The Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication's Thomas Jay Harris Distinguished Lecture for 2016-2017 was held on Nov. 17-18, and featured Silvio R. Waisbord, a professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University.
Kent Wilkinson, director of CoMC's Harris Institute for Hispanic & International Communication, described Waisbord—who has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Communication and the International Journal of Press/Politics—as a leading researcher of political communication in Latin America.
“As the editor-in-chief of two major journals, he has a broad understanding of media and communication, as was reflected in two lectures he gave during his visit,” Wilkinson said. “Dean David Perlmutter and I were also eager for Dr. Waisbord to interact with our faculty and Ph.D. students regarding research and academic publishing, as they are critical to advancing quality scholarship as well as the research mission of the college and university.”
Magdalena Saldaña, a former Assistant director of the Harris Institute, said she found Waisbord's lecture to the faculty both fascinating and challenging at the same time.
“Dr. Waisbord's lecture was enlightening,” Saldaña said. “As communication scholars, we are constantly thinking of new theories and methods to develop our research, but he pushed us beyond that. He suggested new approaches to achieve a post-disciplinary status, integrating multiple communication perspectives to understand an issue as opposed to increased fragmentation of the field.”
Saldaña said she also enjoyed Waisbord's lecture for graduate students because it highlighted some of the key aspects of what he referred to as “broken communication.”
“He focused on the study of communication across differences, looking at people's inability and disinterest to engage with those who think differently,” Saldaña said. “I believe that's particularly important now, when our society is divided by political and social issues. I think our students largely benefited from Dr. Waisbord's visit and his provocative thoughts.”
Alicia Miklos, an assistant professor in Spanish at Texas Tech, said that because of her background in cultural studies, she found Waisbord's advice on breaking communication barriers incredibly insightful.
“Dr. Waisbord's innovative lecture engaged with pressing theoretical issues for those who approach the study of communications from within or outside the discipline ‘proper,'” Miklos said. “This was, in fact, the message of his talk: that it may be fruitful to question those very disciplinary borders.”
Waisbord has authored or edited 10 books, and is the author of more than 100 journal articles, book chapters and newspaper columns.
Read more college news.