Media and Public Relations

Where Innovation Is Tradition

Media Sources Guide

CATEGORY: Pop CultureClear

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Amy Best

Associate Professor of Sociology

Expertise: Youth culture, proms, car culture, teens, social identity

Best is interested in the study of youth, culture and social inequalities.

She earned her PhD in Sociology in 1998 from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She is author of "Prom Night: Youth, Schools and Popular Culture" (2000 Routledge), which was selected for the 2002 American Educational Studies Association Critics' Choice Award and "Fast Cars: Cool Rides: The Accelerating World of Youth and Their Cars" (NYU Press 2005) in addition to several articles and book chapters.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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Mark Hopson

Assistant Professor of Communication

Expertise: Race and mass media, rhetoric of race, culture and gender

Hopson holds a PhD in Intercultural Communication from Ohio University, and MA and BA degrees in Organizational Communication from Western Michigan University.

His research involves communication informed by race, culture, power, marginalization, gender, identity and difference. In his research, he examines the way mass media informs perceptions about race and culture.

In addition, he has training and experience in violence prevention-education, diversity workshops, and academic and life skill building programs.

He is currently working on a book titled, “The Talking Drum: Exploring the Role of Critical Memory in Intercultural Communication.”

He can also discuss the way race and racial issues are used in media and communication in regards to presidential campaigns.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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Suzanne Smith

Associate Professor, Department of History and Art History

Expertise: History of Motown, American Popular Music, Blues, Jazz, Bluegrass, Country Music, Civil Rights Movement, African-American History and Culture, Urban History and Film, History of Death in America, Black Entrepreneurship

Smith is the author of "Dancing in the Street: Motown and the Cultural Politics of Detroit"(Harvard University Press, January 2000), which explores Motown and its relationship to the black community of Detroit and the civil rights movement. The book was awarded third place in the 11th annual Gleason Music Book Awards, sponsored by NYU, Rolling Stone, and BMI.

Her new book, "To Serve the Living: Funeral Directors and the African American Way of Death" (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, February 2010), explores the role of funeral directors in African American life and their participation in the national civil rights movement.

She completed her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 1996. She has also contributed to various public history projects including the film Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring for the American Experience series on PBS, and the series, I’ll Make Me A World: African American Arts in the Twentieth Century, from Blackside Productions.

Smith can talk about the relationship of popular culture, music, and art to social protest; the study of film and collective memory; and the history of death in America.


Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,