2017 Plenary and Key Speakers

Elisabeth R. Anker is an associate professor of American Studies at George Washington University, where she conducts research in political theory, media studies, and US politics.   She is the author of Orgies of Feeling: Melodrama and the Politics of Freedom (2014), which was a finalist for the 2015 Lora Romero Best First Book Prize in American Studies, and has published articles in journals such as Social Research, American Literary History, Political Theory, Politics and Gender, and Theory & Event.  Her new book project is titled "Ugly Freedoms.”

Christopher Bonner is an assistant professor of History at the University of Maryland. He specializes in African American history, particularly black protest in the early United States and is on a manuscript titled "The Price of Citizenship," which examines black activists' efforts to construct American citizenship before the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. He is more broadly interested in the roots and results of radical politics, the nature and meanings of historical violence, and the creation of black freedom in a slaveholding republic.

Richard Dienst is the author of two books: The Bonds of Debt: Borrowing Against the Common Good and Still Life in Real Time: Theory after Television, along with various essays on visual media and contemporary politics. He teaches cultural theory in the Department of English at Rutgers University (New Brunswick).

Carroll Doherty is director of political research at Pew Research Center. He plays a leading role in developing the Center’s research agenda and overseeing editorial content about long-term trends in political values, US views on policy issues and priorities, and political knowledge and news interest. He regularly provides analysis of public opinion and politics for domestic and international news outlets, including NPR, CNBC and the BBC and also speaks to government, academic and business groups on these topics. Before joining Pew Research Center in 2000, he was a journalist for many years, covering congressional leadership, politics and foreign affairs as a senior writer for Congressional Quarterly and serving as an off-air investigative reporter for CBS News on foreign affairs.

Carolyn Hardin is assistant professor of media and American Studies at Miami University, Ohio. Her research on finance combines cultural studies and political economy approaches. Her work on the topics of neoliberalism, retirement investing, financial technology and arbitrage has appeared in journals including Cultural Studies and American Quarterly. Her current book project, Arbitrage: Debt, Technology and the New Dynamics of Finance examines the financial trading technique at the center of the financial crisis.

Cecilia Gingerich is a Research Associate for The Democracy Collaborative. She is an activist and organizer who has worked on a variety of social and economic justice campaigns.

James Hay is a Professor & the Director of the Institute of Communications Research in the College of Media at the the University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign.  He is the former Editor of Communication & Critical Cultural Studies, and the co-author of Better Living through Reality TV, as well as many essays on contemporary media & media history.

Donald Hedrick, Professor of English and Donnelly Scholar at Kansas State University, was founding director of the graduate Program in Cultural Studies there. Co-editor of Shakespeare Without Class: Misappropriations of Cultural Capital, he has held visiting professorships at Cornell, Amherst College, Colgate, Charles U, and UC-Irvine, and published widely in drama, architecture, and culture. His recent publications in PMLA study the early modern entertainment industry, toward a forthcoming monograph, “Shakespeare’s Fun: The Birth of Entertainment Value.”

Tim Johnson is a reporter in the Washington bureau of McClatchy, a newspaper and digital news company. He covers national and cyber security. For much of the past 30 years, he has been a foreign correspondent based in Latin America and East Asia. In 2015-2016, he was part of a three-person team at McClatchy that spent a year delving into the Panama Papers. McClatchy was the only English-language print medium in the United States involved in the project from its inception. Johnson is also author of Tragedy in Crimson: How the Dalai Lama Conquered the World but Lost the Battle with China (2011).

Toby Miller is the current Vice-President of the CSA, the author of innumerable books and articles that have been hugely influential in developing the field of Cultural Studies. He holds positions at universities in the USA, Britain, Australia and Columbia.

David Ragland grew up in North St. Louis, a few miles from Ferguson, Mo. He is the co-founder for the Truth-Telling Project in St. Louis, Mo. and a professor of Peace and Conflict Studies.  The Truth Telling project is focused on developing a truth and reconciliation process to address structural violence and racism for Ferguson and beyond. He serves on the board of the Peace and Justice Studies Association and is also the United Nations Representative for the International Peace Research Association.

Andrew Ross is a Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU. A contributor to the Guardian, the New York Times, the Nation, and Al Jazeera, he is the author of many books, including Creditocracy and the Case for Debt Refusal, Bird On Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City, Nice Work if You Can Get It: Life and Labor in Precarious Times, Fast Boat to China--Lessons from Shanghai, No-Collar: The Humane Workplace and its Hidden Costs, and The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disney’s New Town.

Jessica Scarlata is an Associate Professor of English and Film and Media Studies at George Mason University. Her main focus in research and teaching is world cinema, particularly that of postcolonial nations. She is the author of Rethinking Occupied Ireland: Gender and Incarceration in Contemporary Irish Film ( 2014).

Brett Williams is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at American University and is the author of the groundbreaking Debt for Sale: A Social History of the Credit Trap (2004) and also editor of Landscapes of Inequality (2008).