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Reed v. Town of Gilbert: A Court United, a Court Divided

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The 2015 Supreme Court case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, is unusual. While it was unanimously decided in a 9-0 opinion, the majority opinion created a lot of divisiveness within the Court. This thesis examines how a court that unanimously

The 2015 Supreme Court case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, is unusual. While it was unanimously decided in a 9-0 opinion, the majority opinion created a lot of divisiveness within the Court. This thesis examines how a court that unanimously decided on the outcome of the case contains concurring opinions that so strongly disagree with the specifics put forth in the Opinion of the Court, and what implications that might have on future content discrimination laws. Such implications include whether the Court will take a more functional or literal approach to strict scrutiny examination and content regulation.

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2016-12

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On the sidelines: postfeminism, neoliberalism, and the American female sportscaster

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The term “female sportscaster” elicits a broad range of feelings among the sports media consumer base. Many of the women who fall into the category of “female sportscaster” appear to be greatly admired while many others evoke considerable scorn, making

The term “female sportscaster” elicits a broad range of feelings among the sports media consumer base. Many of the women who fall into the category of “female sportscaster” appear to be greatly admired while many others evoke considerable scorn, making the electronic sports media industry a seemingly dangerous and often vitriolic environment for women. The gendered mistreatment of women sportscasters is not unfamiliar to sports media scholars. Indeed, phenomena such as sex biases, double standards, and harassment have been documented, primarily through positivistic or quantitative research. What has not been investigated, however, is how these phenomena persist and evolve despite the extant research.

This dissertation employs Michel Foucault’s power/knowledge paradigm to take a discursive analytic approach to understand how the “female sportscaster” subjectivity, or imagined idea, is constructed through statements, images, and practices. That is, this dissertation investigates the way society “talks about” the “female sportscaster” and how those discussions affect the experiences of women sportscasters. Using one-on-one interviews with 10 women sportscasters, focus groups with sports media consumers, netnography, and textual analysis under the umbrella of a feminist methodological approach, this dissertation finds that the American female subjectivity is constructed through postfeminist and neoliberal discourses. These discourses “empower” women sportscasters to be responsible for their own success but, in doing so, normalize the obstacles women in sportscasting endure.

As a result of this normalization, the electronic sports media industry is seemingly justified in taking little to no meaningful action toward improving conditions for women sportscasters. Specific manifestations of these discourses are traced across phenomena such as double standards, bias in hiring and development, harassment, and the expectation of affective labor. Suggestions are made for improving conditions for women sportscasters.

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2018

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Toward a theory of true crime: forms and functions of nonfiction murder narratives

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The mass media genre known as true crime is dismissed often as a more sensational, less reliable iteration of traditional crime journalism. Consumer and editorial confusion exists because there is no overarching criteria determining what is, and what is not,

The mass media genre known as true crime is dismissed often as a more sensational, less reliable iteration of traditional crime journalism. Consumer and editorial confusion exists because there is no overarching criteria determining what is, and what is not, true crime. To that extent, the complete history of true crime’s origins and its best practitioners and works cannot be known with any certainty, and its future forms cannot be anticipated. Scholarship is overdue on an effective criteria to determine when nonfiction murder narratives cease to be long-form crime reporting and become something else. Against the backdrop of this long-evolving, multi-faceted literary/documentary genre, the researcher in this exploratory, qualitative study seeks to (a) examine the historical tension between formal journalism and true crime; (b) reveal how traditional journalism both reviles and plunders true crime for its rhetorical treasures; and (c) explain how this has destabilized the meaning of the term “true crime” to the degree that a more substantive understanding needs to be established. Through a textual analysis of the forms and functions of representative artifacts, the researcher will suggest that a Theory of True Crime could be patterned after time-tested analytic codes created for fiction, but structured in a simple two-stage examination that would test for dominant characteristics of established true crime texts.

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2017