Ellen Moore, Ph.D.

Lecturer ; Graduate Faculty

Specialty: Environmental Communication

Contact information

Dept: Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Room: JOY 214D
Phone: 253-692-4605
Email: melle@u.washington.edu

Degrees

  • Ph.D., University of Illinois, 2010.

Biography

I teach and conduct research in critical media studies in Communication. Since receiving my PhD in Communication from the Institute for Communication Research I have taught in Communication at the University of Washington Tacoma teaching a variety of classes.

I have taught a wide range of classes - including those in Communication, Political Science, CORE, and MAIS - in my five years here. I appreciate the relatively small class size because it fits my preferred Socratic method of teaching that fosters critical thinking through providing appropriate questions, not rote answers. In this way, I encourage students to think critically (sometimes for the first time) about the media system that surrounds them. I have created two new courses that focus on the environment through the lens of Communication while here: TCOM 310 and TCOM 464.

My research parallels the courses I have taught at UW Tacoma. I conduct research in two areas of critical media studies: representations of the environment and representations of ethnicity.

Research

My research centers on critical media studies in Communication with a focus in popular culture. My dissertation was a critical examination of the recent practice of incorporating popular culture into religious services in American evangelical churches. Central questions of the research included why mainstream film was used in the services, how it changed the religious message sent to parishioners, and how churchgoers themselves perceived the blurring of the lines between religious practice and secular popular culture.

Since the dissertation my current research includes two central lines of inquiry within critical media examination: representations of ethnicity in U.S. popular culture and representations of nature and the environment in journalism and popular culture.

My work on representations of ethnicity in pop culture has included an assessment of blockbuster films like Hunger Games, using controversies in social media as an avenue through which the implications can be understood. My research also has examined the Sandusky/Penn state child molestation controversy through the lens of trends in mainstream media to understand how systematic predation of certain types of children could persist for so long without correction.

Finally, my most recent work involves representations of nature and the environment in popular culture. Specifically, I examine how environmental problems (causes, consequences, and solutions) are constructed for audiences through a consumerist, capitalist framework.

My research informs my teaching, and vice versa. During my TCOM 310 course (on Environmental Communication) I worked with students to analyze several animated children's films. That initial work led directly to a research project, the result of which is now being submitted to a critical media studies journal.

My two most recent lines of inquiry will coalesce in a future research on portrayals of environmental justice in the media, bringing together critical assessments of key environmental problems as they relate to class and ethnicity.

Teaching

I have taught a wide range of classes - including those in Communication, Political Science, CORE, and MAIS - in my five years here. Specifically, I have taught:

  • TCORE 103 Social Sciences
  • TCOM 201 Media and Society
  • TCOM 257 Media Ethics
  • TCOM 258 Children and Media
  • TCOM 310 (created) Contemporary Issues in Environmental Communication
  • TCOM 444 Gender Ethnicity Class and the Media
  • TCOM 480 Political Economy of the Media
  • MAIS 502 Culture and Public Problems

I appreciate the relatively small class size because it fits my preferred Socratic method of teaching that fosters critical thinking through providing appropriate questions, not rote answers. In this way, I encourage students to think critically (sometimes for the first time) about the media system that surrounds them. I have created two new courses that focus on the environment through the lens of Communication while here: TCOM 310 and TCOM 464.

Selected Publications

  • Moore, E. (in review at Critical Studies in Mass Communication). Green Screen or Fade to Black? Representations of the Environment in Hollywood Film.
  • Moore, E., and Coleman, C. (in press). Hungering for Diversity: Representations of Race in Hunger Games. Journal of Popular Culture.
  • Moore, E. (2013). Sexual Hyenas and Programs for At-Risk Youth: Structural Opportunities for Abuse. Cultural Studies, Critical Methodologies.
  • Moore, E. (2013). Evangelical Churches' Use of Commercial Entertainment Media. In Evangelicals Christians and Popular Culture: "Pop" Goes the Gospel. ABC-CLIO Publishers.
  • Moore, E. (2009). The Gospel of Tom (Hanks): American Churches and the Da Vinci Code. In Exploring Religion and the Sacred in the Media Age.
  • Moore, E. (2008). Raising the Bar: the Complicated Consumption of Chocolate. In Food for Thought: Essays on Eating and Culture. McFarland Publishers, Winston-Salem, NC.

Affiliations

  • I am a commissioner with the Sustainable Tacoma Commission, a part of the City of Tacoma.

Honors and Awards

  • Distinguished Research Award (nominated) (January 2014)
  • Distinguished Leadership Award (nominated) (January 2014)
  • International Provost Grants (awarded), 2013-14 UW Faculty-led Study Abroad
  • Voted Extrameritorious by Interdisciplinary Arts and Science faculty (June 2012)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, University of Illinois (2006, 2007, and 2009)
  • Pollsters and Parishioners: Survey Workshop on American Religion and Politics, Grant, Henry Institute, Calvin College (2009)
  • Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Three-year Fellowship (2000-2003)