Deborah James holds a Ph.D. in Communication with a focus on emerging cross-platform documentary, the intersection between public memory and transnational lived experience, and women's production practices. She currently serves GSU as Associate Professor of Media Studies and Chairs the Center of Community Media Steering Committee. James is a 2019 National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) Faculty Fellow. She is a Part 107 certified FAA Small Unmanned Aircraft Remote Pilot and holds Open Water SCUBA certification with PADI.
Having completed her documentary BELGRADE LIVE (2018) James extended her research into matters pertaining to amateur media practice and the production of human experience of underwater life at a time of increased access to technology and social media and public awareness of climate change. Her current field work study of the Great Florida Reef and the coastal community of the Florida Keys examines the coral reef environment from a documentary film studies perspective to understand how amateur first-person documentary communicates the ways in which humans inhabit, interact with, and interpret the ocean. This new direction is influenced by her service as associate producer on 24 HOURS OF REALITY hosted by Al Gore, broadcast to 80 countries and watched by 93 million households in 2018. Her research emerges from her forthcoming publication, ‘Facebook for community, direct action and archive: Diaspora responses to the 2014 floods in the former Yugoslavia’ coming out in 2019.
Prior to this study, James conducted ongoing field research in Southeastern Europe exploring Belgrade's enduring creative energy, where the cultural underground meets the post-industrial city. Her interactive documentary work, (RE)ACTIVE CITIES, was chosen for a Central European University's summer 2015 incubator program. Her research is published in Feminist Media Studies, Journal of Communication, and Studies in Documentary Film.
Deborah James Curriculum Vitae
Ph.D. Communication, Wayne
State University, 2011
M.A. Media Studies, New
School for Social Research, 2003
B.A. Honors Fine Arts and
Art History, University of Guelph, 1999
(*writing as D. James Smith)
James, D. (2015). Drawn out of the gutters: Nina Bunjevac's Fatherland, A collaborative memory. Feminist Media Studies. (15)3. 1-6. DOI: 10.1080/14680777.2015.1031966
James, D. (2013). Social
networking Sarajevo Roses: Digital representations of post-conflict civil life
in the (former) Yugoslavia. Submitted to Journal
of Communication (JOC). Digital early view. DOI: 10.1111/jcom.12057
Ali, S.,James, D., and Vultee, F. (2013). Strike a pose: Comparing Associated Press and
UNICEF visual representations of the children of Darfur. African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review. (3)1.
D. J. (2009), Big-eyed, wide-eyed, sad-eyed children: Constructing the
humanitarian space in social justice documentaries. Studies in DocumentaryFilm. (3)2. 159–175.
James, D. (2019). Facebook for community, direct action and archive: Diaspora responses to the 2014 floods in the former Yugoslavia. In R. Tsagarousianou and J. Retis (Eds.) The Handbook of Diasporas, Media and Culture. Wiley-Blackwell and IAMCR.
James, D. (2012). What
it takes to screen her film: A feminist study of UNESCO's audiovisual E-Platform. In Gajjala, R. (Ed.). Where Have All the Cyberfeminists Gone?
New York: Peter Lang.
*Smith, D. J.
(2008), Film review: Shake hands with
the devil. Scope: An Online
Journal of Film & TV Studies.11.
*Smith, D. J. (2007), Catfight in My Name is Earl as a site of
feminist resistance. Flow: A Critical
Forum on Television and Media Culture. 5:9. Available at <
Honors and Awards
Faculty Fellow. National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) 2019
Sabbatical. Project: Divers who document: Restoring found footage to place, 2019
experience, and story in the Florida Keys
State of Illinois Show Case Panel Award. Artmaking and/as/is Resilience? Illinois Com &
Theatre Association. Convention, Peoria, Ill 2017
Top Panel Award: Shared with P. Santoro and MST 4990 students. Illinois Com & Theatre Assoc. Convention, Lisle, Ill 2016
Excellence Award 2014 – 2015
Provost's High Impact Practices Course Dev'p Grant (Integrating drone technology into media studies), GSU 2013 – 2014
Provost's High Impact Practices Course
Development Grant, GSU 2013 – 2014
GSU Research Grant. Fieldwork in Serbia 2013
Intellectual Life Grant. Media Studies and Social Work
connect through experience: A cross
discipline transmedia collaboration2013
Intellectual Life Grant. Women make media:
Collaboration as public memory 2013
Research Grant. Fieldwork
in Montenegro 2012 –
Paper award. ICA,
Global Communication and Social Change 2011
Top Graduate Student Paper award. ICA,Global Com. and Social Change2011
2nd, Graduate School Research Exhibition, (with
Sadaf Ali), Humanities Div.,WSU 2011
Humanities Center Doctoral Dissertation
Fellowship, WSU 2010 –
James, D. The gin-clear waters of the Florida Keys: Regarding underwater life in amateur first-person documentary. Conference on Communication and Environment, Vancouver, B.C.
James, D. (2018). *Old current: The social construction of ex-Yugoslavia on YouTube. National Communication Association Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.
James, D. (2017). *Facebook for community, direct action and archive: Diaspora responses to the 2014 floods in the Balkans. National Communication Association Conference, Dallas, TX.
James, D. (2017). *Hulu, Netflix and Atwood: Video on Demand in Troubled Times. National Communication Association Conference, Dallas, TX.
Santoro, P., James, D. Panel Co-Chairs. (2016) Illinois Theatre and Communication Association Convention, Naperville, IL.
James, D. and D. Erich. (2015). (RE)ACTIVE CITIES. Central European University (Competitive merit-based project incubator). The City Uploaded: Urban intersections of film and new media. Budapest, Hungary. Beta Project Site: http://beograd.derichdjames.com/
James, D. and D. Erich. (2015). Featured Speaker / Video installation. Sitting on two stools | ne možeš sjediti na dvije stolice, BiH Diasporic Youth Conference, Chicago, IL.
James, D. (2014). Old current: The social construction of ex-Yugoslavia on YouTube. MWWHA Conference. University Park, IL.
James, D. (2014). All aboard the Ladies Special: A critical analysis of a documentary about a women-only commuter train in India. ICA Conference. Seattle, WA.
D. (2013). sitting on two stools | ne možeš sjediti na dvije stolice: (trans.
You cannot sit on two stools): Networked between home and the homeland. ICA
Conference. London, England.
James, D. (2013). PROVOKE Panel: Disruption and subversion in the
digital: Women perform public memory. ICA Conference. London, England.
James D., Erich, D. (2013). sitting on two stools |
ne možeš sediti na dve stolice: Digital tactics for negotiating between home
and homeland. Documentary Now! Conference. London, England.
James, D. (2013). Disruption and subversion in the digital: Women
perform public memory. Gender Matters Conference, GSU / DePaul U, Chicago.
James, D. (2012). The Container Project: Defining locally relevant community media production practice. International Communication Association (ICA) Conference, Phoenix.
James, D. (2012). Control and access embedded in the code: Screening communities of social justice media content and practice. Society of Cinema and Media Studies Conference. Boston.
Ali, S., James, D. (2012). Comparing AP images of children in Kosovo vs. Rwanda. Central States Communication Association Conference. Cleveland.
James, D. (2011).Social networking Sarajevo Roses: Digital representations of post-conflict civil life in the (former) Yugoslavia. Top Paper:Global & Com Social Change Division. ICA Conf. Boston.
James, D. (2011). International development documentaries: Institutional representations of women, work, and community. Feminist Scholarship Division. ICA Conference. Boston.
James, D. (2011). Producing Media, producing citizenship: The practice of digitizing the experience of everyday life in Jamaica.Society of Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference. New Orleans.
Ali, S., James, D. (2011). Photojournalism in
Conflict: A Comparison of Associated Press Images of Children in Kosovo versus
Rwanda. WSU Graduate School Research Exhibition. 2nd Prize.
(2010). Developing citizenship from the margins: Digitizing
the experience of the everyday as political action in Jamaica. DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social
Media. U of Toronto.
Ali, S., James, D. (2010).Strike a pose series:
An examination of children in conflict through photojournalism. At WSU Dept. of
Comm. Research Colloquium.
Ali, S., James, D., and Vultee, F. (2010). Strike a Pose: Comparing Associated Press and UNICEF Visual Representations. AEJMC Annual Conference, Denver. Presented by Sadaf Ali.
James, D. (2008).
Big-eyed, wide-eyed, sad-eyed children: Western consumption of images of
distant places. Media, Communication and Humanity Conference. London
School of Economics.
James, D. (2008). The
politics of global warming: Media, morality, and the culture of green in news
documentaries. Society of Cinema and Media Studies Conference. Philadelphia.
- Amateur first-person video practices
- Interactive documentary
- Environmental media
- Social construction of public memory
- Post conflict media in the
- Emerging digital cultures
in post conflict regions
- Social construction of
- Women's independent
- Media, politics, and human
- Transnational media
industries and production practices
Chair, Center for Community Media Steering Committee 2018 –
NCA Environmental Communication: Conference Paper Reviewer 2018
NCA Environmental Communication: Teaching Committee 2017 –
Writing Across Curriculum Committee 2017 –
GNSX Program 2016 – 18
CASLO / General Education Council 2015 – 18
Motion Picture/Television Program, College of DuPage 2014
Animal Care and Use Committee, GSU 2014 – 18
Academic Coordinator: Media Studies Program 2013 – 17
- Ad hoc peer-reviewer. Journal of Communication 2013
- Ad hoc peer-reviewer. Special Issue of Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture 2013
- Ad hoc
peer-reviewer. PLATFORM: Journal of Media
and Communication 2013
- Faculty Advisor, Phoenix Student Newspaper, GSU 2013
Classification Committee, GSU 2013
Member: Gender Matters Conference 2014 2013
Member, AC&U Institute on High-Impact Practices, U of Oregon 2012
B.A. Media Studies, New Unit of Study Committee, GSU 2011 –
Director, Chicago Public Media, Community Advisory Council 2014 – 2015
President, Chicago Public Media, Community Advisory Council 2012 - 2013
- National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) 2019 –
- International Environmental Communication Association (IECA) 2018 –
- National Association of Television Arts Society (NATAS) Chicago/Midwest Chapter 2018 –
- National Communication Association (NCA) 2016 –
- International Communication Association (ICA) 2011 – 2015
Selected Professional Credits
Interview with Boris Vlastelica of
alternative rock band Repetitor, Belgrade, Serbia on their North American
debut on FM radio. HOTEL INTERNATIONAL (Aired 08/16/13)
producer, research, pre-interview. 15 min.
|Interview with Nina Bunjevac, This is Radio Clash -
HOTEL INTERNATIONALE Joe Strummer Special (Aired 12/22/12)|| |
producer. 15 min.
from at http://cjamlog3.cjam.ca/test-program-guid/
OUT & ABOUT. A regional series on the arts in Chicago. Aired Fall 2013,
on Comcast channel 16.
artist/On air guest. 30 min. Focusing on opening of Sitting on two Stools | You cannot sit on
two stools – video installation.
COMMEMORATING WALTER P. REUTHER, UNION ACTIVIST – Aired December 2009,
Detroit Channel 20. 2010 Emmy winner.
and Wayne State
photo/video researcher. 30 min. youth-focused doc posted to companion
website for interactive video sharing: