Department of Communications
In our digitally interconnected global environment, all organizations are media organizations. Whether in the sectors of film, TV, music, academia, marketing, non-governmental organizations (NGO), or business, all organizations require a media presence. Just as importantly, civil society and political participation require 21st-century skills that include critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication.
Whether the goal is to continue on to graduate school, become an entrepreneur, work as a professional media maker, or work as a professional communicator for enterprises or NGOs, JCU's curriculum will equip you with a variety of tools to enable you to succeed in a globalized media environment.
The Department promotes intellectual development and ethical reasoning to empower students to take leadership roles and to make a difference in the world. Our program fosters and encourages cross-cultural encounters, making our classrooms microcosms of the global communications environment. Our students are uniquely prepared to interact in a rapidly changing world of media and communication.
With degrees from prestigious universities, JCU Communications faculty regularly publish books and articles and present at international conferences. Core faculty have played the role of public intellectuals on issues like fake news, Syria, and social movements in the Middle East for the BBC and NPR. They are internationally known scholars in areas such as Arab media, networked identity, ecomedia studies, and digital anthropology. Digital media arts faculty publish video games and produce documentary and feature films, TV shows, podcasts, and other artistic works that screen in international film festivals.
Professor Lopez completed his latest book for Routledge, Ecomedia Literacy: Integrating Ecology into Media Education, published in November 2020. In addition, he published two book chapters: “Integrating information literacy in a communication writing course” (co-written with JCU librarian Livia Piotto and JCU lecturer in Communications Elizabeth Macias-Gutierrez), Faculty-librarian collaborations: International case studies of integrating the information literacy framework into disciplinary courses (Association of College and Research Libraries) and “Expanding Community and Ethics to the Environment with Ecomedia Literacy,” The Handbook on Media Education Research (IAMCR/Wiley Blackwell).
Professor Lopez co-edited a special issue on Ecomedia literacy co-published by Journal of Education for Sustainability and Journal of Media Literacy, which included several articles that he authored: “Ecomedia: The Metaphor that Makes a Difference,” “Bella Gaia and the Pedagogical Power of the Overview Effect: Interview with Kenji Williams,” and “Fake Climate News: How Denying Climate Change is the Ultimate in Fake News” (with Jeff Share). He also published “Ecomedia Literacy: Educating with Ecomedia Objects and the Ecomediasphere,” in Digital Culture and Education (Vol. 12, #2).
He was a peer reviewer for Journal of Environmental Communication, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, and Journal of Media Literacy Education. He continues to be an editorial board member of the Journal of Environmental Media and Media Education Research Journal. In 2019 he presented two talks at the National Association of Media Literacy Education in Washington, DC: “Ecomedia Literacy: Green Design for Media Literacy Education” and “Media Literacy for a Sustainable World” (with Jeff Share, UCLA).
Professor Sarram coedited (with Professor Della Ratta, Teresa Numerico, and Geert Lovink) The Aesthetics and Politics of the Online Self: A Savage Journey into The Heart of Digital Cultures (In press, Palgrave). Professor Sarram collaborated in the organization of various events as part of the Communications and Media Studies Speaker Series as well as the Digital Delights and Disturbances Series that brought many renowned speakers to JCU.
He is developing two writing projects: Music Videos: History, Form and Culture and Nature, People of the World, and the Rhythm of Industries: Visualizing the Anthropocene Through Sound.
Professor Phillips completed the visual mixtape “The Imagined Things: On Solange, Repetition, and Mantra.” This work was presented at the Diva: Hip-Hop, Feminism, Fierceness Conference in Wolverhampton, U.K. in July 2019, and is being converted to a chapter for the book Diva, edited by Halligan, Rambarran, and Fairclough for Bloomsbury Academic in 2021. The visual work was also accepted for presentation at the Society for Cinema & Media Studies Conference in Denver, USA in April 2020; the Doing Women’s Film & Television History conference in Maynooth, Ireland in May 2020; and the Performance Studies international Conference 26: Crises of Care: Act Respond Engage in Rijeka, Croatia in July 2020, all postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis.
His article, in collaboration with Dr. Debra Vidali, “Ethnographic Installation and 'the Archive': Re/Dislocation, Reverberation, and Aspiration” will be published this Fall in the Visual Anthropology Review special issue, “Bodies of Archives/Archival Bodies,” edited by Giulia Battaglia, Jen Clarke, and Fiona Siegenthaler. It is also accepted for presentation as a paper at the Anthropology and Geography: Dialogues Past, Present and Future conference, held virtually in September 2020. Professor Phillips presented the paper, “Social Justice Hustle: or How We Tried to Remix the Revolution,” at the AfroEuropeans: Black In/Visibilities Contested conference in Lisbon, Portugal in July 2019 and at the Tenth Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora conference in Williamsburg, USA in November 2019.
He was an invited speaker at the MediAsia Conference in Tokyo, Japan, October 2019, where he presented the talk, “Observation vs. Immersion: Trends in Contemporary Visual Anthropology.” He was a panelist at the JCU event, “Art as Communication: A Discussion with Jonathan Dumont, World Food Programme, Rome,” in December 2019, and the “Round Table Discussion on Discrimination, Racism, and Violence in Public Life” hosted by the Guarini Institute in June 2020. Professor Phillips presented the workshop, “The video diary as reflection: Engaging selfie culture in the curriculum to develop innovative learning and digital media skills” (with alumna Elisabetta Petrucci) at the AMICAL conference at the American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt in January 2020. He was also commissioned by Dr. Shana Redmond to publish the digital-based work, “The Social Distancing Mixtape” in May 2020.
Professor Della Ratta published a peer-reviewed article, “Digital Socialism Beyond the Digital Social: Confronting Communicative Capitalism with Ethics of Care,” Triple C: Communication, Capitalism & Critique 18(1). She also co-edited, in collaboration with Kay Dickinson (Concordia University) and Sune Haugbolle (Roskilde University), the book, The Arab Archive: Mediated Memories and Digital Flows (Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2020) where she authored the chapter, “Why Syria is No Longer (Only) About Syria.”
Together with Professor Peter Sarram, Teresa Numerico, and Geert Lovink, she has edited the book, The Aesthetics and Politics of the Online Self (Palgrave MacMillan), which received positive peer reviews and is now in press. In the book, she has a chapter, “Through the Looking-Glass: Researching the Online Self, from Autoethnography to empathic criticism,” which draws upon her experience of teaching the class Selfies and Beyond at John Cabot University. During the lockdown in Spring 2020, she authored a series of blog posts in collaboration with her students, “Selfies under quarantine,” published in five episodes by the Institute of Network Cultures. The series built upon the auto-ethnographies produced by the students during class. It has been translated into Italian by one of the students, Elena Santoro, and published by Italian online magazine, NERO NOT.
In Summer 2020, in collaboration with John Cabot alumnus Raymond Sandro Turchioe (Class of 2020), she produced a theory video essay, Give it a Shot. VVV: On Violence, Visibility, Viruses, which premiered at the fifth international symposium on Affect and Social Media, organized by the University of East London, 25-26 June (moved online due to Covid-19). In February 2020, she was a keynote speaker for the Cosmos Talks organized by the Department of Political and Social Sciences, at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence.
During Spring 2020, a number of accepted papers were canceled or postponed due to Covid-19. Among them: Keynote speaker, international conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA), Sociology of Communications and Media Research, Turin (postponed); ‘VVV: on Violence, Visibility and Viruses’, 5th Affect and Social Media Conference and Art Show, University of East London, 25-26 June (moved online); (Reverse) Shot: on Bodies, Media and War in the Anthropocene, The Italian Society of Science and Technology Studies, 8th conference, University of Trieste (postponed); All that we leave behind and vanishes: on the enforced disappearance of the networked image and other tales of invisibility, international conference of the Italian Association of Sociology, Italian Association of Semiotic Studies, ESARN20 Qualitative Methods and ESARN21 Quantitative Methods, University La Sapienza (postponed); The shot: On Violence and Visibility, international conference of the War and Media Network, Accademia Europea di Firenze. Finally, in 2020 she was selected as one of the co-curators of the international literary festival, ReadMyWorld, in Amsterdam.
Professor Barreau is a TV creative producer, in charge of on-air promotion for TV channels History and Crime Investigation (A&E Networks). In January 2020, her four-episode podcast "Stardust Memories, Souvenir della notte trasteverina," was broadcast on Rai Radio 3 and will run for Prix Italia. She also produced a new podcast, ‘Malafemmina,’ for Storytel.
As a filmmaker, she directed a short video about the COVID lockdown for Il Corriere Della Sera: “Primo Maggio dalla finestra” with Ilaria Graziano & Francesco Forni. She received numerous press reviews about Stardust Memories in Il Manifesto, Il Corriere Della Sera, Repubblica, The Cinema Show, Podcastmania, Femministerie, Scene Contemporanee, Birdmen magazine, and a review about her short film Acqua Passata (2002).
Professor Diamanti published the following papers in peer-reviewed journals: “Aerial Imagination in Cuba,” Visual Anthropology, 33(1), 191-193 and D’Angelo, A., Diamanti, E. “Emidio di Treviri: un’esperienza di ricerca collettiva sul post-disastro in Appennino centrale (2016-2017),” Antropologia Pubblica, 5(2), 119 - 124. With the research group Emidio di Treviri she produced the feature-length documentary, Le terre di tutti (2019), on rural commons and collective ways of living in the mountain in central Italy.
In April 2020 she was invited to give a talk at the Master in Environmental Humanities, RomaTre University, titled, “Nocturnal Ethnographies.” Professor Diamanti presented her recent audio-visual works and papers at the following academic conferences: Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival at USC; Besides the Screen Conference (Portugal); European Association of Social Anthropology (online); Society for Applied Anthropology (Ferrara, Italy); and Finnish Anthropology Society (Helsinki, Finland). She was part of the scientific committee of the International Conference on Night Studies (Lisbon, Portugal), where she also presented her film, Guardians of the Night (2018).
In relation to his film project Porta Maggiore, Professor Ferrari collaborated with Stalker/NoWorking (A Rome-based architect collective) with the support of the City of Rome to organize a series of outdoor projections in Roma Est (Fall 2020). The projections took place at the Acquedotto Felice, Via Mandrione; Complesso IACP di Tor Sapienza with the assistance of the Centro Culturale Municipale Giorgio Morandi; and at the Reale Accademia di Spagna a Roma.
During the spring 2020 COVID lockdown, Ferrari collaborated with colleague Professor Donatella Della Ratta to produce “Rigenera: Marco Asilo; home projections for the quarantined hearts,” which consisted of showcasing a weekly series of silent films, short videos, elements of Ferrari’s experimental works, and the final presentation of student work from his JCU Expanded Cinema course. The videos were projected from his balcony onto a nearby building wall, with the collaboration of the Comitato di Quartiere Pigneto-Prenestino and Csoa ExSnia, every Friday night and were live-streamed on Facebook for a total of 8 weeks.
In 2019, Professor Helton Levy concluded a research project on the experience of social learning on Twitter as told by social movements based in London. From this fieldwork, he published an article in the International Journal of Communication. In January 2020, Levy published in the Westminster Papers of Communication & Culture with a piece that investigates underlying themes in viral social media posts associated with the topic of Communism during Brazil’s 2018 presidential election.
Levy also recently translated several articles on Paulo Freire into English for a special edition of the International Communication Gazette published in 2020, which also featured his article about new grammars of political contestation on YouTube. Other projects include a new selection of edited texts to be made available on the readingtheperiphery.org website.
Professor Jenn Lindsay published a peer-reviewed article derived directly from her experience in the JCU classroom entitled, “Growing Interreligious and Intercultural Competence in the Classroom,” Teaching Theology & Religion. She also published two book chapters: “Confronti: A Case Study of Institutions Fostering Religious Pluralism in Rome,” Interfaith Networks and Development (Palgrave MacMillan) and “Meaningful Interpersonal Contact: Interreligious Dialogue as a Religious Response to the Cognitive and Social Dynamics of Bias,” Religious Perspectives on a Secular World (Palgrave).
Professor Lindsay's academic monograph Pluralismo Vivo: Lived Religious Pluralism and Interfaith Dialogue in Rome was published by LIT Verlag in 2020. In her public engagement work, Professor Lindsay produced and directed a documentary about the suspension of religious gatherings in Rome during the Covid-19 outbreak called "Quarantined Faith: Rome, Religion and Coronavirus," which has won a special jury award for a film on Migrations and Coexistence at the Religion Today Film Festival; Best Documentary at the Picasso Einstein Buddha International Film Festival; Best Documentary at the Christian Online Film Festival; Honorable Mention for Best Documentary at the Florence Film Awards and the Madras International Film Festival. The documentary is also an Official Selection for the Ostia International Film Festival; the Rome Prisma International Film Awards; The Vesuvius International Film Festival; The Varese International Film Festival, and an Award of Recognition from the Impact DOCS Awards.
Her videography project, "Quarantine alla Romana," was also featured in the local Roman press. Professor Lindsay also received a filmmaking grant from the KAICIID interfaith organization in Vienna, in addition to a JCU Faculty Development Committee grant, to support production of her new documentary, ShalOM, about Hindu-Jewish dialogue. Finally, Professor Lindsay was recently awarded the Jack Shand International Scholar Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion to support her work in media, diversity, and intercultural relations.
Professor Micali published a book chapter in the edited collection Ecologie complesse: Pensare l’arte oltre l’umano (Meltemi); and another book chapter in the Selfies and Beyond collection. He presented a digital piece entitled, “Dining Out with Covid-19: (Biopolitical) Control and Lockdown Aesthetics, or Why Media Studies Neglect to Face the Crisis of Representation” as part of the Media Virality and the Lockdown Aesthetic, Affect & Social Media #4.5 academic conference and sensorium art show (University of East London, UK).
Professor Tasini was invited to speak at the festival Cinema D’Autrice. She gave a public lecture on the Politics of Italian Cinema at the University of Oslo, Norway. She was also selected to present her documentary-in-progress, Lost and Found, at the Advocate Europe Conference (Brussels).
In March 2020, she was due to present at the Transnational Feminism(s) Institute in Paris, but the event was canceled due to Covid-19. For the same reason, she’s currently rescheduling production (originally planned for May 2020) on her fiction film, Vuoi Volare O No? (Fly Already), adapted from Israeli writer Etgar Keret’s short story.
The Communications Department organizes a number of university-wide activities, such as the world-class lecture and film series, "3-D: Digital Delights and Disturbances," featuring leading scholars, artists, and mediamakers, including Lawrence Lessig, Paul Preciado, Shu Lea Chang, and Geert Lovink.
In recent years, the department has partnered with major international institutes and universities to co-host prestigious international conferences, including the International Media Education Summit and Fear and Loathing of the Online Self. Recent film series include showcases of contemporary Syrian documentaries and Ethiopian cinema.
Other activities include film screenings with directors, international conferences, author events, field trips to the world-famous film studio Cinecittà in Rome, and forums about current events.
Dual Degree Program
The dual degree program in Communications between John Cabot University (JCU) and the Università degli studi di Milano (Unimi) allows students to concurrently earn a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from JCU and an Italian Laurea triennale in Comunicazione e Società from the Facoltà di Scienze Politiche Unimi. Students selected to participate in the program will do coursework at both universities following a prescribed program of study.