Ron Krabill

Ron Krabill


Co-director, Master of Arts in Cultural Studies

B.A. Communication, Peace & Conflict Studies, Goshen College
M.A. Historical Studies & Sociology, New School for Social Research
Ph.D. Sociology & Historical Studies, New School for Social Research

Office: UW2-326
Phone: 425-352-3592
Email: rkrabill@uw.edu
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246


My teaching is centered on the idea that the best learning grows out of a diverse intellectual community in interaction, both in and out of the classroom itself, rather than individuals imparting knowledge in a unilateral way. I strongly believe that education is best served through the building of a safe yet challenging learning community that includes students, faculty and others in a holistic learning experience. In addition to developing such interactions among members of my classes, I also value the impact of community-based learning and scholarship. Ideally, education should serve not only a student's individual intellectual development and overall well-being, but also the well-being and knowledge-base of the many communities with which each student and the university as a whole are involved.

Recent Courses Taught

BIS 264 Africa on Film
BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry
BIS 313 Issues in Media Studies: Human Rights Public Culture
BIS 313 Issues in Media Studies: Media and Social Movements
BIS 403 Washington, D.C., Research Seminar on Human Rights
BIS 420 Colonizing History in Sub-Saharan Africa
BIS 490 Senior Seminar: History, Politics and Ethics of Service
BCULST 500 Formations of Cultural Studies
BCULST 501 Cultural Studies as Collaboration
HUM 498 Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities
HUM 598 Public Humanities and the Digital University


My scholarship on mass media and politics seeks to expand our understanding of transnational mediascapes as complex forces which shape political life in relevant, sometimes surprising ways.  My overall research agenda can be broken down into three major categories, all of which are profoundly interdisciplinary in nature:

  • My ongoing work on electronic, independent and transnational media and their impact on social life and action (particularly politics - both institutional and extra-institutional) that focuses on South Africa as its most significant location;
  • An increasing focus on the scholarship of teaching and learning, particularly in relation to community-based learning and scholarship and its relationships to the concepts of praxis in cultural studies and interdisciplinarity; and
  • A growing interest in questions of digital, public humanities and their intersections with both of the above research categories.

All of my research resists the easy reduction of media into either an obvious evil or a utopian good, favoring instead an in-depth exploration of the inconsistent and sometimes contradictory impact of media as both form and content in everyday social life.  I'm particularly interested in developing my research in directions beyond the academy to include various community-based stakeholders and media and public policy practitioners.

Selected Publications

Starring Mandela & Cosby:  Media and the End(s) of Apartheid, University of Chicago Press, 2010.

“The Affirmative Character of Cultural Studies” (with B. Burgett, K. Kochhar-Lindgren & E. Thomas) International Journal of Cultural Studies, 16(4), 2013.

"Graduate Mentoring Against Common Sense" in Collaborative Futures: Critical Reflections on Publicly Active Graduate Education, edited by A. Gilvin, G. M. Roberts, and C. Martin, Syracuse: The Graduate School Press of Syracuse University, 2012.

"Nelson Mandela not defined by his ability to forgive," The Seattle Times 17 December 2013.

"American Sentimentalism and the Production of Global Citizens," Contexts 11(4), 2012.

"Critiquing What We Love" in "Periscope: World Cub 2010," Social Text 19 July 2010.

"Mediating Manenberg in the post-Apartheid Public Sphere:  Media, Democracy and Citizenship in South Africa" (with Sean Jacobs) in Limits to Liberation after Apartheid:  Citizenship, Governance and Culture, edited by Steven L. Robbins, London:  James Currey; Cape Town:  David Philip; and Athens:  Ohio Univ. Press, 2005:  157-172.

"Journalism:  A Need for Reclaiming Praxis"  Ecquid Novi:  African Journalism Studies  25 (2), 2004:  356-359.

"Symbiosis: Mass Media and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa" Media, Culture & Society 23, 2001.