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 Candidate at York University in the Communication & Culture joint program with Ryerson University, and media professional. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media Production from Ryerson’s RTA School of Media (Formerly Radio and Television Arts). As a media professional she works as live sound engineer in Toronto, a broadcast operator in the GTA, and the Executive assistant for Canada’s Most Listened to Spiritual Talk-show, The Drew Marshall Show. 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 an engineer approaching her research from the both theoretical and practical perspectives.

Conference Presentations
“Sound Design and the Mind: The Listener’s Reception of Sound” Broadcast Education Association Conference, 2017, WestGate, Las Vegas, NV.

“It’s Just How You Feel When You Know It’s for Real: The Implications of Coke as an Affective Auditory Immersive Consumer Space” Popular Culture Association, Mar. 2018, J.W. Marriott, Indianapolis, IN.

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.

Arjun Dhanjal

Arjun Dhanjal is an MA student in the Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture at York University and Ryerson University. He holds a BA in Media, Information & Technoculture from the University of Western Ontario. Arjun's current research investigates the bio- and necropolitical hierarchies reified by unsolicited dick pics within gay male communities, particularly with respect to racialized subjects. Generally, Arjun’s work sits at the intersections of queer theory, porn studies, and the digital humanities—with distinctly Deleuzean influences.

Arjun is passionate about issues of queer identity, mental health, and anti-racism, and, in his spare time, volunteers at an education nonprofit where he proudly advocates for the institution of policies in Ontario education that do the work of protecting groups that continue to be discriminated against based on race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and ability.

Research Interests:
Queer and trans theory; Deleuze studies; assemblage theory; mediated intimacy; science-fiction media; surveillance societies; the posthuman condition.


  • Dhanjal, Arjun. “Student voice, government, and representation in Ontario, Canada.” Connect 2016, no. 218 (April 2016): 17–21.


  • “Unsheathing biopower: on necropolitics and unsolicited dick pics in gay digital cultures.” At Sexuality Studies Association Conference. Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Regina, Regina, 2018.
  • “Unsheathing Scopic Power: On the bio- and necropolitical power structures of dick pics in gay digital cultures.” At System/Système D: Improvising Digital Scholarship. McMaster University, Hamilton, 2018.
  • “Unsheathing Scopic Power: Interrogating dick pic subjectivity in face of the Levinasian Other.” At Future Communications. York University and Ryerson University, Toronto, 2017.
  • “TestosterBROne Poisoning: An analysis of the beer industry's contributions to the perpetuation of oppressive masculinities.” At Flaunting IT! 13. Western University, London, 2017.
  • “Hummus-ide: Israeli appropriation of Arab–Palestinian food culture.” At The Salon: Annotations. Western University, London, 2016.

Academic Service:

  • (Presently held) Vice-President, Communications, Communication and Culture Graduate Students’ Association.
    • Committee Memberships: Spaces; Graduate Student Mental Health and Well-Being
  • (Presently held) Co-Chair, Intersections | Cross-sections 2018 Graduate Conference & Art Exhibition.

Email: adhanjal [at] yorku [dot] ca

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. It is also a means of championing and celebrating lives and stories that are frequently marginalized or overlooked. He holds a B.A. from McGill (English and Anthropology), a B.A. with Honors from Concordia (Philosophy), and a M.A. from Ryerson and York (Communication and Culture).

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

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:

Positive Talk: Online Forums, HIV and MSM Sexual Health in the Canadian, Context. IAMCR 2017, Cartagena CO.

Towards Undetectable Stigma: Canadian ASO’s, Health Communication and “AIDS Panic”. CCA/Congress 2017, Toronto ON.

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 is a Vanier Scholar and PhD Candidate in Communication and Culture at YorkStudent Photo Tyrone Hall University. His graduate work concerns global communication for development and social change, specifically global climate change communication processes in traditional and indigenous communities across the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, the Artic and Central America. 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.


“Global Narratives and the Vulnerable Frontiers: A Critical Assessment of Global Climate Change Communication Processes and Traditional Retentions”


Belize, Canada, Fiji and India


Anne MacLennan (Supervisor), Tokunbo Ojo, David Skinner


Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship 2017 -2020
Ontario Trillium Scholarship 2015 – 2019 (’17 to ‘19 declined for the Vanier CGS)
MITACS Globalink Research Award 2016
York International Mobility Award 2016

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 Jia

Lianrui Jia is a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow and PhD candidate 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, media regulation and globalization. In particular, her research examines the interplay between politics and economy, the role of the state and private sector in shaping media regulation regime.

