Media @ McGill

Advanced Dissertation Grants



Sylvie Boisjoli - The Emergence of Prehistoric Time in Nineteenth-Century France: “Mute” Artefacts and Living History

Shana Cooperstein - Reading Between the Lines: Post-Academic Drawing Pedagogy in Nineteenth-Century France

Ali Karimi - The Will Not to Count: Technologies of Calculation and the Quest to Govern Afghanistan

Isabelle Masse - Médium du portrait, portrait du médium : les « spécificités historiques » du pastel dans le long XVIIIe siècle

Victoria Simon - From Difficulty to Delight: the Politics of Touch in Musical Screens

Saelan Twerdy - The Dream of Dematerialization: Art, Labour, and Information Technology since the 1960s



Elyse Amend - Eating well: exploring hegemonic nutrition, food expertise, and conceptions of health and wellness through Canada’s food guide

Joceline Andersen - Stars, nobodies, and other apparitions: the cameo role in Hollywood film and television

Tawny Andersen - Performativity as Critical Praxis

Tomasz Grusiecki - Globalising the Periphery: Poland-Lithuania, World-Making and the Dispersal of Origin, 1587–1668

Dana Whitney Sherwood - Urban algorhythms: The city as a medium and rhythmanalysis in Hamilton, Ontario



Anne-Sophie Garcia - Spectral Pasts: The Temporality of Historical (In)justice in Latin American Contemporary Art

Nathaniel Laywine - Solidarity and Global Citizenship: International Volunteerism and Service Learning in Peru

François Mouillot - Mapping the Underground: Scenes and Record Labels in Montreal Experimental Music

Maryse Ouellet - Le sublime par l'image : contemporanéité du sublime dans l'art actuel

Abigail Shapiro - Ree Morton and Feminist Installation Art in North America 1968–1977



Reilley Bishop-Stall -- Catastrophe In Camera: Decolonial Disclosure and Photography’s Crisis of Conscience

Anna Lisa Candido -- Censorship, Media, and the Public Life of the Obscene Body

Morgan Julia Charles -- Isotropic media: Towards a Cultural History of Concrete in Montreal

Gretchen King -- The radical pedagogy of community radio and the case of Radio al-Balad 92.4 FM: community radio news audiences and political change in Jordan

Dylan Mulvin -- Reference Materials: The People, Places, and Things of Making Measurements

Errol Salamon -- Journalism Slow Death: A History of Newsworkers’ Labour Struggles in Canada

Guillaume Sirois -- Aesthetics, Ethics, Politics: Making Judgment on the Arts in a Globalized World

Cayley Sorochan -- The Participatory Complex


Caroline Bem -- From Writing Tablets to System Reboots: Death Proof and the Cinematic Diptych

Christopher Gutierrez -- Anxious Realism: Speculation, Affect and Information in the Ongoing Present

Lena Palacios -- Indigenous and Race-Radical Feminist Movements Confronting Necropower in Carceral States

Rafico Ruiz -- Sites of Communication: The Grenfell Mission of Newfoundland and Labrador

Erandy Vergara-Vargas -- Re-orienting and Disorienting Interaction: Movement, Technology and Background in Installations by Latin American Artists


Mitchell Akiyama -- The Phonographic Memory: A History of Sound Recording in the Field

Tammer El-Sheikh -- Strategies of Refusal: Art and Cultural Politics in the Work of Edward Said and Hassan Khan

Anuradha Gobin -- Representing the Criminal Body in the City: Knowledge, Publics and Power in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic


Susana Vargas Cervantes -- Performing Mexicanidad: Mujercitos and Hombrecitas on the instersections of sex/gender, class/race-ethnicity and criminality in Mexico

Allison Jacques -- Justice Weekly: The story of a Canadian tabloid

Jaclyn Reid -- Prostitution, Print, and Visual Culture in London, 1850-1910

Paulina Mickiewicz -- A Time for Libraries: The Grande Bibliotheque du Quebec in Montreal



Didier Delmas -- Show me the truth: the conditions of possibility for the invention of photography

Caroline Habluetzel -- The telautograph, scenes of handwriting and the changing cultural appreciation of physical authenticity

Aysha Mawani -- Globalization, governance and its relationship to "cultural diversity"

Emily Raine -- Analyzing "good service" for interactive service workers and their clients

Liz Springate -- Crafting social change: The politics of freedom in digital storytelling's pedagogical circuits

Michael Baker -- Rockumentary: Style, Performance, and Sound in a Documentary Genre

Jessica Wurster -- The Currency of Self Esteem: Gender and Labor in SuicideGirls' Social Network Porn



Genevieve Bonin -- Accountability and the CRTC: an evaluation of the Canadian commercial radio licence renewal process (1997- 2007)

Normand Landry -- Activism at the Crossroads: Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, Social Movements, and the Juridification of Public Debates in Canada

Christine Mitchell -- Situation Normal, All FAHQT'd Up: Language, Materiality and Machine Translation

Ali Mohamed -- Online Journalism and the Public Sphere in the Arab World: A Case Study of Egypt

Jeremy Morris -- Understanding the Digital Music Commodity

Tara Rodgers -- Synthesis: Technologies and Others in the Evolution of Synthesized Sound

Neal Thomas -- Semantic Web, Semiotic Web: Towards a Postmetaphysical Informatics


Gregory Taylor -  Canadian Broadcasting Regulation and the Digital Television Transition

Lisa Sumner - Distilling Unity: Popularizing Canada in the North American Imagination

Lilian Radovac - The Muted City: New York, Noise Control, and the Reconfiguration of Urban Space

Yong-Woo Lee - Embedded Voices In-Between Empires: The Cultural Formation of Korean Popular Music in Modern Times

Andrew Gibson - What we have yet Failed to Achieve: Interpreting Charles Taylor’s Critique of Canadian Society

Andrea Braithwaite - Female Dicks, Male Tricks, and Popular Feminisms



Ger Zielinski - Furtive glances: On the cultural politics of lesbian and gay film festivals

Anna Feigenbaum - Tactics and technology: Cultural resistance at the Greenham Women’s Peace Camp

Ingrid Bejerman  - Turning the inverted pyramid inside-out: professional ideology, professionalization, and education of journalists reconsidered



Claire Roberge - Le réseau transnational : La sédimentation du passage

Richard Sutherland - Canadian music industry policy 1968-1998

Amend, Elyse
Andersen, Joceline
Andersen, Tawny
Grusiecki, Tomasz
Sherwood, Dana Whitney

This thesis presents a dual inquiry into the notions of urban failure and the postindustrial city through a case study of Hamilton, Ontario.  The postindustrial city is often a taken for granted category, diagnosed as a particular type of urban failure and prescribed a narrow range of remedies.  This project reevaluates the postindustrial city to question both what this type of urban failure means, and how the impulse to overcome it can be problematic.  A fresh approach borrowed from media studies, specifically, Friedrich Kittler’s “The City is a Medium,” is combined with the work of Henri Lefebvre to explore these issues.  Kittler’s theory of the city as a medium unearths particular logics at work in the building, destroying, and rebuilding of the urban environment while Lefebvre’s work, on both the production of space and rhythmanalysis, facilitates more nuanced contextual discussions, as well as the potential for meaningful resistance to destructive trends encouraged through and reflected in Kittler’s media thinking as applied to the urban.  This project, then trances a deep history of the Hamilton from its rise into a major industrial centre, the ‘Birmingham of Canada,’ to its decades of prosperity as the ‘Steel City,’ and crucially, through its period of decline against shifting perceptions of the urban (post)industrial, and finally, its emergent renaissance amidst a rebranding as an arts and cultural city.


Chapter One consists of a detailed theory and methodology section that guides the rest of the thesis.  It first addresses the postindustrial—as a social, economic, and urban concept— setting up the relationship between postindustrial and information society.  It then introduces the thought of Kittler, through his essay “The City is a Medium,” to establish a much older notion of the information city through the city as a material medium. This theory of the city as a medium is the foundation for the case study, which develops the urban built environment of Hamilton as hardware and its layout as formatting.  Kittler’s work establishes a way of viewing urban failure through the obsolescence of these urban technologies.  Lefebvre’s thought is then introduced through metaphors on software, with both a concealing and revealing function vis-à-vis the material hardware and formatting.  Finally, his rhythmanalytical method, which situates the city as a medium within specific spatio-temporal processes, contexts, and networks, and offers an embodied humanistic resistance to the anti-humanist technological determinism imbued in Kittler’s theory of the city as medium is developed.


Chapter Two undertakes the first part of the case study on Hamilton as a medium, covering the period 1848 to 1945.  It uses Kittler’s framework and vocabulary to develop Hamilton’s early built environment as hardware and also addresses the effects of Hamilton’s unique geography on the formatting of the city.  Drawing on archival documents, this chapter describes the logic of the functioning of early Hamilton during its period of wealth and success, as well as its position in larger networks of urban growth and technological change.  In this era, Hamilton is an early innovator and adopter of elements of Mumford’s ‘invisible city’ as precursor to information society, going by nicknames such as ‘the electric city’ and ‘the telephone city.’  This is an era of acceleration; Hamilton can be described as on or ahead of pace in relation to larger international trends in urban technology and growth.


Chapter Three covers the failure phase of Hamilton’s history, roughly 1945-2000, when the city’s failures manifest as falling out of synch. It is characterized by obsolesced urban hardware and outdated formatting.  These concepts are developed alongside the rhythms of larger North American trends of urban renewal, economic deindustrialization, and the beginning of widespread acceptance of a postindustrial era.  This chapter explores Hamilton through the largest urban renewal project in Canada: the demolition of 42 acres of the Victorian downtown to be rebuilt/reformatted according to modern standards.  These urban renewal projects ultimately compound the city’s supposed failures as, through a series of delays, they give rise to new, yet instantly outmoded hardware.  The chapter also addresses a concurrent secondary circuit of failure running through the city’s continued pursuit of industrial growth in an era where different forms of urban growth and prosperity have gained favor.  The once proud Steel City becomes colloquially known as the ‘armpit of Ontario.’


Chapter Four addresses the beginning of Hamilton’s hopeful renaissance, starting in the early 2000s and continuing to the present day.  The city as medium’s obsolescence begins to give way to reversal, as previously outmoded hardware and antiquated formatting reveal their latent economic value.  This chapter explores how the formerly problematic industrial image and hardware of the city are restocked with new potential as the city officially attempts to rebrand as an arts and culture hub catering to the Creative Class.  This chapter critically assesses the extent to which such an urban rescue plan is a repeat of the logic of the city as a medium that resulted in past failures.  It then supplements the city as medium approach with elements of Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis as a way to embrace failure beyond its latent economic or cultural capital value to encourage thinking on building and living in the city in novel ways.