, including Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Training, Colleges and Universities, Community Safety & Corrections and the Attorney General.

Thomas Cooke

Student Photo Thomas CookeI explore how the material, technical and digital aspects of wearable technologies delineate privacy, and the ways in which these private experiences are contaminated by NSA surveillance practices. My intellectual lineage is mashed together through critical security studies, international political sociology, surveillance studies, materiality studies, sociology of technology and privacy theory.

I’m interested in government and corporate big data and meta data tracking and behavioral profiling techniques, particularly through HTTP cookies and asynchronous syntax. I’m a graduate fellow at the York Centre for International and Security Studies, and weekly radio discussant on surveillance, technology and privacy issues on 1290 CJBK.

J.A. ForbesStudent Photo James Forbes

James Alexander Forbes is a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow and PhD Candidate in Communication and Culture at York University. His general research focuses primarily on materialist perspectives in the philosophy and history of technology. More specifically, he is interested in questions of mobility and the medium, media archaeology, and machine ontology as it is portrayed in the literature and film of science fiction. He is also conducting research in queer theory, queer ontology, and is a lifelong advocate for HIV+ people.

His proposed dissertation will examine the lived experience of HIV+ Long Term Survivors as a potential site for the positive reclamation of queer theory, and as a means of championing and celebrating lives and stories that are frequently marginalized. He holds a B.A. from McGill (English and Anthropology), a B.A. Honours from Concordia (Philosophy), and a M.A. from Ryerson and York (Communication and Culture).

Supervisory Committee:
Dr. Kevin Dowler (Supervisor), Dr. Anne MacLennan

Select Publications:
Selling Heaven: Evangelical Natalism in 19 Kids and Counting. Ed. Roberta Garrett, Tracey Jensen and Angie Voela. In: We Need to Talk about Family: Essays on Neo-liberalism, The Family and Popular Culture, 2016.

Select Conference Papers:
Quilts and Candlelight: Marginalization, Memory, and the Stigmatization of HIV+ Long Term Survivors in Canadian ASO’s. IAMCR 2016, Leicester UK.

Material and Technique: On the Origins of Writing in the Ancient Near-East. CCA/Congress 2016, Calgary AB.

Television as Oracle: Ancient Greek Epigraphy from Dodona and the Modern Soap Opera. Northeast Popular Culture Association Regional Conference 2014, Providence, RI.

Politics and Printing in the Dutch Golden Age: La République des Lettres in the Printing House of Samuel Luchtmans? Technology/Politics 2014, Trent University Graduate Conference, Peterborough, ON.

Narrowing the Gap: Normative Representation of Families and the Limitations of Political Discourse. Popular Culture Association of America National Conference 2014, Chicago, IL.

Conference Chairing:
Co-Chair, Intersections | Cross-Sections 2015

SSHRC 2016 Doctoral Fellowship
OGS 2016 (Declined)
Waitlisted, Vanier 2015 Competition

Samuel Forrest

Student Picture Samuel ForrestSamuel Forrest is a MA Candidate at the Joint Communication and Culture Program at York and Ryerson Universities. He also holds a BA in Film and Media studies from Queen’s University and presently sits on the Executive Committee of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies.

His research interests include mythology and religious studies, political communications, television and film narrative, news media, and populism. His thesis project explores the intersection of myth construction and celebrity culture in Canadian politics. More specifically he is investigating the construction of political leaders as ideological archetypes for social values, and their relationship to the concept of the political election narrative.

In addition to his scholarly pursuits Samuel has worked in communications, policy, and speechwriting for political election campaigns. He has also worked with cultural festivals, Indigenous communities, environmentalist organizations, and support groups for individuals with disabilities.

Ximena Griscti

Ximena Griscti is a PhD Candidate (ABD) in Communication and Culture at York University. She holds an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto and a BA Honours in Spanish Literature and Society from Concordia University. Ximena's academic interests revolve around the fields of critical theory, cultural studies, media studies, and urban culture. She is currently writing her dissertation, which explores the text-based graffiti that emerged in post-dictatorial Uruguay as a form of grassroots mass media.


