Building:Richcraft Hall, Room 4212
Department:School of Journalism and Communication


Emily Hiltz is Instructor II in the School of Journalism and Communication and serves as the Co-Op Faculty Advisor for Communication and Media Studies. Her teaching and research focus on advancing creative, interdisciplinary and critical approaches to studying visual media culture, identity, and online communication. Her research contributes to visual culture studies, feminist intersectional media studies, and critical media approaches to crime. She holds a PhD in Communication from Carleton University, a MA in Media Studies from The University of Western Ontario, and an Hons. BA in Media, Information and Technoculture also from Western.  

Research Interests

My research explores the affective visual media practices tied to notoriety construction in North American popular culture. Looking to familiar images of criminalized and victimized subjects, I consider how notoriety emerges through the transmediated use of photographic and artistic images. For example, I am currently investigating the legal, journalistic, and social conventions tied to courtroom art production in Canada – and in particular, how drawn likenesses of accused criminals are created and used in news reporting. A secondary, ongoing project considers the commercial function of crime in a postfeminist, ‘true crime’ media culture. My co-authored research published in the Journal of Gender Studies andTOPIA offer critiques of other visual materials circulating online (e.g., anti- and pro-vaccination memes) and in colonial texts and policies (e.g., through Indian Residential School reports and photography). Questions of method and affect are central to all my research endeavours, which also directly informs my teaching practice.

Teaching Experience and Supervision

I regularly teach research-intensive required classes in COMS, such as ‘Introduction to Communication Research’ (COMS 2004), ‘Qualitative Research in Communication’ (COMS 3002), and ‘Gender, Sexuality and Media’ (COMS 4604), along with special topics courses like ‘Media and Crime’ (COMS 4800). My pedagogical approach is student-centred, experiential, and oriented around skills development. I have taught in the department since 2014 and developed and delivered ‘Victims, Villains, and Vigilantes,’ ‘Communication and Identity’ and ‘Applied Qualitative Research’ courses. 

In 2022, I was awarded the Faculty of Public Affairs’ Teaching Excellence Award in recognition of my commitment to student satisfaction, engagement and support, along with curriculum development. 

I also supervise graduate and undergraduate students on a wide range of projects and topics, such as: age and gendered practices on Instagram, postfeminist pop culture, decolonial news and art representations, gaming culture and geek masculinity. 


Brady, M. J., Christiansen, E., & Hiltz, E. (2022): Good Karen, Bad Karen: visual culture and the anti-vaxx mom on Reddit, Journal of Gender Studies, DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2022.2069088

Brady, M., & Hiltz, E. (2017). The archaeology of an image: The persistent persuasion of Thomas Moore Keesick’s residential school photographs. TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies. DOI: 37(Spring), 61-85. DOI: 10.3138/topia.37.61

Hiltz, E. (2016). “Let the games begin: Hybrid horror in the Hunger Games trilogy.” In Jessica McCort (Ed.), Reading in the dark: Horror in children’s literature and culture (pp. 201-217). Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Select Conference Presentations

Hiltz, E. Finding ‘Karen’: Tracking the Good and Bad ‘Anti-Vaxx’ Mom on Reddit.” Canadian Communication Association Annual Conference. Panel: Grappling with feminisms in our methodologies. June 4, 2021.

“The violence of smiles through the Black Dahlia image: Cultural remediations of Elizabeth Short’s victim photographs.” Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities. Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa. March 23, 2019.

“Notoriety as postfeminist sensibility.” Histories / theories / archaeologies / archives: 40 years of communication and media research. Panel: Histories. Carleton University, Ottawa. Sept. 14, 2018.

“The visual construction of criminal notoriety: Discourse analysis as an historical critique of violent women’s notoriety.” Paris 2017, The International Association for Media and History (IAMHIST) – Media and History: Crime, Violence and Justice. Paris, France. July 10-13, 2017.