Dr. Carrie Teresa, assistant professor in the communication and media studies department at Niagara University, discussed the background and process of writing her recently published book, “Looking at the Stars: Black Celebrity Journalism in Jim Crow America,” at the inaugural event in the “Faculty Book Launch Series,” Oct. 3, 2019.
“Looking at the Stars,” which explores the role the black press played in the development of celebrity journalism and culture, was published in June by the University of Nebraska Press. It is currently available at more than 200 libraries around the world.
In her book, Dr. Teresa argues that journalists and editors working for black-centered publications during the era of Jim Crow segregation framed celebrities as collective representations of the race, who were then used to symbolize the cultural value of artistic expression influenced by the black diaspora and to promote political activism through entertainment. This concept of celebrity as a tool in the fight against segregation is still evident today in the social conscience that many contemporary entertainers of color exhibit.
Dr. Teresa joined the faculty at Niagara University in 2014. Her research and teaching interests include journalism and mass communication history, memory studies, celebrity culture, race and representation, and gender studies. She has published research on black press coverage of Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion, in American Journalism, and received the American Journalism Historians Association Blanchard prize for her dissertation.
Dr. Teresa received a B.A. from Villanova University, an M.L.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. from Temple University.