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. Guy Allen's  profile photo

Dr. Guy Allen has developed innovative approaches to the teaching of writing in universities. These innovations feature narrative and journalistic creative non-fiction as powerful alternatives to standard expository prose. The 3M Teaching Fellowship, Canada’s most prestigious award for university teaching, recognized the educational value of these innovations. His co-authored book, Clear, Precise and Direct: Strategies for Writing (Oxford University Press, 2015), articulates and explaines Allen’s new pedagogy. Allen’s recent applications of his narrative work include an experimental program sponsored by the Syrian Canadian Foundation and the Canadian Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. In this program, Allen will lead workshops designed to help recent Syrian immigrants with proficient English skills write about their experience of war in Syria and exile in Canada. Another project is a peer-model collection (exceptional, publishable writing by students), Cricket Suicides, Mad Cows, and Mirror Molecules: Communicating Science, forthcoming in Fall 2018. Allan is also working on The Nancy Chong Stories, a collection of nonfiction narratives by a recently deceased former student, who produced brilliant stories about her mother’s immigration to Canada and the hard life of Toronto’s Chinatown Chinese in the 1960s. For Allen, stories are a form of community activism.

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. Olga Bountali's profile photo

Dr. Olga Bountali is currently working on a project that deals with serving the indigent, uninsured population in Texas that suffers from chronic diseases. In collaboration with faculty From Southern Methodist University and physicians and practitioners from Parkland Memorial Hospital and UT Southwestern in the DFW Metroplex, Dr. Bountali has used stochastic modeling techniques along with empirical tools to reengineer the dialysis unit operation at Parkland, improving both system and patient outcomes.

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 published his article “Collective Action Frames and The Developing Role of Discursive Practice in Worker Organisation: The Case Of OUR Walmart” in the Spring 2018 issue of Work Organisation, labour & globalisation. This study examines a year’s worth of content from a secret Facebook group designed as a forum for current and former Walmart employees. Caraway considers how emergent communication practices relate to the organizational forms of resistance among workers struggling for better working conditions and higher wages. Caraway is nearing completion of his book Stand Up, Live Better: The Story of OUR Walmart, an analysis and chronicle of the influential worker organization. In December 2017, Caraway delivered the keynote lecture at the Open Institute 2: Open in a Time of Closure conference at the Universidade da Madeira. Caraway recently joined the editorial board of Upping the Anti, which will be publishing its 20th issue this year. Caraway has several articles under review, featuring new research on ecomedia studies and audience economics. He also has completed a chapter on the ecological impacts of Amazon’s logistics systems for an upcoming edited volume on the post-growth cultural economy.

Dr. Nicole Cohen's profile photo

Dr. Nicole Cohen published “At Work in the Digital Newsroom” in the journal Digital Journalism (2018), and with Greig de Peuter, a case study of the successful union drive at Vice Canada in the edited collection Labour Under Attack: Anti-Unionism in Canada (2018). The chapter is titled “‘I Work at VICE and I need a Union’: Organizing Digital Media.” To expand this research, de Peuter and Cohen conducted over 40 interviews with journalists who organized unions in their digital newsrooms for a book project titled New Media Unions: Organizing Digital Journalists (under contract with Routledge). Cohen, de Peuter, and Enda Brophy are working on a book for Pluto Press based on their Cultural Workers Organize research into how media and cultural workers are addressing precarious work and building sustainable models for cultural production. In 2018, Cohen received a SSHRC Insight Development Grant to continue her research on gender, race, and work in Canadian journalism.

Dr. John Currie's profile photo

Dr. John Currie is researching ecological understanding through writing; the reciprocal relationship between teaching and learning at the post-secondary level; and the needs of English Language Learners in the writing classroom. He is currently working on a book-length project about interviews his students have conducted with family members, and how doing the assignment can change not only the relationship, but how students come to see themselves as writers. Currie collected and edited Come with me, I’ll show you: Stories of people (2015) and Environment and ecology: Stories (2011), two peer model texts featuring writing produced at UTM. 

Dr. Alessandro Delfanti’s profile photo

Dr. Alessandro Delfanti’s research focuses on labour and technology, the politics of digital media, and digital countercultures. His current work addresses the rise of new forms of mobilization and resistance to precarious working conditions in sectors such as e-commerce, logistics, and food delivery. In 2018, he organized an international conference on this topic, titled Log Out! Resistance Within and Against the Platform. He published a short piece from his research on work at Amazon in the magazine Notes from Below. In the past, his research has focused on the role of hacking and open access in scientific cultures. Delfanti is the author of Biohackers: The Politics of Open Science (Pluto Press, 2013) and Introduction to Digital Media (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming December 2018).

Prpf. Tero Karppi

Dr. Tero Karppi’s book Disconnect: Facebook’s Affective Bonds comes out in October 2018 from the University of Minnesota Press. After the book, Karppi plans to keep on exploring the material, economic and social boundaries of social media connectivity. His new project is currently mapped under the conceptual notion of the End User, and it is focused on a cultural study of the patents of tech companies such as Facebook. Karppi will present parts of this work in different conferences this coming academic year including the Affect, Interfaces, and Events conference, AoIR 2018, and SLSA 2018. This year, Karppi is also running a working group titled What is Left For Humans? at the McLuhan Center for Culture and Technology.

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 Killer Apps: War, Media, Machine (Duke, forthcoming), a book co-authored with Joshua Reeves. It provides a critical investigation into the historical interconnections between military strategy and the technical innovation of media systems. It argues that the form of current political struggles taking place via media is technologically rooted in military logics of warfare. He presented a paper at the International Communication Association on weather, warfare, and climate science. His research with Alex Monea on the advent of electric computation in health during WWI will be presented at Society for Literature, Science and the Arts. As Associate Dean, Graduate, he is establishing a series of Summer Graduate Research Workshops on a range of interdisciplinary topics from AI to the Arctic to Sustainability.

Dr. Robert Price's profile photo

Dr. Robert Price is researching the reader-writer-editor relationship; voice, expression, and personhood; movements in writing pedagogy; and the utility of peer model texts in the writing class. He is currently conducting an archival investigation that charts UTM's history through student-produced poetry and prose, and a working on a book-length project examining the pedagogical function of editing and editorial groups inside the writing classroom. Price collected and edited Writing History: Local Stories by New Writers (with Shalini Nanayakkara, 2018) and Passing Through: Stories About Place (2015), two peer model texts featuring writing produced at UTM. Price continues to publish as a poet and fiction writer and comments on education issues in a nationally syndicated column. 

Dr. Lilian Radovac's profile photo

Dr. Lilian Radovac launched Alternative Toronto, a digital community archive that is documenting the city's alternative cultures, scenes and spaces of the 1980s and ’90s. Supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, the archive uses historical, ethnographic and digital methods to intervene in accounts of Canadian urban history that ignore its radical and countercultural edges. Radovac published an essay about the project, “Re/mediating the Archive: Building Alternative Toronto,” in a special issue of Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies (32:1) on activisms of the 1980s. She presented papers at the annual meeting of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, at DIRT: The Annual Activist Media Archives Symposium at Ryerson University's Studio for Media Activism and Critical Thought and at the annual Digital Humanities Network conference at the University of Toronto, and was thrilled to land a spot in the SCMS's "Archives in the Digital Age" seminar. As a public scholar, Radovac wrote an op-ed for Boing Boing about the ShotSpotter acoustic surveillance system and was invited to participate in a panel discussion about smart cities hosted by the City of Vaughan. She also tweeted a lot about Sidewalk Toronto.

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 in the process of a new research project that puts McLuhan’s media theories in conversation with feminist approaches to technology. This year at the McLuhan Centre the theme is The Mechanical Bro: Folklore of Technology and includes an exciting lineup of U o f T media studies faculty in conversation with a range of visiting scholars.  She is still at work on a new monograph that explores the gendered politics of exit and care as they are manifest in our contemporary technologies. Sarah has recently published a new piece in the Boston Review "Going to Work in Mommy's Basement" which will be produced in an audio version this fall and will be translated into Korean next year. This September she has been invited to present her research on feminist exit and technology at the Institute of Anxiety, a feminist artist and activist collective based in Prague. She will be a plenary at AOIR in Montreal in October as well. Sarah is currently completing an invited think piece for Real Life based on her book research and upcoming talks entitled: A Manifesto for the Broken Machine

Dr. Steve Szigeti's profile photo

Dr. Steve Szigeti is currently working with UTM faculty members from the English and Biology Departments, as well as the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, on a proposed multi-year research project investigating academic integrity, with a focus on undergraduate students. He has also accepted an adjunct professor position with OCAD University's Visual Analytics Lab, where he continues exploring the visualization of complex data sets. 

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.

Dr. Laurel Waterman's profile photo

Laurel Waterman edited Rewriting Therapy: A Handful of Lessons on Editing True Stories (Life Rattle Press, 2018), a book that explores the craft and catharsis of writing and editing personal narrative. Waterman conducted interviews and wrote the student profiles for A New U: Faster and Cheaper Alternatives to Higher Education (Craig, Benbella Books, 2018). Two short pieces of Waterman’s creative writing have been selected for publication in The Start Writing Annual, “Friday Afternoons” (2018), and “The Fade Out” (2017). She completed and is preparing an essay for submission, “Reading Martin Luther King,” a narrative-style, reflexive inquiry about writing pedagogy, equity and diversity, and using historical texts in the classroom. Waterman has been invited to guest lecture at the Faculty of Information (iSchool), University of Toronto, on “Using Narrative Writing to Mobilize Cultural Capital.” She is currently working as a co-principal investigator on a grant application to the International Student Experience Fund for a project that trains international students in professional writing and uses the publication of personal narratives to bridge the employment gap for international graduates from the iSchool.