“Outlaw Mass Media and Democratization: The Role of Graffiti in Uruguay's Democratic Transition”


Steve Bailey (Supervisor), Kevin Dowler, Colin Mooers

Awards and Scholarships

  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Doctoral, 2014
  • SSHRC CGS Doctoral Scholarship, 2010-2013
  • SSHRC Master's Scholarship, 2009

Tyrone Hall

Tyrone Hall currently holds the prestigious Ontario Trillium Scholarship. Student Photo Tyrone HallHis graduate work concerns global communication for development and social change, specifically global climate change communication processes. Hall is among the first set of ComCult students to earn the Mitacs Globalink Research Award for his project on climate justice narratives in India. He holds a Masters of Arts in International Development and Social Change from Clark University in Massachusetts, USA, where he held the Compton International Fellowship in Environment and Sustainable Development. Hall previously managed the communications portfolio for 19 climate change projects across a dozen Caribbean islands, Belize, Guyana and Suriname. He now serves as the primary communications advisor to the regional climate change centre, which is a United Nations Centre of Excellence. He is the creator and editor of Caribbean Climate, the premier climate change blog in the Caribbean, and routinely reviews various climate change communication and ICT for agriculture and youth employability initiatives in Sub-Suharan Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific countries.

Abu Haque

Student Photo Abu HaqueAbu Haque is a graduate student in Communication and Culture, his research interest lies in identity politics, ethnic minorities, media (mis)representation, cultural hegemony, and Diaspora. He is interested in combining research and creativity- either documenting research findings through a creative process or using the creative process as a means of inquiry.

He holds an MBA in Finance from The People's University of Bangladesh and MA in English from National University. Abu also holds a diploma on Videography: Broadcast Journalism/Documentary from Conestoga College, where he won The Ken Mackenzie Memorial Award & Bell Media Videography Digital Media Award for outstanding contribution. He worked as a documentary filmmaker, anchor and journalist for 519 Online News. He volunteered a promotional video project for the “Centre for Community Based Research (CCBR)” and edited a Bengali literary magazine “Odoito”.

He writes in different forms, such as blogs and columns, editorials and commentaries, reports and criticisms. His writings cover a variety of topics including arts and culture, identity politics, lifestyle and Asian Diaspora. He is passionate about painting and photography and had two solo exhibitions to his credit.



Emilie Hurst

Emilie Hurst is a first year PhD student in the Communication and Culture departement at York University. She previously obtained a BA (Honours) in Music and Creative Writing from Dalhousie University and an MA in Music and Culture from Carleton University where she explored the role of repetition in the music of Doctor Who through a Deleuzian lens. Her current research interest centres on studying fans of classical music, especially those of the composer Richard Wagner.

Steve Jankowski

Student Photo Steve JankowskiSteve Jankowski is a PhD candidate Communication and Culture at York University. He holds an MA in Communication from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor of Design from the York / Sheridan Design Program. Steve's current research interests include critical theory, digital epistemologies and new media aesthetics. More specifically he is exploring how the affordances of media have influenced the creation, dissemination, circulation and experience of knowledge.

Lianrui Jia

Student Photo Lianrui JiaLianrui Jia is a PhD student in the Communication and Culture Program at York University. She holds a M.A, and B.A (Honors) in Communication Studies from Carleton University. Her research areas are in political economy and media policy and regulation, especially on the development of historical and contemporary telecommunication regulations and Internet policies. In particular, her research examines the interplay between politics and economy, the role of the state, and private sector, in shaping media regulation regime.

