Our MA and PhD Students

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

Melissa (Missy) Andersonmissy

Melissa (Missy) Anderson is a second-year MA student in the Joint Program in Communication and Culture (Politics & Policy stream) at York and Ryerson Universities. She holds a BA in Social Development Studies, and a post-BA in Social Work Honours (University of Waterloo).  Her current research interests range from governmentality, political economy, critical policy studies, psychogeography, human rights and immigration law. More specifically, her current research focuses on the translation and assemblage of ‘sanctuary’ cities in North America. Previously, she worked in community health research, where she researched policy issues of equity in women’s shelters, and documented Ontario’s municipal poorhouse policies and stories from the late 19th century for a digital story telling museum and public memorial. Missy is a recipient of SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Graduate Scholarship (2015-2016).

Manfred Becker

BECKERManfred Becker entered academia through the back door, after 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. You can learn more at DOCToronto - Rendezvous Madness.

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.

Natalja Chestopalova

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

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

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.

Lai-Tze Fan

Lai-Tze FanLai-Tze Fan

is a PhD Candidate (ABD) whose doctoral research utilizes the critical frameworks of media archaeology, comparative media, and the digital humanities. Specifically, she examines how contemporary literature mediate tensions of representation between/among media ontologies and epistemologies.

Fan is dedicated to research on the future of literature and the humanities: she is the founder of the York/Ryerson Intermediality Working Group, and is involved in the critical and creative digital humanities in multiple research centres. Additionally, Fan is invested in collegial service and student advocacy, serving as 2012-2013 President of York’s ComCult Graduate Students' Association and 2012-2014 President-Elect and President of the Graduate Caucus of ACCUTE (the English association of Canada).

Fan’s research is published in English Studies in Canada, TranscUlturAl: A Journal of Translation and Cultural Studies, The Refractory: A Journal of Entertainment Media (special issue on digital cartography), and the World Film Locations series. She has forthcoming book chapters on convergence culture and digital textuality (University of Göttingen Press) and digital approaches to postmodern poetics (Lexington Books).


  • 2014, 2014 – Shortlist, Fulbright Traditional Student Award
  • 2014 — York University Provost Dissertation Scholarship
  • 2014, 2013, 2011 — Ontario Graduate Scholarship
  • 2013 — Nominee, Horst Frenz Best Graduate Student Paper Prize, ACLA
  • 2011 — Graduate Caucus Award, NeMLA

For more information, please see Fan’s CV:

J.A. Forbesforbes

James Alexander Forbes is a 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: Eschatology and the Construction of “Christian” Families on Reality TV. 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 Conferences:
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.

Waitlisted, Vanier 2015 Competition

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

Steve Jankowski

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

Lianrui Jia is a PhD student in the Communication and Culture Program at York University.linarui 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

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 student in Communication and Culture at York University. kusinkskiShe 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

Mary Grace Lao is a PhD student in Communication and Culture at York University.mary grace She holds a BSc in Psychology and Exceptionality in Human Learning and an MEd in the Social and Cultural Context of Education.
Her PhD research will examine discourse surrounding rape culture in the context of social media and if/how this discourse affects the ways that issues of sexual violence and assault are framed in mainstream media.

Bryn Ludlow

Bryn A. Ludlow is a second-year doctoral student at York University in the Department ofLudlow Communication Studies, York & Ryerson Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture. A recipient of the Governor General’s Bronze Medal Award for Scholastic Achievement (2003), Bryn holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Integrated Media from the Ontario College of Art & Design University (2010), and received the Sir Edmund Walker Award for Proficiency in Integrated Media. In 2012, she completed a Master of Arts degree in Health & Aging from McMaster University in the Department of Health, Aging & Society, and applied the visual research method of “body mapping” in the dialysis unit with five geriatric inpatients to learn about their experiences of receiving daily (six day/week) haemodialysis therapy at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

In her doctoral program, she is exploring the convergence of the arts and medicine in visual forms of expression by professional artists, and medical professionals who seek to represent the state of the arts and health in Canada.

Bryn has presented her research on the method of ‘body mapping’ at national and international conferences, including at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Communication Association (CCA) in Ottawa, Ontario (June 4, 2015), and at the “Social Work Beyond Borders/ Social Work Artfully Workshop” at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (November 22, 2011). A summary of her Master of Arts thesis study, titled, “Witnessing: Creating visual research memos about patient experiences of body mapping in a dialysis unit” is published in “The American Journal of Kidney Diseases” (2014). Her ‘Body Spaces’ vector illustrations are published in journals such as, ‘The Medical Post’, and ‘Ars Medica: A Journal of Medicine, The Arts and Humanities’.

Christian Martius

christian robinsonChristian Martius is a PhD Candidate in Communication & Culture at York University. His research is on the contemporary construction and maintenance of the so-called normal and abnormal body. This research calls attention to problematic communication practices, which privilege consistent social and cultural ideas of embodied normalcy rather than the commonplace inconsistencies of the human body. Recent work on the visual rhetoric of bodily difference has been presented at The Bodies in Between Conference in Romania. He has also written on the agency of the abject body for The Doris McCarty Gallery and the SPT Strategies of Critique Conference.

Christian Oquendo Sanchez

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

Daniela Sanzone is a PhD student in Communication & Culture, joint program York/Ryerson Universities, researching transnational communications, ethnic media, diasporas and migration, and the Italian Canadian community in the GTA. She is also a teaching assistant. From La Sapienza University, in Rome, she holds two Masters, in Communications Sciences (dissertation: La televisione di servizio – Educational Television), and Cultural Anthropology, and a Bachelor Degree in Literature and Fine Arts, 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).

Daniela has also been a film critic and a journalist for many years, working for television and radio, print and online media, in Rome, and in Toronto. 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 at Omni Television. She organizes (multi)cultural events, is a diversity consultant and a blogger, and has published a few books.

Currently, she is working on a book review of “Global Media Ethics – Problems and perspectives”, Edited by Stephen J.A. Ward, to be published on the Canadian Journal of Communication; and on “A portrait of the present Italian Community in Ontario” to be published on Italian Canadiana, Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Studies, U of T. Her article “Italian Canadian Mass Media in the Digital Era” was published in 2006 on The Virtual Piazza, Special Issue of Italian Canadiana, Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Studies, University of Toronto.

She presented her PhD dissertation project “How to improve ethnic media in the GTA, the crisis of OMNI TV as a case study” on December 2013 at “Future Communication Symposium”, TEL, York University. She also presented her research: A portrait of the present Italian Community in Ontario, on March 2013 at PCA-ACA (Popular Culture Association-American Culture Association), in Washington, DC, section “Border Studies, Cultural Economy and Migration”. In 2006 she presented: Multiculturalism in the World of Mass Media during the Digital Era, at the Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Studies, University of Toronto. In 2002, she presented: Italy and Italians on the North American silver screen, at the 79th Congress of the AATI (American association of teachers of Italian), OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), University of Toronto.

Sara Swain

swainSara Swain is a Ph.D. candidate in the Joint Program in Communication and Culture at York and Ryerson Universities. She holds a B.A. in Literature (Memorial), and an M.A. in Film Studies (Concordia). She has published essays on the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (2010) and on the female gross-out comedy Dirty Love (2013). Her research interests range from genre cinema, film theory, television studies and popular culture to histories and theories of communication, technology and new media. Her doctoral research explores bizarre physical encounters between animals and media. She takes these material-semiotic contact zones as productive sites to re-examine media ontologies and ideas about communication.

Joseph F. Turcotte

turcotteJoseph F. Turcotte is a PhD Candidate and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow in the Communication & Culture Program (Politics & Policy) at York University (Toronto, Canada) where he works with Rosemary J. Coombe (Canada Research Chair in Law, Communication and Culture) on issues related to intellectual property rights, digital media and the intersections with informational capitalism and related socio-economic issues. Previously he has been a research assistant at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), an instructional assistant with the Communication Studies department at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Communication Coordinator for the Canadian International Council: Waterloo Region Branch.

Website: Personal Site.

Research Interests

Intellectual property; informational capitalism; digital media; development; access to knowledge (A2K)

Working Dissertation Title

“Whose Digital Future? Intellectual Property, A2K, Innovation, and Development in an Informational Economy”


Rosemary J. Coombe.


