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USC Annenberg cohort attends conference in London

by Kristen Villarreal
Big Ben towers over London's traffic. (Photo/Joseph Plotz)
Photo: Big Ben towers over London's traffic. (Photo/Joseph Plotz)

A large contingent of faculty and students from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is taking part this week in the 63rd annual International Communication Association Conference in London.

More than 70 representatives from USC Annenberg gathered to receive awards, present papers, attend panels, lead panels and network with peers through June 21.

The international conference accepts submissions from academic institutions around the world on topics that redefine the communication industry. This year, academics from 804 institutions in 61 countries will be in attendance.

“ICA is an exciting conference because it attracts communication scholars from all over the world,” said Evan Brody, ICA presenter and PhD candidate. “There are a lot of sessions, so it is a great chance to hear what other scholars are researching and discussing.”

Based on data visualization by University of Minnesota doctoral student Rodrigo Zamith, USC will be the second-most represented institution at this year’s conference, with 45 unique authors. The University of Texas has sent 48. According to Zamith, papers can have multiple authors. The term “unique author” in most cases refers to the one who led the work. In terms of all authors, USC ranks fourth with 67.

USC Annenberg faculty and students won multiple awards and will be presenting 60 papers, four of which won top paper recognitions.

Associate Professor Sarah Banet-Weiser won the Outstanding Book Award for Authentic: The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture. The book examines the role of branding in everyday lives and, according to the award committee, “is a well-written and nuanced analysis with great examples and interesting implications.”

In addition, Cara Wallis PhD ’06 won the James W. Carey Media Research Award for her dissertation-turned-book, Technomobility in China: Young Migrant Women and Mobile Phones.

Six other Trojans received top paper distinctions for their submissions.

“This year only 36 percent of the submitted papers and panels were accepted,” Brody said. “I felt very flattered when I found out my paper was chosen. It is a great honor to be recognized by your peers.”

Brody’s paper, “My Gay Is Great! The Heteronormative Gaze of Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys” analyzes how gay men are understood and depicted in modern televisual contexts. Brody, whose submission was chosen as Top Student Paper in the gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender studies division, was the first of a dozen participants in an extended session titled “Challenging Transitions: Representation, Bodies, Identities and Policy in LGBT Studies” on June 18.

PhD candidates Theo Mazumdar and Laura Alberti, along with Professor François Bar will present their paper, “The Viewertariat as News Frame-Builders: Real-Time Twitter Sentiment, News Frames and the Republican ‘Commander-in-Chief’ Debate,” in the challenging communication research division on June 19.

Afterward, Assistant Professor Mike Ananny will present his paper, “Imagined Networks: How International Journalism Innovators Negotiate Authority and Rework News Norms” in a session titled “Networks of Journalism: New Linkages and New Actors.” The paper, co-written by Adrienne Russell of the University of Denver, was chosen as one of three top faculty papers.

Clinical Assistant Professor Kimberlie Stephens will present her paper, “The Institutionalization of Genetically Modified Food: A Longitudinal Semantic Network Analysis,” at the “Top Papers in Organizational Communication” session on June 20. Professor Janet Fulk will be the respondent for the session.

In addition to the award winners, USC Annenberg’s top two administrators also made the trip.

Dean Ernest J. Wilson III participated in a preconference sponsored session titled “China and the New Internet World.”

Larry Gross, vice dean and School of Communication director, served as ICA president from 2011 to 2012. As a current member of the ICA board of directors, Gross will welcome new members and participate in strategic meetings throughout the week.

In addition to his duties as a board member duties, Gross will participate in a session marking the 35th anniversary of San Francisco politician Harvey Milk’s 1978 assassination titled “Harvey Milk’s Queer Inheritance.” The session will be held on June 21. Later that day, Gross will chair a session on Robert Craig’s 1999 constitutive metamodel of communication.

Professors Kwan Min Lee, Dmitri Williams and Peter Monge will also be in attendance. Lee and Williams serve on the ICA board. Lee is the communication and technology division chair; Williams is chair of game studies and Monge served as ICA president from 1997 to 1998.

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