Selected Awards
EU-China Dialogue in Media and Communication Studies Summer School Best Paper Award (2014/07)
J.A. Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2013-2014)
Canada-China Friendship Award (2012-2013)
School of Journalism and Communication Departmental Scholarship (2012-2014)
Dean’s Honor List (2009-2013)
Carleton Academic scholarship (2011-2012)
David. A Golden Scholarship (2010-2011)

Research Experience
Research Assistant, Canadian Spectrum Policy Research (2015/01- present)
Graduate Associate, York Centre for Asian Research, York University (2014/12- present)
Lead Research Assistant, Canadian Media Concentration Research Project (2012/09 - present)

Jia, L. and Negro, G., From Infrastructure to Business: the Political Economy of the Internet in China, China Perspectives, (Forthcoming)
Jia, L. Exporting Technologies of control: contemporary roles of Yahoo! and Google in the development of China's Great Firewall, Profiling Anonymous: 7th Annual Carleton Graduate Caucus Conference, Ottawa, Canada (2012)

Translation Book Chapter
Winseck, D. The Network Media Economy: Triumph of the Media Infrastructure Industries, or Crisis of Media? In Junhao Hong (ed.) New Trends in Communication Studies, China: Tsinghua University Press, (in press).

Selected Conference Presentation and Short Talk
What Public and Whose Opinion? A Critical Analysis of Online Public Opinion Management Specialist in China, First UK-China Media and Cultural Studies Association Annual Conference, Cardiff, UK (2015)
Between Identifiability and Anonymity: Real Name Policy on the Chinese Internet, EU-China Dialogue in Media and Communication Studies Summer School, Peking University, China (2014)
From Technology to Industry: A Historical Analysis on the Developmental Logic of the Internet in China, 12th Chinese Internet Research Conference, Hong Kong (2014)
Conference Co-chair, Screen: 9th Annual Carleton Graduate Caucus Conference, Ottawa, Canada (2014)
Desperately Seeking the “Name”: Examining the Historical Progression of Real Name Policies on the Chinese Internet, Citizen Lab Connaught Summer Institute on Monitoring Internet Openness and Rights, Toronto, Canada (2013)

Andrea Kosavic

Student Photo Andrea KosavicAndrea Kosavic is a PhD candidate in Communication and Culture at York University. She holds a Master of Information Studies (MISt)  in Information Systems from the University of Toronto, and a BSc in Biology from the University of Toronto.

Her work in the field of scholarly publishing in her capacity as Digital Initiatives Librarian at York University prompted her interest in pursuing an in-depth exploration of disciplinary cultures. Her PhD work will focus on scholars in the humanities and the means by which they work towards establishing a scholarly reputation. She is particularly interested in the factors that affect a faculty member's choice of publication vehicle, and the role publication prestige has in dialogue with variables including peer review, tenure and promotion requirements, status of university, and the idiosyncrasies of discrete disciplines and university departments.

Alysse Kushinski

Student Photo Alysse KushinskiAlysse Kushinski is a PhD student in Communication and Culture at York University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of British Columbia and holds a Masters of Science in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Alysse’s current research focuses on the politics and aesthetics of visual culture, specifically concerning the circulation of photographs of abject landscapes, waste and ruins. Generally, her work sits at the intersection of critical theory, aesthetics, and visual and material.

Mary Grace Lao

Student Photo Grace LaoMary Grace Lao is a PhD candidate in York and Ryerson Universities’ Communication and Culture program. She holds a BSc in Psychology and Exceptionality in Human Learning from the University of Toronto and an MEd from Brock University. Her PhD research looks at gender-based violence and rape culture in the context of social media and if/how it affects the ways that issues of sexual violence and assault are framed in mainstream media. Additional areas of research interest are: politics of representation, Asian studies, online “space”, and surveillance.

Mary Grace was co-chair of ComCult’s annual Intersections | Cross-Sections Conference and Art Exhibit in 2016 and has recently completed summer-long Education Specialist internship with the Shanti Uganda Society, working with midwives on improving maternal and infant health programs in Luwero District, Uganda.

Supervisory Committee:
Steve Bailey, Paul Moore, Ganaele Langlois
Select Awards and Distinctions:
Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Doctoral (2016, 2017)
York University International Internship Award (2016)
Brock University Master of Education Research Fellowship (2011)
Select Publications and Presentations:
Book Review, “Joseph M. Reagle Jr: Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web,” International Journal of Communication Vol. 10 (2016).
Presentation with Chris Alton, “Villain Fandom: The Romanticization of KIlgrave in Jessica Jones,” Film Studies Association of Canada Annual Conference, Calgary, AB, June 2016.
Presentation, “Crisis in Broadcasting: An Examination of the CBC’s Response to Jian Ghomeshi,” BEA 2016 Conference, Las Vegas, NV, April 2016.