Conflicts, Constrictions, Cooptation: Post-WTO development, regulation, and globalization of internet companies in China

Selected Publications
Jia, L. What Public and Whose Opinion?, Communication and Public, (accepted forthcoming)
Jia, L. (2018) Going Big and Going Global: Chinese Internet Companies and Global Finance Networks, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture special issue 13(1): Re-evaluating China’s Global Media Expansion, pp.17-36
Budnitsky, S. and Jia, L. (2018) Digital Media Champions in China’s and Russia’s Nation Branding, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 21(5), pp. 594-613.
Jia, L. and Winseck, D. (2018) The Political Economy of Chinese Internet Companies: Financialization, Concentration, and Capitalization, International Communication Gazette, 8(1), pp. 30-59.
Jia, L. and Zhou, T. (2017) The Making of Online Celebrities on the Chinese Internet: the case of Anwei and Yebin, Chinese Social Media: Social, Cultural, and Political Implications Critical Perspective, Routledge.

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

Alysse Kushinski is a PhD candidate and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow in Communication and Culture at York University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of British Columbia and holds a Masters of Science in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her current research focuses on the politics and aesthetics of "leaking". Generally, her work sits at the intersection of critical theory, aesthetics, and visual and material culture.

Kait Kribs

Kait Kribs is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Joint Program in Communication and Culture at York University/Ryerson University, and is the recipient of an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2017-2019). She holds a Master of Arts in Popular Culture and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Media and Culture Studies from Brock University. Her current research interests include the political economy of communication and culture, the popular music industries, and creative labour. Under the supervision of Dr. David Skinner, Kait’s doctoral research assesses how digital distribution and marketplace platforms, crowdfunding sites, and content aggregators change the way musician labour is discursively understood and materially practiced in the digital era.

Select Publications and Presentations
Book Review, "Popular Music as Promotion: Music and Branding in the Digital Era," Canadian Journal of Communication, (2018).

Book Review, "(Not) Getting Paid to Do What you Love: Gender, Social Media, and Aspirational Labor," Journal of Cultural Economy, (2018).

Article, “Independent (Net)Work: Musician Labour Under Conditions of Platform Capitalism,” Global Labour Research Centre Graduate Symposium, Proceedings, (2017).

Article, “The Artist-as-Intermediary: Musician Labour in the Digitally Networked Era,” eTopia, Proceedings, (2017).

Presentation, “Independent (Net)Work: Microfunding and Musician Labour in Digitally Networked Capitalism,” at the Canadian Communication Association Annual Meeting, Toronto, ON, June 2017.

Presentation, “Creative & Immaterial Labour In The Networked Era: Indie Music, Digital Distribution and The Artist-as-Intermediary,” Canadian Communication Association, Calgary, AB, June 2016.

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.

Lisa La Rocca

Lisa La Rocca is a part-time PhD student in the Communication and Culture program at York University. She holds an M.A. in Communication and New Media from McMaster University, where she completed her OGS funded research “The Use of Internet Technologies by Canadian Musicians”. Her current research interests include the Canadian Music Industry, the dichotomy between record labels and independent artists, public music funding in Canada, and concert ticketing platforms.

Lisa works full-time as Operations Manager at independent record label Sonic Unyon Records in Hamilton, which includes producing Hamilton’s Supercrawl festival every September, and many other live music and cultural events.

Select conference presentations:

Independent Music and Space: A Study of Independent Musicians and Their Local Music Communities. Screen: Communication Graduate Caucus Conference (Carleton University, 2014)

Has the Independent Musician Been Empowered? Analyzing the Use of Internet Technologies for Music Promotion. TEM 2014: Annual Conference of the Canadian Communication Association (Brock University, 2014)

Supercrawl, a Case Study: The Growth of a Music and Arts Street Festival in Hamilton, Ontario. Colloquium on Urban Arts Festivals in Canada. (McGill University, 2014)

Bryn Ludlow

Bryn Ludlow is a PhD candidate at York University in the Department of Communication Studies, York and Ryerson Joint Graduate Program in Communication and Culture, Toronto, Canada.  Her dissertation is about diverse perspectives on digital stories by former youth in foster care in Canada.

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.

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.

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.

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 (2014) and Found Polaroids (2017). His current 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. His work has been exhibited in twelve countries and he was recently a visiting scholar the Goldsmiths, The University of London, England and the University of Antwerp, Belgium. 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:

Found Polaroids: