The School of Journalism and Communication is thrilled to announce the appointment of Dr. Armond Towns as its newest faculty member in communication and media studies. Dr. Towns’ expertise in Black studies, media philosophy and communication history will contribute to the School in exciting new ways.

Dr. Towns’ research is primarily concerned with racism and its technological circulations. His forthcoming book, On Black Media Philosophy, to be published by University of California Press, engages critically with media theory and philosophy on a range of issues, from Charles Darwin’s archives to YouTube videos. Among other cases, the book examines in detail the 2014 killing of Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. Towns shows how in the absence of actual video footage of Brown’s killing, an alternative market for digital animations of the killing emerged and contributed to public discourse and the legal outcomes of the case. Those animations of the murder, Towns shows, were largely slanted toward framing Wilson’s perspective of the event as transparent and objective. Whereas Brown was commodified as both property (via his historical relation to chattel slavery) and information (via digital representations of his killing) Wilson was established as the provider of neutral information corroborated by the animations.

More broadly, Dr. Towns’ research is critically engaged at the nexus of racism and digital media. In a recent article published in Information, Communication & Society, he argues that the video game Playing History: Slave Trade is a pedagogical tool used to reproduce whiteness digitally by teaching white children how to manage “unruly” Black populations. In another article, he and coauthor Carolyn Hardin argue that credit cards are technologies of racialized, digital discipline. His next book project will connect Black studies to the history of Canadian media theory, particularly the work of Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan.

“We are excited to have Dr. Towns as the newest faculty member in Communication and Media Studies,” says Josh Greenberg, Director of the School of Journalism and Communication and the Program Head for the Communication and Media Studies program. “He has already established himself as a leading international scholar of race and communication. His approach to media and communication is also deeply informed by the materialist tradition in Canadian Communication Studies, making his contributions to our program particularly compelling.”

Dr. Towns’ appointment begins July 1, 2021. He joins Carleton from the University of Richmond, where he has been an assistant professor since 2018 in the Department of Rhetoric and Communication Studies. Previously, he was assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Denver.

Friday, March 19, 2021 in ,
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