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Joel Penney

Associate Professor, School of Communication and Media

B.S., Northwestern University
M.A., University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
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Dr. Joel Penney is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication and Media, specializing in new media, critical/cultural studies, and political communication and theory. His research focuses on the uses of participatory and digital media for social and political advocacy as well as the construction of collective identities. His new book, "Pop Culture, Politics, and the News: Entertainment Journalism in the Polarized Media Landscape," is now available from Oxford University Press.;#

Twitter: @professorpenney

Other recent Publications:

(2020) "‘It’s So Hard Not to be Funny in This Situation’: Memes and Humor in U.S. Youth Online Political Expression." Television & New Media, 21 (8), 791-806.

(2019) “It’s My Duty to Be Like ‘This Is Wrong’”: Youth Political Social Media Practices in the Trump Era.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 24 (6), 319-334.

(2017) "Social Media and Citizen Participation in “Official” and “Unofficial” Electoral Promotion: A Structural Analysis of the 2016 Bernie Sanders Digital Campaign." Journal of Communication, published early online, May 13, 2017. DOI: 10.1111/jcom.12300.

(2016) “Who Gets to Say #areyoubetteroff?: Promoted Hashtags and Bashtags in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election.” R. In Davis, R., Just, M., & Holtz-Bacha, C. (Eds.). Campaigning in 140 Characters or Less: Twitter and Elections around the World. London: Routledge.

(2016) “We Live in Public: Twitter and Self-Mediated Hyper-Visibility in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. R. In Rovisco, M. & Ong, J. (Eds.). Taking the Square: Mediated Dissent and Occupations of Public Space. New York: Rowman and Littlefield International.

(2016) “Motivations for Participating in Viral Politics: A Qualitative Case Study of Twitter Users and the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election,” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 22 (1), 71-87.

(2015) “Responding to Offending Images in the Digital Age: Censorious and Satirical Discourses in LGBT Media Activism,” Communication, Culture, and Critique 8 (2), 217-234.

(2015) “Social Media and Symbolic Action: Exploring Participation in the Red Equal Sign Profile Picture Campaign,” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 20 (1), 52-66.

(2014) “(Re)Tweeting in the Service of Protest: Digital Composition and Circulation in the Occupy Wall Street Movement.” (co-authored w/ Caroline Dadas) New Media & Society 16 (1), 74-90.


Areas of specialization:
digital media, social media, critical/cultural studies, political communication, social movements and advocacy, LGBT media representation, qualitative methods

Office Hours


2:30 pm - 4:30 pm