Today more than ever, representations of psychological trauma and physical victimization saturate mass media coverage, profoundly shaping the contours of public debate about crime, terrorism, war and citizenship. Within these debates, the mass media are powerful sites of cultural and political identification. They are also strategic sites for cultural and political mobilization. Carrie Rentschler’s research explores these issues by linking the mass circulation of media representations to their strategic mobilization by social movements, and corporate and political interests in the U.S. and Canada.
Professor Rentschler’s publications examine the relationship between mass-mediated representations of suffering and models of citizenship, the gender politics of environmental security and its publicity, the diverse media activism practices of social movements, women’s self-defense as a form of feminist pedagogy, and the gendered politics of fear. Her first book, Second Wounds: Victims Rights and the Media in the U.S. (Duke University Press, 2011), retells the recent history of crime and disaster media from the perspective of victims’ rights reforms and publicity practices. She is currently writing a book on the 1964 Kitty Genovese murder (where 38 New Yorkers supposedly looked on and did nothing) and its cultural legacies of failed witness.
Carrie Rentschler is Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar of Feminist Media Studies in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies and Director of the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at McGill University. She earned a B.A. magna cum laude in Humanities (1994) from the University of Minnesota, an A.M. in Speech Communication (1998) and a PhD in Communications (2002) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.