Roundtable: Television in the Age of Pandemic

  • Tuesday, February 9, 2021 / 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM (PST)
  • With Victoria E. Johnson, Reece Peck, Samantha Sheppard & Kristen Warner

This roundtable is part of the Carsey-Wolf Center’s winter 2021 series “Media, Technology, and Politics under Pressure.” “Television in the Age of Pandemic” will reflect on changes to sports, news, and celebrity media in the wake of the challenges of the past year. How has television remained a crucial site for the deliberation over questions of community, racial justice, and protest? How has the demand for social justice been conducted under extreme conditions of populist nationalism, resurgent white supremacy, and social isolation? What has changed in news, sports, and celebrity programming over the past year?

The roundtable featured Victoria E. Johnson (UC Irvine), Reece Peck (College of Staten Island, CUNY), Samantha Sheppard (Cornell University), and Kristen Warner (University of Alabama), and was moderated by Carsey-Wolf Center director Patrice Petro.

Panelists have created a file of common readings in preparation for this discussion, which is available here. Audience members are invited to review these documents in advance if they choose.

(Image: Martin Meissner, The New York Times)


v johnson

Victoria E. Johnson (UC Irvine)

Victoria E. Johnson is Professor of Film and Media Studies and African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Her scholarship focuses on U.S. television history, sports media, and the media industries through the lenses of critical race theory and cultural geography. Her Heartland TV: Prime Time Television and the Struggle for U.S. Identity was awarded the Society for Cinema Studies’ Katherine Singer Kovács Book Prize (2009). Her Sports TV is forthcoming with Routledge in May 2021.


Reece Peck (College of Staten Island, CUNY)

Reece Peck is an Associate Professor at the Department of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. He is the author of Fox Populism: Branding Conservatism as Working Class (Cambridge, 2019). His research engages the media dimension of the political right and specifically examines how conservative news outlets have used tabloid media styles and populist political rhetoric to reconfigure the meaning of social class in the United States. He also provides commentary on television and politics for news outlets such as the Washington PostColumbia Journalism Review and New York Magazine.​


Samantha Sheppard (Cornell University)

Samantha N. Sheppard is the Mary Armstrong Meduski ’80 Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University. Her work examines issues of race, gender, and representation in film, television, and digital media. She is the author of Sporting Blackness: Race, Embodiment, and Critical Muscle Memory on Screen (University of California, 2020) and the co-editor of Sporting Realities: Critical Readings on the Sports Documentary (University of Nebraska, 2020) and From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry (University of Mississippi, 2016).


Kristen Warner (University of Alabama)

Kristen J. Warner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism and Creative Media at The University of Alabama. She is the author of The Cultural Politics of Colorblind TV Casting (2015). Warner centers her research around the media industries, race, representation, and creative labor.

Patrice Petro, the Dick Wolf Director of the Carsey-Wolf Center, appears against a background of green leaves and pink flowers. She has long black hair and is smiling.

Moderator Patrice Petro

Patrice Petro is Professor of Film and Media Studies, Dick Wolf Director of the Carsey-Wolf Center, and Presidential Chair in Media Studies. She is the author, editor, and co-editor of thirteen books, including The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Gender (with Kristin Hole, Dijana Jelaca, and E. Ann Kaplan, 2017), Teaching Film (2012), Idols of Modernity: Movie Stars of the 1920s (2010), Rethinking Global Security: Media, Popular Culture, and the “War on Terror” (2006), and Aftershocks of the New: Feminism and Film History (2002).

This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center.

Media, Technology, and Politics Under Pressure

As part of the Carsey-Wolf Center’s commitment to groundbreaking research in Film and Media Studies, we will sponsor a series of three virtual roundtables in winter 2021 under the rubric “Media, Technology, and Politics under Pressure.” For the other workshops in this series, please visit this page. Participants will explore the past, present, and future of media in the wake of the anxieties and possibilities of our current moment. A number of key questions will guide our discussions. What possibilities, responsibilities, and obligations gather around film and media study in a historical moment defined by the pressures of racism, the global health pandemic, and subsequent challenges to notions of community, belonging, and purpose? How might we better understand our current time by reflecting on the past, present, and future of media, including cinema, television, and wireless technologies?