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Brent Malin studies media history, theory, and criticism with concentrations in cultural studies, critical theory, intellectual history, technology studies, and the rhetoric of inquiry. His research covers a range of contemporary and historical topics in order to understand the myriad ways in which people’s identities are constituted by and through the media.
Malin’s first book, American Masculinity under Clinton: Popular Media and the Nineties Crisis of Masculinity, explores conceptions of masculinity offered by a wide range of sources from the 1990s and early 21st century. Drawing together analyses of such popular culture examples as Friends, Titanic, and The Sopranos, and such political sources as Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, The Starr Report, and the debates surrounding September 11th, Malin illustrates how a rhetoric of masculine crisis has been used to support a range of economic, political, and cultural aims.
His second book, Feeling Mediated: A History of Media Technology and Emotion in America, investigates how changes in communication technology change how people think about emotion. Focusing primarily on the early 20th century U.S. and exploring such diverse technologies as radio and the psycho-galvanometer, this book demonstrates how a set of assumptions about emotion came to dominate popular and academic thinking about the media as well as how these assumptions continue to shape our understanding of communication.
Outside of these two books, Malin’s articles have appeared in such national and international journals as Media, Culture & Society, Technology & Culture, Communication Theory, Media History, New Media & Society, Journal of Social History, Explorations in Media Ecology, Communication, Culture, and Critique, and the Journal of Communication Inquiry. In addition to his teaching at Pitt, Malin has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at the University of Iowa, St. Olaf College, Allegheny College, and San Francisco State University.