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Department ChairDepartment Chair
Eric Pierson, Ph.D., joined the faculty in 1999. Prior to joining the faculty he spent five years teaching at the University of Illinois st Urbana-Champaign while pursuing his Ph.D. He has been chair of the department since 2006.
Media literacy is the term that best holds together Pierson’s multiple strands of scholarly and creative work. He has written on the image construction in film, television and the Internet, and the financial, social, and moral implications connected to these images. His co-authored piece, “The Rhetoric of Hate on the Internet: 'Hateporn’s' Challenge to Modern Media Ethics” with department colleague, Larry Williamson, examines the question of social responsibility and image/information dissemination.
Pierson wrote the introduction, contributed an article and served as editor of the inaugural issue of Screening Noir: A Journal of Black Film, Television and New Media. The issue revisited the Blaxploitation film movement by examining the political, social and financial forces that influenced the genre. He continues to serve on the journal’s editorial board. He has also written on Black film/audiences, which have been published as encyclopedia entries. His long-range projects include a comprehensive study of film imagery of the 1970’s and a teaching guide for media literacy.
Pierson has taught a variety of courses in the Communication Studies department. His primary area of focus is the construction of images in the mass media and issues of media literacy. Pierson has taught a number of established courses while also creating new course offerings. Among the courses that he has developed are the course in British Media Systems, which is part of the Study Abroad Program, and the Independent Cinema course that is taught in Park City, Utah in conjunction with the Sundance Film Festival. Pierson is also responsible for courses connected to USDtv, the campus television station.
- PhD, Communications, Institute of Communication Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- BFA, Theatre, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign