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Esteban del Río, PhD

Associate Professor
Director, Center for Inclusion and Diversity

Esteban del Río is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of San Diego and currently serves as the Associate Provost for Inclusion and Diversity and Director of the Center of Inclusion and Diversity. He earned a PhD in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, working in the area of media and cultural studies. del Río teaches Introduction to Media Studies, Media & Conflict, and International Media.


Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst, Communication
B.A., University of San Diego, History

Scholarly and Creative Work

My research interests include the study of unity and difference, cultural production and reception, Latinidad, consumer culture, and social change with essays appearing in Communication Yearbook, Journal of Communication Inquiry, Communication Culture Critique, Participations: International Journal of Audience Research, and Flow. I write about television, cinema, museums, social media, and aesthetic activism in these publications. Current research examines the construction and contestation of Latinidad as a coherent structure of feeling in informational and entertainment discourses, considering how Latinos in the United States challenge assumptions about difference in political, economic, and cultural practices. I am also interested in exploring how a communication approach to difference can intervene in discourses and practices of inclusion and equity in educational and corporate-managed articulations of diversity.

Teaching Interests

I encourage students to raise critical questions about the poetics and politics of social reality in the spirit of hope and possibility. Communication, in these discussions, is understood as the primary social process inexorably linking symbol systems and the material world. Relying on the Socratic method and interactive lectures, my pedagogical goals are personal and social transformation in the context of rigor and accountability that a liberal arts approach affords. I teach Introduction to Media Studies, Media & Conflict, International Media, Interpretive Methods, and Film & Cultural Politics. Special topics courses taught include Acoustic Culture & Communication, Translatinidad, and British Cultural Studies. My teaching awards include the designation of Professor of the Year by three graduating classes and receiving the Professor of the Year award from Student Support Services on three occasions.