Media History-focused faculty and students study one of the most powerful cultural forces of modern society – media. They use a broad range of approaches to document the development of the media through history. They draw parallels, connections, comparisons and contrasts from history to provide critical and prospective insights into the problems of contemporary media.

Ph.D. students develop their scholarship under the guidance of the School’s media historians on the doctoral faculty. Missouri faculty are highly recognized in their field, having received national research and teaching awards and served as journal editor, president and board members of the American Journalism Historians Association and heads of AEJMC‘s History Division.

Students draw upon the wide-ranging research expertise available at Missouri. The focus varies widely, encompassing gender, race, class, religion, and intersectionality as constructed both textually and visually in and through media. It ranges:

  • chronologically from the 18th century to the 21st century;
  • geographically from Cuba to China to the American South;
  • topically from print culture to broadcasting journalism to public relations and advertising;
  • theoretically from social history to intellectual history to transnational and comparative history.

In your research you can also explore the various impacts of technology, market, political structure, social movement, law and policy on the shaping of media as a unique cultural, social or political institution. What our research shares is a common set of problems – problems of representation, media production and institutional change.

Your faculty mentors will strive to help you broaden your intellectual horizon while enhancing specialized knowledge and competence in historical research. Methodological training is comprehensive and interdisciplinary, ranging from traditional archival research to oral history to visual analysis to quantitative method. Doctoral students studying Media History are encouraged to take classes from history, sociology, political science, literature, and other humanities and social sciences.

You will have opportunities to build your research skills that can lead to co- and single-authored papers as a doctoral student, as well as gain teaching, research, publication, conference and other professional development experiences.


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Are you ready to talk about how you could become a part of the next generation of thoughtful, innovative and engaged Media History scholars? You are welcome to explore your research interests with doctoral faculty who specialize in this area.