The Rutgers University Board of Governors has conferred the title of Distinguished Professor, with tenure, to Associate Dean of Programs Dafna Lemish, effective July 1, 2019.
SC&I’s Dean Jonathan Potter said, “Dafna Lemish is one of those small number of scholars who not only contribute substantial and path-breaking research but help define an entire intellectual field. She has published foundational books and articles in that field as well as played a key role in editing and mentoring other researchers. Her work rate is prodigious, and she combines that with enormous warmth and continual good humor. She is the kind of scholar that the title Distinguished Professor is designed for; it fits her like a glove.”
Currently a Professor of Journalism and Media Studies, Lemish’s research interests include children and media, gender representations and identity construction, media literacy, qualitative methodologies, and feminist theory. She is also the founding editor of the Journal of Children and Media.
“Such an accomplishment is not achieved single-handedly - it requires institutional support, strong colleagues, and a supportive family,” Lemish said. “I am very grateful to the collegial and supportive environment of SC&I and look forward to continue to be a contributing member of this community for many years to come!”
Lemish has published numerous books, refereed journal articles, and book chapters. Most recently, in June 2019, Lemish and her co-author Jiwoo Park published the book “KakaoTalk and Facebook: Korean American Youth Constructing Hybrid Identities.” According to the publisher, Peter Lang, the book “explores the role smartphones play in the lives of Korean American youth as they explore their identities and navigate between fitting into their host society and their Korean heritage . . . ‘KakaoTalk and Facebook’ will be of great interest to scholars and educators of media and youth and those exploring how digital media have changed the nature of immigration processes in dramatic ways.”
Also, in June, 2019, Lemish and her co-authors Nelly Elias and Galit Nimrod published the paper “Their Ultimate Treat? Young Israeli Children’s Media Use Under their Grandparent’s Care” in Journal of Children and Media.
Coming out in July, 2019, in the Journal of Adolescence is the paper “When Parents are inconsistent: Parenting Style and Adolescent’s Involvement in Cyberbullying,” published by Lemish and her co-authors Idit Katz, Rinat Cohen, and Adi Arden.
Lemish recently published the book “Fear in Front of the Screen: Children’s Fears, Nightmares, and Thrills from TV.” She co-wrote the book with Maya Götz and Andrea Holler, both of the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI) based in Munich, Germany.
"It is important for parents and caregivers to remember that screen content is not just entertainment, but has significant meaning and influences on children and should be chosen carefully to be age-appropriate and to convey the values we believe in,” Lemish said about the book. “It also reinforced to me the notion that each child is an individual who is grounded in cultural contexts, and thus we cannot expect everyone to react the same way to the same content.”
In new research, Lemish and her co-author Dr. Colleen Russo Johnson, of the Center for Scholars and Storytellers, based out of UCLA and Ryerson University, found systematic gender inequality both within the content children watch on television, and behind the scenes in the industry where the content is created.
In a report they recently released, “The Landscape of Children’s Television in the U.S. and Canada,” written mostly in order to reach the professionals creating children’s content for television, Dafna and Johnson found startling new data revealing gender inequality in both the content children watch – and are greatly influenced by – and in the industry creating the content.
Their research, assisted by SC&I doctoral student Diana Floegel and Dan Delmonaco, a SC&I Master of Information student , reveals that in television shows geared toward children aged two to 12, 64% of male characters are still dominant on the screen, particularly for non-human characters (72%) and female human characters were more racially diverse (46%) than male human characters (25%).
“The fact that female characters are more likely to be portrayed as persons of color suggests that some shows might be trying to ‘check two boxes’ with one casting,” Lemish and Johnson wrote in the report.
In December, 2017, Lemish published the book, “Beyond the Stereotypes? Images of Boys and Girls, and their Consequences.” Published by the Nordic Information Centre for Media and Communication Research (Nordicom), as a Clearinghouse Yearbook of 2017, it was co-edited by Lemish and Götz.
“The book shows how it is possible to present positive role models of boys and girls who break stereotypes and can be happy, popular, fulfill their dreams, be better people and live fuller lives of being in touch with their feelings, strengths and weaknesses,” Lemish said. “The media can offer alternative narratives that can empower both boys and girls to explore the entire range of emotions, cognitions and behaviors without being restricted because they happened to be born with one reproductive organ rather than another.”
To read more about Lemish, please see the following SC&I articles:
For more information about the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information (SC&I), click here.