March 21, 2006

Conference will explore portrayal of race in media

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Experts in communication will discuss the meaning of race in the media during a daylong conference this week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The College of Mass Communication and Media Arts' Global Media Research Center is sponsoring "Race & Media in Comparative Perspectives: Europe, Canada and Puerto Rico." The event is set for 9 a.m. through about 4 p.m. Friday, March 24, in the dean's conference room at the Communications Building.

Three top researchers will present findings and lead discussions on the ways in which race is portrayed in various media during the conference, which is aimed at graduate and undergraduate students and faculty at SIUC. The researchers include:

• Charles Husband, professor of social analysis at the University of Bradford, England, and director of the Ethnicity and Social Policy Research Unit there. Husband has a 30-year track record as an outspoken lecturer and campaign organizer around the issues of racism and ethnicity in Europe and Australia. He will discuss the impact of negative media images on ethnic groups in terms of that group's self-awareness and self-definition.

• Yeidy (pronounced "JAYdee") Rivero, assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Culture at Indiana University-Bloomington. Her areas of interest include television studies, race and ethnic representation in media and Spanish Caribbean, Latin American, Latino and African studies. Rivero will discuss the first black sitcom on Puerto Rican television and how the country's race issues worked in the show's production and broadcast.

• Yasmin Jiwani, associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and past executive coordinator and principal researcher at the FREDA Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children. Her areas of interest include media representations of race and gender. Jiwani will discuss the issue of race and media in Canada, a country of rich diversity that she says often does not recognize problems associated with racism there.

Created in 2004, the Global Media Research Center is an interdisciplinary organization of faculty and students engaged in research on global media issues, establishing partnerships with other research groups and providing visiting scholars and artists with the opportunity to develop new courses. It also develops international exchange programs for faculty and students and works to foster discussion on global media topics. John Downing, professor and interim chairman of the Department of Radio-Television at SIUC, heads the center.

Developing citizen-leaders with global perspectives is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.