Nicolette Little

Student Photo Nicolette LittleNicolette Little is a PhD candidate in York University’s Communication and Culture doctoral program. Nicolette holds an MA (English literature) from Dalhousie University, where, with the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC-CGS), she explored polarized and typecast representations of feminine beauty in Victorian texts and art. She earned her BA (Hons.) from University of Toronto, in English literature and history.

In addition to her scholarly work, Nicolette teaches literary studies and communications at Sheridan College, in Ontario, Canada and works as a writer, editor and speechwriter. Her most recent work, a children’s book entitled A Toot in the Tub, is slated for 2017 publication by Newfoundland’s Flanker Press.

Nicolette was awarded the United Way “Top 20 Under 40 Award” for her work as a committed advocate in the fight to end gender-based violence. Her current research interests include the memory stone “advocacy art” of Leah Parsons (Rehtaeh Parsons’ mother), and ways Muslim-Canadian women voiced their concern about federal attempts to ban the head veil in Canadian citizenship ceremonies. Nicolette was recently awarded the Mitacs Globalink Research Award for research that examines the inclusion of marginalized voices in Indian environmental policy formation. She will be researching in India this summer.

Bryn Ludlow

Student Photo Bryn LudlowBryn A. Ludlow is a second-year doctoral student at York University in the Department of Communication Studies, York and Ryerson Joint Graduate Program in Communication and Culture, Toronto. Her research and teaching interests specifically address themes of: curating in art and medicine; affect and technology; and visual and health communication. She has published in national and international journals, including: The Medical Post, Ars Medica: A Journal of Medicine, The Arts, and Humanities, The American Journal of Kidney Diseases (AJKD), The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and Forum: Qualitative Social Research (F-QSR). Guest lectures and presentations include: The Canadian Communication Association AGM, York University, OCAD University, The University of Toronto, GRAND-NCE, OCE Discovery, the Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG), and the Artful Social Work Workshop, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Contact Information
bludlow at yorku dot ca 

George Martin

George Martin is a PhD student in Communication and Culture at York University. His research considers sociological aspects of heritage conservation in cities. This involves examining how notions of historic cultural values are formulated through conversation and debate. George holds a MSc in Conservation from the University Hong Kong and has worked as an urban planning consultant in Toronto and Vancouver.

Christian Martius

Student Photo Christian RobinsonChristian Martius is a PhD Candidate in Communication & Culture at York University. His research is on contemporary bodily normalcy and he is currently writing his dissertation, based on interviews conducted in Toronto, on bodily norms in the 21st century. This research has been presented at Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Activate T.O. speaker series in 2016. In 2015 Christian spoke at The Toronto International Film Festival – Higher Learning series for The United Nations' International Day for Persons with Disabilities and has also contributed to the NEMLA and Bodies in Between conferences.

Daniela Mastrocola

Student Photo Daniela MastrocolaDaniela Mastrocola is a PhD candidate in York University’s Communication and Culture program. She holds an MA in Communication & Social Justice from the University of Windsor, where her OGS-funded research assessed CBC coverage of the Canadian seal hunts from the perspectives of Inuit sealers and animal rights activists. Daniela earned her first BA (Hons.) from the University of Toronto in English and Political Science, and second from York University in Communication Studies.

Daniela’s research and teaching interests include the political economy of communication and culture, alternative and activist media, and communication for social justice. Currently, her research explores the impacts of deregulation and digitalization on campus-community radio stations in Canada. Her recent work “Another One Bites the Dust? The Transition from CHRY 105.5FM to VIBE105” was awarded the CRTC Prize for Excellence in Policy Research.

Before beginning her doctorate, Daniela was the News & Spoken Word Coordinator at CHRY 105.5FM/VIBE105, where she oversaw the creation and dissemination of critical, locally reflective talk-radio content, largely with a social justice orientation.

