Faculty Research

Faculty in the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology are active researchers, engaged in digital culture and human-computer interaction, media theory, political economy of communication, network analysis, feminist technologies, mobile media, digital labour, professional writing, and intellectual property. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately:

Dr. Jeffrey Boase's  profile photo Dr. Jeffrey Boase is currently collecting data for a project focusing on the role of mobile phone use in the development of personal networks during adolescence. For this project, he directed the development of a new software application that allows researchers to understand the complex calling and texting communications overtime, while protecting respondent privacy. This project is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). 
Dr. Tracey Bowen’s profile photo

Dr. Tracey Bowen’s research is divided between the field of work-integrated learning pedagogy and visual communications. Her Work-integrated Learning research examines students’ transition between academic life and industry contexts in terms of the personal, professional, and intellectual shifts they experience, and how they articulate the challenges of that transition. This work has been published in Studies in Higher Education and Higher Education Research and Development. Bowen is co-editor of Work-integrated Learning in the 21st Century: Global Perspectives on the Future (Emerald, 2017). Her second area of research focuses on visual communication in relation to visual literacy and how individuals interpret, understand, and create visual representations of abstract concepts through diagrammatic representations. Bowen is coeditor of Multimodal Literacies and Emerging Genres (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013) and author and co-author of several articles published in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Education for Information, and Visual Communication. She also writes about graffiti as performance and public dialogue.

Dr. Brett Caraway's profile photo

Dr. Brett Caraway obtained his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin before coming to the University of Toronto in 2012. He is an assistant professor of innovation and technology studies and teaches courses in economics, intellectual property and Internet law, Marxian theory, media studies, history of communication technologies, and media production. His research lies at the intersections of economics, Marxian theory, social movements, technology studies, and law. His most recent publications include research on ecological economics, social movements and collective action, and Marxian theory. He is currently writing a book on the use of ICTs in collective action.

Dr. Nicole Cohen's profile photo

Dr. Nicole Cohen recently published Writers’ Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016), which won the Gertrude J. Robinson Book Prize from the Canadian Communication Association. She collaborates on the SSHRC-funded Cultural Workers Organize, a research project investigating how media and cultural workers are addressing precarious work and developing solutions to make cultural work sustainable. With Greig de Peuter, Cohen recently completed a case study of the successful union drive at VICE Canada and co-published “The Ambivalence of Coworking: On the Politics of an Emerging Work Practice” in the European Journal of Cultural Studies. She is currently conducting new research on gender, race and journalism, funded by the Institute for Gender + the Economy.

Dr. Alessandro Delfanti’s profile photo

Dr. Alessandro Delfanti’s research focuses on digital labour, the politics of digital media, and scientific cultures. His current work addresses the rise of new forms of mobilization and resistance to the precarious working conditions in sectors such as e-commerce, logistics, and food delivery. He is organizing an international symposium on this topic, titled Log Out! Resistance Within and Against Platform Labour. Delfanti is the author of Biohackers: The Politics of Open Science (Pluto Press, 2013) and Introduction to Digital Media (forthcoming 2018). 

Dr. Alex Hanna's profile photo

Dr. Alex Hanna researches how new and social media has changed social movement mobilization and political participation. She relies on large-scale data collections and computational tools, with an emphasis on automated textual analysis and machine learning. Her current project is the Machine-learning Protest Event Data System (MPEDS), a system which uses machine learning and natural language processing to create protest event data. She is involved in several efforts to integrate computational methods into social science practice and education. She has taught workshops on computer programming and data analysis for social scientists, and also co-founded the computational social science blog Bad Hessian. She is also an activist, working on issues of queer and transgender inclusion in sports and higher education, and access to transgender healthcare.

Dr. Tero Karppi’s profile photo

Dr. Tero Karppi’s first book, Disconnect: Facebook’s Affective Bonds, explores the material, economic and social boundaries of social media connectivity and is forthcoming with University of Minnesota Press in 2018. Currently, he is working on three papers: one examines the ethics of predictive policing, another looks at Facebook’s technologies of emotion, and the third is a collaboration, which maps the everyday frictions produced by Amazon’s Alexa. Karppi’s work is influenced by different media theories and cultural studies -- his work offers critical perspectives on social media platforms.         

Dr. Victoria McArthur’s profile photo

Dr. Victoria McArthur’s research interests include self-representation in games, educational game design, game user interfaces, and game pedagogy. Her research has been published in the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI Play), The Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, and the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. Her current research project, Project PARSEC, is an investigation into the design of educational games to address STEM interest among minority youth in Canada. 