Tuna Baskoy, Tokunbo Ojo

Recent Publications
Journals Articles

  • 2013 – “’All Transportation is Local’: Mobile-Digital-Networked-Technologies and Networked Orientations” (with M. Len Ball). Transfers – Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies, Vol. 3(1): 119-139.
  • 2012 – “Tweeting as Statecraft: How, Against All Odds, Twitter is Changing the World’s Second Oldest Profession” (with Jorge Heine). Crossroads – The Macedonian Foreign Policy Journal, Vol. 3(2) April-October: 59-72.
  • 2012 – “Cultural, Political, and Social Implications of Intellectual Property Law in an Informational Economy” (with Rosemary J. Coombe). In Culture, Civilization and Human Society, UNESCO-EOLSS Joint Committee (eds.), in Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), Developed under the Auspices of the UNESCO (Oxford, UK: EOLSS Publishers), pp. 1-33.
  • 2011 - “What’s Feminist About Open Access? A Relational Approach to Copyright in the Academy” (with Carys J. Craig and Rosemary J. Coombe), feminist@law, Vol. 1(1): 1-35.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

  • 2013 - “Free Trade Agreements and Global Governance Following the Financial Crisis: Moving Trade Forward or Complicating Matters?” (with Jorge Heine). In Les Jacobs and Daniel Drache (eds.), The Changing Global Landscape for International Trade and Human Rights Linkages (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press), pp. **-**.
  • 2012 -“Celebrity Diplomats as Mobilizers? Celebrities and Activism in a Hypermediated Time”(with Andrew F. Cooper). In Tristan Borer (ed.), Media, Mobilization and Human Rights: Mediating Suffering (London, UK: ZedBooks), pp. 181-204.
  • 2012 - “Indigenous Cultural Heritage in Development and Trade: Perspectives from the Dynamics of Cultural Heritage Law and Policy” (with Rosemary J. Coombe). In Christoph B. Graber, Karolina Kuprecht and Jessica C. Lai (eds.), International Trade in Indigenous Cultural Heritage: Legal and Policy Issues (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar), pp. 272-305.

Book Reviews

  • 2012 – Review Essay- “The Canadian Broadcasting Policy Tradition: Learning from the Past, Building for the Future”, Review of Broadcasting Policy in Canada (Robert Armstrong, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 2010), Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol. 37(4): 637-639.
  • 2012 – Review of Digital Solidarities, Communication Policy and Multi-Stakeholder Governance: The Legacy of the World Summit on the Information Society (Marcy Raboy, Normand Landry, and Jonathan Shtern, New York: Peter Lang. 2010), Canadian Journal of Communications, Vol. 37(3): 539-542.

Carmen Victor

Carmen Victor is a PhD student affiliated with the York/Ryerson Graduate Program in Communication & Culture, supervised by Dr. Janine Marchessault. She serves on the board of Directors of YYZ Artists Outlet, and the Universities Art Association of Canada and has recently published in Seismopolite: Journal of Art & Politics with a forthcoming publication in the Journal of Surrealism & the Americas (Penn State University). In 2015 she presented her research at the 3rd International Conference on Photography & Theory in Nicosia, Cyprus, the 103rd Annual College Art Association in New York and at the 41st Annual Conference of the Association of Art Historians at the University of East Anglia in the UK. Also in 2015 she co-organized a symposium for Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts & Technology, moderated a session of the 10th anniversary season of the Urban Field Speakers Series at Prefix ICA, will participate as a workshop panelist at Congress 2015 for the Film Studies Association of Canada and present a paper on photo-conceptualism and outmoded architectures of war at Visible Evidence XXII.

Nathaniel Weiner

nathan 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

JessicaWhiteheadPicJessica 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

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

Kyler Zeleny is interested in found photography, family albums and the politics of archives. His personal interest in photography, relates to open space, and contemporary issues in rural spaces. 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) and a guest publisher with the publishing house The Velvet Cell. Kyler Currently lives in Toronto, where he is a Communications and Culture doctoral student at York University.
Personal Website:
The Velvet Cell: