Media History

Media History

The Media History doctoral area allows you to examine, substantiate and construct theories about media, communication and the public.

Faculty and students in this area 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. Then, they draw parallels, connections, comparisons and contrasts from history to provide critical and prospective insights into the problems of contemporary media.

The Missouri School of Journalism has long been recognized as a powerhouse of media history scholarship. Robert Houseman, the very first Ph.D. in journalism in the United States, received his degree from Missouri in 1934 and became a leading historian specializing in the history of the frontier press. Frank Luther Mott, former dean of the School, won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for History for his book, “A History of American Magazines.”

You will develop your scholarship under the guidance of the School’s six media historians on the doctoral faculty, more than any other journalism program in the country. They are highly recognized in the field, having received national research and teaching awards and having served as journal editor, president and board members of the American Journalism Historians Association and heads of the AEJMC’s History Division.

You can 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 broacasting 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.

Let us know if you would like to discuss 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.