Dr. Rhonda McEwen's profile photo

As a Canada Research Chair, Dr. Rhonda McEwen is building on her theory of user-device interaction that defines the exchange between technologies and users as a unique form of communication. McEwen is investigating eye-gaze systems, wearable devices, and Virtual Reality headsets to analyze the relationships between visual perception (i.e. ophthalmoception) and touch perception (i.e. tactioception). This research program is organized as three related projects: 1. Eye-gaze and haptics as multimodal communication – studying Retts Syndrome; 2. Technical and cognitive characteristics of visual-haptic wearable devices; and 3.Virtual Reality and perception: the role of proprioception in cognition.

Dr. Cosmin Munteanu’s profile photo

Dr. Cosmin Munteanu’s current research agenda is dedicated to researching how natural, intelligent, and multimodal user interfaces can empower marginalized users despite the inherent lack of accuracy exhibited by such computationally-demanding technologies. Munteanu currently supervises several graduate thesis and research projects within a broad multidisciplinary space: investigating the socio-technical context of marginalized users such as older adults, contributing novel user-centred designs for making assistive multimodal technologies more social and more adoptable, studying the ethical challenges and policies facilitating or hampering the effective adoption of such technologies, and developing new computational and methodological approaches to improving marginalized users' interaction with assistive technologies.

Dr. Jeremy Packer's profile photo

Dr. Jeremy Packer completed and submitted Killer Apps: War, Media, Machine, a book co-authored with Joshua Reeves, which examines the potentially catastrophic development of military automation. The book provides a critical investigation into the historical interconnections between military strategy and the technical innovation of media systems. Another essay co-authored with Reeves related to this topic was published as a chapter in the edited volume Life in the Age of Drone Warfare (Duke 2017). Packer gave an invited talk for the Conquest of Ubiquity symposium on the advent of electric computation in health during WWI and presented a paper at the Canadian Communication Association on weather, warfare, and climate science.

Dr. Lilian Radovac's profile photo

Dr. Lilian Radovac is a critical cultural historian whose research focuses on the sensory interfaces between media technologies, social movements and everyday life in the context of North American cities. Her current book manuscript documents the history of New York City’s sound device ordinance, which has amplified processes of gentrification, racialization and resistance from its passage in 1930 to the present day. As lead investigator for Alternative Toronto, she is building a collaborative digital archive of Toronto’s radical, countercultural and trans*/feminist/queer communities of the 1980s. The project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and joins the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology as a working group for 2017-2018.

Dr. Jasmine Rault's profile photo Dr. Jasmine Rault was recently awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, along with collaborator and co-applicant T.L. Cowan, for their Digital Research Ethics Collaboratory (DREC) which focuses on the maldistributions of vulnerability and care in researching, archiving and circulating minoritized, Indigenous, trans- feminist and queer (TFQ) digital cultural materials. The DREC will soon be publishing online interviews with researchers, archivists, journalists and bloggers who have been designing methodological and platform solutions to digital research ethics dilemmas. This project emerges from Rault’s continuing research on queer affects in transnational activism, TFQ networked intimate publics, and histories of queer designs in architectural modernity.
Dr. Sarah Sharma's profile photo

Dr. Sarah Sharma is currently the Director of the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology at St. George. She is embarking on a new research project that puts McLuhan’s media theories in conversation with feminist approaches to technology. This year she launched “MsUnderstanding Media” as an annual thematic for the McLuhan Centre. As part of this project she is working on a monograph that explores the gendered politics of exit and care as they are manifest in our contemporary technologies. She presented some of this work while delivering the 2017 Attalah Lecture at Carleton University. Sarah continues to extend her work from her monograph In the Meantime: Temporality and Cultural Politics. She will be participating in a performance based theory event at Switches at the HKW in Berlin this December for the Technosphere Unbound project where she will take up themes related to temporality and digital culture.

Dr. Gabor Virag's profile photo

Dr. Gabor Virag researches the economics of information, concentrating on dynamic trading mechanisms in markets with search frictions. He asks how agents trade under less than perfect knowledge about market conditions, and whether the individual decisions aggregate into a socially efficient outcome where all the information available to agents is taken into account by market forces. Recently, he started working on how to best incentivize technological innovation. Virag has recently published several peer-reviewed articles, in leading journals like the Review of Economic Studies, International Economic Review, and Theoretical Economics. He gave invited talks at several leading research universities like Duke University, University of British Columbia and University of Virginia, as well as at leading conferences like the Econometric Society Winter and Summer meetings as well as the AEA Winter meetings.