Jo Ellen Fair
Professor of African Cultural Studies
Fair's research is international, humanistic, and interdisciplinary. Thematically, it links journalism, media studies, visual cultures, popular culture, and social theory, addressing two primary concerns. The first is how images and ideas circulating through global popular culture are taken up, co-opted, localized, and used to open discourses about social change and new social practices for youth in urban centers of Africa. Her second concern is the relation between media and politics in Africa and elsewhere, including how journalists report on contentious national issues and how those who have experience political trauma remember and record it. She is currently working on projects examining depictions of the Liberian civil war and its aftermath as dystopias in West African and global popular culture.
Fair has been the recipient of the Vilas Associates Award and the Vilas Life Cycle Professorship and is the former director of the African Studies Program, Global Studies Program, the International Studies Major, and Chadbourne Residential College. She serves as director of the International Studies Major. She also has conducted journalism-training workshops in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Zambia, South Africa, and Namibia.
Fair earned her BA in mass communication from Purdue University in 1982 and her Ph.D. in mass communication from Indiana University in 1988.