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Claire Sisco King

Associate Professor

Claire Sisco King is Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Chair of the Cinema and Media Arts program. She is a scholar of media and visual culture, with a particular emphasis on the study of gender and sexuality. Her newest book, Mapping the Stars: Celebrity, Metonymy, and the Networked Politics of Identity (The Ohio State University Press, 2023), shows how close analysis of the complex and sometimes contradictory forms of celebrity culture can challenge dominant ideas about selfhood. King considers three stars with popular and controversial personas: Norman Rockwell, Will Smith, and Kim Kardashian. Working in very different contexts and with very different public images, these figures nonetheless share a consistent, if not conspicuous, interest in celebrity as a construct. Offering intertextual and metonymic readings of their public images across such sites as movie posters, magazines, cinema, and social media, King argues that these stars’ self-reflexive attention to the processes by which celebrity is created and constrained creates opportunities for reframing public discourse about what it means to be famous and what it means to be a person. Her first book, Washed in Blood: Male Sacrifice, Trauma, and the Cinema (Rutgers University, 2011), which was named an Outstanding Book of the Year in 2013 by Critical Cultural Studies division of the National Communication Association, addresses the intersections between cinematic violence, masculinity, and discourses of civic identity. Her work has been published in numerous journals in the fields of communication and media studies, and she is currently writing a new book on celebrity culture, gender, and race. King is a past Editor of Women’s Studies in Communication, a peer-reviewed, feminist journal addressing the relationships between communication and gender.