Professor Emeritus of Communications
Professor Miller's teaching and research have mainly concerned new media and political culture. The latter includes work on the subjectivity of citizenship, which can be more affective and popular-cultural than overtly political, and the use of national culture in international relations, or soft power. Miller has also analyzed critically a form of Western foreign aid known as media assistance, which exports U.S. journalistic norms and practices as part of the "democratizing" process in post-communist, post-conflict, and post-colonial societies. And he has argued that mainstream American journalism should be understood as an example of cultural modernism. Some of his earliest research examined laws and policies relating to freedom of expression and nation-building across various media. This work includes international comparative studies of community radio, analysis of the commercialization of French radio and comparative investigations of US, French and Canadian electronic media. Miller has chaired an annual international conference on telecommunications policy research, and edited its proceedings, published by Elsevier.
Professor Miller has a long interest in media technology. He has participated in early multi-national research on the internet predecessor videotex, known in France as Minitel. His involvement in radio spans working in noncommercial FM during his student days to twice serving on our local NPR-affiliate’s board. Recently, he has been contributing to the development of mediatization theory with a focus on emerging digital media, exploring near-term future trends of increasingly intelligent environments characterized by dispersed media. This led him to historical research on the automobile as a case study of the mediatization of the built environment, from user-installed AM radios to autonomous vehicles. Focusing on cars raised interesting mobility-studies questions regarding media presentations of future means of transportation. They in turn took him to the exploration of the public history of automotive museums. These days his work focuses on these intriguing and timely intersections of media and the automobile in the realm of car culture.
Professor Miller's research has been supported by the Canadian government, the Whiting Foundation and IREX, among others. He has been a short-term fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Fulbright researcher in Paris, as well as a visiting professor at the MIT Media Lab and Goldsmiths, University of London. He is also a member of the graduate faculty of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His work has been published in such major periodicals as Media, Culture and Society, Journal of Communication, European Journal of Communication, Global Media and Communication, Journal of Transport History, Mobile Media and Communication, Nieman Reports and Cultural Science Journal. It has been translated into French, Spanish, Russian and Turkish.
Memberships include the European Communication Research and Education Association, the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility, the International Association for Media and Communication Research, and the Society for Social Studies of Science and the Society of Automotive Historians.
Every society offers public rituals, formal instruction and places of sacred memory whose purpose is to foster a common political identity like citizenship and nationalism. Some of these devices appear natural and timeless; others are obviously invented. Some exist in peaceful periods; others are meant to galvanize people for organized action and warfare. This course, whose focus is the contemporary US, introduces their analysis. Students will lead the discussion of readings, write a couple of brief essays and present a final project.
Most media - a book as well as a smartphone - are mobile. And mobility increasingly involves media: think GPS and real time bus schedules. Not surprisingly, the previously separate fields of media studies and mobility studies are becoming frequent collaborators. This course will explore this exciting new interdisciplinary area. Our focus will be on such media/mobility examples as wearable media, geomedia (GPS), travel, autonomous and shared vehicles. Students will design and carry out a semester-long project that applies theoretical knowledge to some practical or policy-oriented matter. This might involve, for example, a study of the Five College bus system or the management of traffic flows at a sports venue or observation of airport behavior.