Katie O'Connor

Student Photo Katie O'ConnorKatie O’Connor is a MA Candidate in the Joint Program in Communication and Culture at York and Ryerson Universities. She holds a Honours Diploma in Journalism-Print from Sheridan College and a Honours BA in Communication Studies from York University.
Her research areas are in crime and media studies, consumer culture, cultural studies and the construction of the celebrity. In particular, her current research examines the cultural representations of the serial killer in popular culture. Also, how do these representations in film and television and news media transform the notorious killer into a media icon. She will be demonstrating the cultural phenomenon of serial killer culture through a case study of American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

Katie has worked with Canadian cultural organizations such TIFF and Soulpepper Theatre Company and looks to a future career in the arts and culture sector. She has also completed editorial internships at both St. Joseph’s Media and Rogers Media. She is currently a contributing writer to Toronto Film Scene.

Murderabilia and True Crime Collectibles. Future Communications Conference 2015, York University.

"Norman Bates: The Serial Killer as Real/Reel Monstrous Figure in Hitchcock's Psycho." Worshiping the Monstrous: The Supernatural Screen; Film and History Conference 2016. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

"The Serial Killer as Consumer and the Consumed: American Psycho and the Cannibalistic Nature of Capitalism." Future Communications Conference December 2016, York University, Toronto, ON.

Upcoming Presentation
"Hybristophilia: Ted Bundy and the Women Who Loved Him." Crossing Over: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Death and Morbidity. Humanities Graduate Studies Association Conference. York University. February 17-18 2017. Yorkdale Holiday Inn, Toronto, ON.

Research Experience
Graduate Assistant, Communication Studies Department, Supervisor Dr. Anne MacLennan (September 2015-April 2016
Research Assistant, Communications Studies Department, Supervisor Dr. Anne MacLennan (December 2012-June 2015)Distinctions
Joseph Armand-Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship MA 2016

Amanda Oye

Student Photo Amanda OyeAmanda Oye is a PhD candidate in the Communication and Culture department at York University. She has a Master of Arts degree in Communication from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Her research interests include broadcast policy, public service broadcasting, new media and journalism.

She is the 2016 recipient of the Dalton Camp award for best essay written by a post-secondary student, and a recipient of the SSHRC Joseph Armand-Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship.

Jonathan Petrychyn

Student Photo Jon PetrychynJonathan Petrychyn is a PhD candidate and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow in Communication and Culture at York University. He holds an MPhil in Humanities from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a BA (Hons) in Fine Arts with a concentration in Film and Video Studies from the University of Regina. His dissertation will develop an account of the emotional histories and affective economies of queer film festivals on the Canadian Prairies from the mid-1980s to the present. More information can be found on the project website:

His interest in queer film festivals emerges from his extensive experience in event management and arts administration, as well as his experience as a community activist and organizer. Jonathan has previously worked for the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District in Regina, SK as part of a team developing summer arts programming, including Cinema Under the Stars, a summer-long outdoor film festival. He has also provided programming assistance to St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival in St. John’s, NL and the Wolseley Courthouse Restoration Project in Wolseley, SK.

As a community activist and organizer, Jonathan has been on the organizing committee of the Canadian University Queer Services Conference in both Regina and St. John’s. He has also served on the board of directors of the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, and the Regina Public Interest Research Group at the University of Regina, and of St John’s Pride in St. John’s, NL. More recently, he has facilitated workshops on rural queer solidarity for activists at Ryerson University and has developed the digital story Circles ( documenting the artist-activist practices of the CUPE 3903 strike in 2015.

Personal website:

Research interests
queer and trans theory; Canadian cinemas; affect and philosophies of emotion; critical geographies; film festivals; event management and arts administration; activism

Marusya Bociurkiw (supervisor), John McCullough, Markus Reisenleitner

Dissertation (working title)
The Affective Economies of Queer Film Festivals on the Canadian Prairies

Select awards and honours
SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, York University (2015- )
Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland (2014)
Faculty of Fine Arts Medal, University of Regina (2012)

Christian Oquendo Sanchez

Student Photo Christian OquendoChristian has a BA in Anthropology (PUCE-Ecuador), MA and PhD candidate in Communication and Culture, York University. My interest in communication theory grew out of British Cultural Studies and their perspectives on active audiences, while doing my undergraduate studies in Urban Anthropology.

My MA fieldwork brought me to Oaxaca, Mexico, where I conducted research on the public debate around genetically modified corn. My current research focuses on the new Communication Law in Ecuador, as well as broader debates within communication theory in Latin America. I am also involved with the Ecuadorian NGO Fundamedios, which specializes in freedom of speech, digital rights and journalism standards. During my PhD, I have continued to work as a journalist for a newspaper and a radio station in Ecuador, and am a regular contributor to a number of applied projects in communication, both in Latin America and Canada.

Anne-Marie Santerre

Student Photo Anne-Marie SanterreAnne-Marie Santerre is an MA Candidate in the Joint Program in Communication and Culture at York and Ryerson Universities. She holds a Diploma in Art History with a Minor in Dance from Université du Québec à Montréal and a Diploma in Philosophy from Université Laval.

Her research areas are Disability in Visual Art, precisely the representation of disabled bodies in motion, with the goal of creating a common understanding about the sociological and epistemological status of bodies.  Anne-Marie uses dance to create interactions between disabled and non-disabled bodies in the performing arts. The research has been conducted on the basis of the question how embodied practices such as dance can assist in reframing social understandings of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and eating disorder.

She is currently doing an internship and her research with AXIS Dance Company in Oakland, California, USA.

Deconstructing the Dancer's Body. Future Communications Conference, December 2015, York University, Toronto.

Deconstructing the Body : The Dancer. Contemporary Bodies in Toronto: Access, Art, and Policy, Activate T.O.,  April 2016, Toronto.

Research Experience
Graduate Assistant, Communication Studies Department, Supervisor Dr. Anne MacLennan (September 2015-April 2016)

Internship and Researcher in residence with Axis Dance Company, Oakland, California
(September 2016- October 2016)

Daniela Sanzone

Student Photo Daniela SanzoneDaniela Sanzone is a PhD York student in Communication &
Culture, joint program York/Ryerson Universities. Her research interests are Canadian broadcasting policies, journalism, and third language media. From La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy, she holds two Masters, in Communications Sciences (dissertation: La televisione di servizio – Educational Television), and Cultural Anthropology. Her Bachelor Degree in Literature and Fine Arts ended with a dissertation on History of Cinema and Critique (Realtà italiana e modelli sociali nel cinema di inchiesta del dopoguerra, 1945-1955 - Italian reality and social paradigms in Neorealist Cinema, 1945-1955). Before embracing her academic project on how news should reflect the complexity of the Canadian “interculturalism”,  Daniela was a film critic and a journalist. She worked for television and radio, print and online media. In Toronto, she has been a reporter for the Italian newspaper Corriere Canadese, and a News Anchor, On-Air Host, Producer and Reporter for the Italian News broadcast on Omni Television.

Conference papers presented:

  • 2014 October – Disconnected journalism: OMNI TV and CityTv unequal space – “Italian Without Borders – Transnational Italian American Experience” – 47th Annual Conference of the Italian American Studies Association, Toronto, University of Toronto.
  • 2013 December – How to improve ethnic media in the GTA, the crisis of OMNI TV as a case study – Future Communication Symposium, Toronto, York University.
  • 2013 March – A portrait of the present Italian Community in Ontario (Canada), section “Border Studies, Cultural Economy and Migration,” PCA-ACA (Popular Culture Association-American Culture Association), Washington, DC.
  • 2006 – Multiculturalism in the World of Mass Media during the Digital Era, Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Studies, University of Toronto.
  • 2002 – Italy and Italians on the North American silver screen, 79th Congress of the AATI (American association of teachers of Italian), OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), University of Toronto.

Academic publications:

  • Journal Article, “From Mass Media immigration to professional workers – A portrait of the present Italian ‘Comunità’ in Ontario”, Italian Canadiana, Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Studies. University of Toronto. (2016)
  • Book Review, “The Global Intercultural Communication Reader”, Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol. 40 N. 4 (2015).
  • Book Review, “Global Media Ethics: Problems and Perspective”, Canadian Journal of Communication, 39 N.3 (2014).
  • Journal Article, “Italian Canadian Mass Media in the Digital Era”, The Virtual Piazza, Special Issue of Italian Canadiana, Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Studies. University of Toronto, Vol. 19 (2006).
  • Book Research, La “scuola” italiana: storia, strutture e immaginario di un altro cinema (1988-1996) (The Italian “school”: history, structures and imaginary of another cinema). (Pesaro International Film festival). Pesaro (1996).
  • Journal Article, Neorealism as inquiry”. Il ragazzo selvaggio (Wild child). Centro Studi Cinematografici, Rome. April-June. (1995).

Kelsey Speakman

Kelsey Speakman is a SSHRCStudent Photo of Kelsey Speakman Doctoral Fellow and PhD Candidate in Communication and Culture at York University. She holds an MA in Performance Studies from New York University, and an Hon BA in English and Drama from the University of Toronto. Kelsey’s recent work includes presentations on entomophagy and the digitization of grocery shopping for the Canadian Association for Food Studies (CAFS), along with publications in TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies and in Koç, Sumner & Winson’s Critical Perspectives in Food Studies. Her dissertation research explores communication practices surrounding beef in contemporary Canadian supermarkets. More broadly, her research interests include consumer culture, animal studies, food studies, and environmental studies.


Whitney Sweet

Student Photo Whitney SweetWhitney Sweet is completing the first year of her MA. She is a graduate of York University with a double major honours BA in Creative Writing and English. Her poetry has been published by the online magazine The Activity Report and will be included in the forth coming anthology being put together by the Aspiring Canadian Poets Contest expected to be released in the fall of 2016.

Whitney’s current research interest lies in the body positivity movement and the experiences of women in large bodies. Her creative project involves the creation of a collection of poetry exploring this field connected to the hashtag #FatWomenAre.

You can find links to some of her poetry through her Facebook page:


Joseph Armand- Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship MA 2016
Judith Eve Gewurtz Memorial Poetry Award – York University 2014
Aspiring Canadian Poet 2nd Place Winner 2013
Short List Open Season Poetry Award- The Malahat Review 2015

Carmen Victor

Student Photo Carmen VictorCarmen Victor is a PhD student affiliated with the York/Ryerson Graduate Program in Communication & Culture, supervised by Dr. Janine Marchessault. Her research interests include exhibitions, museum studies, contemporary art, visual culture, experimental film, Arctic cinema, communication studies, critical surveillance studies, critical theories of climate change.
She serves on the board of Directors of YYZ Artists Outlet, is a caucus member of Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology and has recently published in Seismopolite: Journal of Art & Politics and Prefix Photo magazine # 32. She has forthcoming chapters in Kelly Richardson: Pillars of Dawn (Art Editions North, University of Sunderland, UK) and Sculpting Cinema (Pleasure Dome).
In 2015 she presented her research at the 103rd College Art Association in New York, the 41st Annual Conference of the Association of Art Historians at the University of East Anglia in the UK, the Film Studies Association of Canada at the University of Ottawa, Visible Evidence XXII at Ryerson University, and Arctic Cinemas and the Documentary Ethos at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2016 she was a panelist for the Toronto Film & Media Seminar at the TIFF Lightbox and will present at the Film Studies Association of Canada Annual Conference at the 2016 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences and others.
She is a recipient of the Anne Simone International Graduate Award (2015) and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2016-17).

Nathaniel Weiner

Student Photo Nathaniel WeinerNathaniel Weiner is a PhD candidate in York University and Ryerson University’s joint PhD program in Communication & Culture. He holds an MA in Media and Communication from Goldsmiths. His research interests include subculture, fashion, consumption, masculinity, and British social realist drama. He is currently researching men’s online fashion culture.

