Sociology Prof. Awarded 2021 Piskor Lectureship | St. Lawrence University

Sociology Prof. Awarded 2021 Piskor Lectureship

Associate Professor of Sociology Stephen Barnard has been awarded St. Lawrence University’s prestigious 2021 Frank P. Piskor Faculty Lectureship. The position includes research funding for a scholarly project and a public lecture to be held in the spring semester.

Established in 1980, the Frank P. Piskor Faculty Lectureship was designed to support and encourage scholarship and creative work and to give faculty the opportunity to share their work with the academic community. Barnard's project, titled “Hacking Hybrid Media: Power, Politics, and Problematic Information in American Media,” critically examines some of the greatest and most prescient challenges to deliberative democracy—those posed by the growing prominence of problematic information.

"[The project] dissects how media and communication technologies combine with practices in social contexts to reshape the public sphere, with an emphasis on the role publishers, platforms, propagandists, and publics play in the transmission of information, manipulation of meaning, and commanding of attention," writes Barnard. "More specifically, the research examines some of the nuances of media practices and excavates these materials to unearth a more thorough understanding of the practical and theoretical dynamics of media power."

Barnard recently had a book he co-authored, All Media are Social - Sociological Perspectives on Mass Mediapublished. His first book, Citizens at the Gates: Twitter, Networked Publics, and the Transformation of American Journalism, was published in 2018 and draws insights from nearly a decade of mixed-method research, analyzing Twitter’s role in the transformation of American journalism. 

Barnard enjoys tying his scholarship directly to his teachings. This project has already informed and been informed by the work done in his First-Year Seminar course on fake news, as well as his advanced topics seminar on media and power. He plans to use this opportunity to try to cultivate student collaborators to join the project, whether as research assistants or as independent (Honors and/or SYE project) researchers.

Barnard received his B.A. (2005), M.A. (2007) and Ph.D. (2012) at the University of Missouri and joined St. Lawrence's Department of Sociology as an assistant professor in 2014.