Faculty and Staff
Wesley Elizabeth Stevens
|Department:||School of Journalism and Mass Communications
College of Information and Communications
|Office:||School of Journalism and Mass Communications
800 Sumter Street, Room 124
Columbia, SC 29208
B.A., Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, Purdue University, Fort Wayne
B.A., Media and Public Communication, Purdue University, Fort Wayne
M.A., Professional Communication, Purdue University, Fort Wayne
Wesley Stevens' research focuses on the regulation of Black identity and its commodification through neoliberal discourses and consumer subjectivities. Her recent work examines the practice of blackfishing on Instagram and how social media influencers appropriate Black culture and aesthetics to build their brand and increase their following, rendering Black identity a lucrative commodity. Stevens is interested in how these consumer logics become accessible to individuals through digital platforms and are exacerbated by discriminatory algorithms. Her dissertation explores how Black influencers navigate the highly competitive and commercialized field of influencing, a space characterized by hypervisibility and a fraught politics of representation.
Stevens employs critical pedagogical practices in the classroom, adopting an intersectional perspective in the creation of her syllabi and through class discussions and assignments. She is invested in bridging the gap between theory and practice by utilizing both academic texts and the business practices of media industries in her course reading lists. Each semester her students’ final projects prioritize making what they have learned accessible to popular audiences by creatively leveraging digital platforms to do so.
- Second Place Paper Award, Lew Klein College Graduate Research Forum, Temple University
- Top Paper Award, Lew Klein College Graduate Research Forum, Temple University
- Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, Purdue University, Fort Wayne
Stevens enjoys her research almost as much as she loves having conversations about her favorite television shows (The Golden Girls, Black Sails, Steven Universe, and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, to name a few). Indulging in these shows — and the occasional Taco Bell run — keeps Wesley grounded on her academic journey.