“The Mediated ‘Look’: Menswear, Masculinity and Consumption Online”

Markus Reisenleitner (supervisor), Anne Maclennan, Stephen Muzzatti

Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Doctoral, 2014
St. George’s Society of Toronto Endowment, 2013
Ontario Graduate Scholarship, Doctoral, 2011

Weiner, N. (2015). Resistance through realism: Youth subculture films in 1970s (and 1980s) Britain. European Journal of Cultural Studies: forthcoming, 19 pages.
Weiner, N. (2015). eBay’s digital culture: Friction-free capitalism in a consumer heterotopia. In A. Buckland & C. Caron (Eds.), TEM 2014: Proceedings of the technology and emerging media track, online.
Weiner, N. (2014). Transatlantic Translations of the Button-down Shirt. TranscUlturAl, 6(1), 97-107.
Weiner, N. (2013). Mod Men: The Contemporary Mod Subculture Online. Catwalk: The Journal of Fashion, Beauty and Style, 1(2), 1-24.

Weiner, N. (2014). Review of the exhibition Punk: Chaos to couture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. Catwalk: The Journal of Fashion, Beauty and Style, 3(1), 101-106.
Weiner, N. (2013). Review of the exhibition Ivy style, The Museum at FIT, New York, NY. Catwalk: The Journal of Fashion, Beauty and Style, 1(2), 96-100.
Weiner, N. (2013). Review of the exhibition Someday all the adults will die: Punk graphics 1971-1984, the Hayward Gallery, London (UK) and the book Punk: an aesthetic, by J. Savage, W. Gibson & L. Sterling. Punk & Post-Punk, 2(1), 107-110.

Jessica Whitehead

Student Photo Jessica WhiteheadJessica Whitehead is a PhD candidate in the Communication and Culture program at York University. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and completed her Masters of Arts at Ryerson University. She was a representative on the ComCult Graduate Student Association and is currently elected to the Teaching and Learning Awards Committee at York University.

Jessica’s research focuses on archival investigations into the history of film exhibition and reception in North America. Her dissertation explores the history of film exhibition in Northern Ontario and local “showman” Leo Mascioli. More information can be found on the project website (


Paul Moore (Supervisor), Anne MacLennan, Janine Marchessault

Select Publications

Jessica L Whitehead. "American Showman: Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908–1935." Early Popular Visual Culture 13, no. 1 (2015): 99-101.

Select Awards

SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship, 2013.

SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Masters Scholarship, 2011.

Select Conference Presentations

“Northern Film Exhibition: The Case Of Leo Mascioli, the Second World War and the shooting of Captains of the Clouds”, Film & History, October 2014, Madison WI.

“Captains of the Clouds: The story of Canada’s Wartime Epic”, Film Studies Association of Canada, June 2014, St. Catharines, ON.

“Moviegoing on the Margins: The Movie House Mogul of The North- Leo Mascioli, 1910-1952”, Film Studies Association of Canada, June 2013, Victoria, BC.
“Striving to Become Part of the Movies: The Historical Process of Fandom as a Participatory Practice”, Society for Cinema & Media Studies, March 2013, Chicago, IL.

Cheryl Williams

Student Photo Cheryl WilliamsCheryl Williams is a PhD student in the York/Ryerson Joint Graduate Program in Communications and Culture. Her research interests cross-sect digital media, childhood studies, and promotional and consumer culture.  Cheryl’s 12 years experience working in digital advertising, and her work as a mother to two young boys, uniquely flavour her academic research.


Kyler Zeleny

Student Photo Kyler Zeleny Kyler Zeleny (1988) is a Canadian photographer-researcher and author of Out West. His current photographic research interests deal with contemporary rural issues and how geography extends identity and creates community. His personal interests are in found photography, family albums and the politics of archives. He received his bachelors in Political Science from the University of Alberta and his masters from Goldsmiths College, University of London, in Photography and Urban Cultures. He is a founding member of the Association of Urban Photographers (AUP), a guest editor for the Imaginations Journal for Cross-Cultural Image Studies and a guest publisher with The Velvet Cell. Kyler Currently lives in Toronto, where he is a doctoral candidate in the joint Communication and Culture program at Ryerson and York University.

Personal Website:
The Velvet Cell: