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R3 #2: Cultural Industry, Techno-Capitalism & Labor: The Mediated Exploitation of Black and Brown Bodies

View the second of the R3 series, “Cultural Industry, Techno-capitalism and Labor: The Mediated Exploitation of Black and Brown Bodies.”



Travis AlbrittonTRAVIS ALBRITTON is a Clinical Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at UNC-CH’s School of Social Work. He is the Director of the Chapel Hill 3-Year MSW Program and the Faculty Liaison for the Dual Degree MSW/M.Div. program. Dr. Albritton is a two-time recipient of the School of Social Work Excellence in MSW Advising Award. He has also received the School of Social Work Excellence in Teaching Award and has been recognized numerous times with the dean’s recognition for excellence in teaching. Dr. Albritton is the chairperson for the School of Social Work diversity committee and he serves on the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. Dr. Albritton was selected by the Council on Social Work Education to receive a competitive scholarship to participate in the Management Development Program offered by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The program is designed to prepare mid-level managers to address the complex issues faced by leaders in higher education. His research interests include educational equity in K-12, academic achievement among Black males and the importance of closing educational opportunity gaps for children of all ages. He has presented nationally on various topics including Critical Race Theory, the importance of critical conversations in the classroom and the educational needs of Black male high school students.


Kiara ChildsKIARA CHILDS is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Department of Communication at UNC. She is from Milwaukee, WI, and earned her BA in Journalism and Strategic Communication and Women and Gender Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is passionate about Black beauty culture, Black women, and social media. Currently, she studies Black women’s digital culture and how social media is both a place of invisibility and visibility for Black women. When she’s not teaching or studying for comprehensive exams, she may be running a campus organization’s social media account. In her free time, she loves to indulge in skincare, try tacos around the Raleigh-Durham area, and connect with friends and family over Facetime.


Stephanie Mahin

STEPHANIE MAHIN, Ph.D., is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Management & Corporate Communication Area at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. She teaches business communication and Corporate Social Advocacy and Activism to undergraduate and MBA students. She also teaches public relations and crisis communication. Dr. Mahin examines how organizations use social media and social networks to mobilize stakeholder groups from purchase interest to protest. Further how organizations use social media as forms of advocacy during times of crises. She began her career as a television reporter in the Triad and Triangle and is a two-time Emmy award winner for her work as National Media Relations Manager with UNC Health.


Ashley MattheisASHLEY A. MATTHEIS is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Doctoral Fellow with the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right. Her work brings together cultural studies, media studies, and rhetorical criticism, through the lens of intersectional feminist theory to explore the material effects of cultural production and consumption. Along with her PhD., she is completing a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. Her areas of inquiry include communicative processes of manufacturing consent to cultural hegemony, online media using gendered logics to circulate racism, and exploring how media are used in ongoing attempts to ontologize racial differences. Her dissertation. “Fierce Mamas: New Maternalism, Social Surveillance, and the Politics of Solidarity,” analyzes how motherhood discourses and mothering practices are used socially, and by mothers themselves, to divide women along multiple vectors of identity.


Michael WaltmanDR. MICHAEL WALTMAN’s current research focuses on the “normalization” of hatred. Dr. Waltman has published research on hate speech since 2003. Hate speech is discourse centered on the valorization of one identity and the vandalizing of another identity. Most of his research examines texts that are sources of identification for different social and hate groups (e.g., racist novels, manifestos, webpages, memes, online newspapers). This research illustrates how hate speech contributes to the radicalization of group members, ethno-violence, identity formation among hate mongers, and collective memories of extremist groups. Because hate speech is ideological in nature, hate speech contributes to social and political polarization, inequality, and racism. Indeed, hate speech is the mortar for the building of systems of oppression and political movements that are fundamentally anti-democratic. Dr. Waltman has published two books: The Communication of Hate (with Dr. John Haas) and Hate on the Right: Right-Wing Political Groups and Hate Speech. Additionally, he has published 10 articles and chapters.

Graduate Research Related to this R3 Topic:

Julia YiJULIA YI is a 3rd year PhD student in the Division of Speech & Hearing Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill and is under the mentorship of Dr. Karen Erickson of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies. She has a background in speech-language pathology and is interested in studying language and literacy, particularly among populations who are confined (i.e. in correctional facilities, juvenile justice systems) and where there exists a highly disproportionate percentage of those with language and literacy impairments.