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Jack Bratich Promoted to Full Professor of Journalism and Media Studies
Bratich, who researches the intersection of popular culture and political culture, has been promoted by the Rutgers Board of Governors, effective July 1, 2021.
Bratich, who researches the intersection of popular culture and political culture, has been promoted by the Rutgers Board of Governors, effective July 1, 2021.

On April 14, 2021, the Rutgers University Board of Governors conferred the title of full professor with tenure to Jack Bratich, effective July 1, 2021. Bratich is a faculty member in SC&I’s Journalism and Media Studies Department.

“I am honored to be recognized for the full range of my efforts here at Rutgers—scholarship, teaching, and service. Lots of colleagues and mentors have been instrumental in getting me to this promotion. I’m happy to be able to pass that on now,” Bratich said.

 Bratich is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of cultural studies and critical media studies.  His work is cutting edge, relevant, and even prescient.  His research on conspiracy panics, for example, virtually foretold the internet-based social movement QAnon. 

"Jack Bratich represents the best of what Rutgers University has to offer: meaningful scholarship, stellar teaching, and dedicated service.  I am so proud to be his colleague." -- Professor and JMS Chair Amy Jordan 

Bratich served as chair of the Journalism and Media Studies Department from 2012-2016, re-envisioning the undergraduate curriculum and innovating the Masters in Mediated Communication's digital media track. Bratich has won top teaching awards at Rutgers University, including the Susman Award, and he has mentored dozens of students in the doctoral program. 

Professor Amy Jordan, chair of the Journalism and Media Studies Department, said "Jack Bratich represents the best of what Rutgers University has to offer: meaningful scholarship, stellar teaching, and dedicated service.  I am so proud to be his colleague."

Bratich is currently working on a book titled, “On Microfascism: Gender, War, and Death,” which provides a close look at the culture of resurgent fascism by examining its roots in archaic forms of power and masculinity. 

He initially became interested in his research, Bratich said, in the 1990s when he turned on the Oprah Winfrey show and saw a Harvard psychiatrist giving credence to people’s claims about alien abduction. With the simultaneous popularity of films like Oliver Stone’s JFK and TV shows like X-Files he began to see how pop culture was a site where struggles over expertise, populism, and fringe beliefs took place.

With former SC&I Professor of Communication Craig Scott, now at the University of Texas, Austin, Bratich recently published a new paper titled “Revealing Challenges of Teaching Secrecy” in the journal “Secrecy and Society” in a special issue dedicated to teaching about secrecy. The article provides teachers with advice on how to help their students build a foundation in secrecy literacy.

“Secrecy literacy,” Bratich said, in an article about the paper posted to the SC&I website titled “Uncoding Secrets: The Importance of Identifying and Managing Hidden Information,” is “a set of skills to detect and interpret the ways that invisible, hidden, and anonymous activities shape the more visible and nameable phenomena in our world.”

Last fall, the Rutgers School of Graduate Studies named Bratich the recipient of its “Excellence in Teaching Award.” According to the SGS, the award recognizes graduate faculty who have made significant contributions to graduate education at Rutgers University. Bratich was only one of two faculty members across the three Rutgers University campuses in Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark to receive this award last year. In an article SC&I wrote about his award, Dean for Programs Dafna Lemish said, “A unique quality of Jack as a teacher and role model for the students is his deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion values in everything he teaches and does!”

“I am honored to be recognized for the full range of my efforts here at Rutgers—scholarship, teaching, and service. Lots of colleagues and mentors have been instrumental in getting me to this promotion. I’m happy to be able to pass that on now,” Bratich said.

A few of Bratich’s recent publications include “Civil Society Must Be Defended: Misinformation, Moral Panics, and Wars of Restoration” published in the journal Communication, Culture & Critique on March 12, 2020. “In this article, I propose that we think of the recent concern over fake news, misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories as a moral panic,” Bratich wrote.

In another recent paper, “From Pick-Up Artists to Incels: Con(fidence) Games, Networked Misogyny, and the Failure of Neoliberalism,” co-authored by Bratich with Sarah Banet-Weiser (London School of Economics and Political Science), and published in the International Journal of Communication, Bratich and Banet-Weiser examine recent misogynistic mass violence. They argue that gendered violence is less about sex than about a failure of neoliberalism’s ability to cope with its failures, especially its promises of masculine self-confidence. The result is ordinary and spectacular violence (even war) against women in order to defend and restore patriarchal order.

Bratich is widely quoted in the media, including the following recent coverage:

Newsy, March 12, 2021: “Hollywood QAnon Portrayals Are Funny — But Also Dangerous?

The Daily Beast, March 8, 2021: "How Mota, The QAnon-Spouting Skate Brand, Became Roller Derby’s Big Villain.”

Rolling Stone, February 10, 2021: “How the Anti-Vaxxers Got Red-Pilled.”

CBS News Special, January 22, 2021 “America: Changed Forever.”

Newsweek, January 20, 2021: Joe Biden Inauguration is Reality Check That QAnon Zealots Will Refuse.”

SDPB radio show, January 14, 2021: "How QAnon Members Are Spurred To Violence & How To Spot Their Language Online."

Thom Hartmann Show, November 24, 2020: “QANON: Everything You Need to Know (w/ Dr. Jack Bratich)

Tapinto Westfield, September 3, 2020: “March Against Human Trafficking Held in Westfield Tied to QAnon

The Star-Ledger, December 29, 2019: “The 2010s: How we twerked, dabbed and covfefed our way through the decade | Opinion

Discover more about Bratich on the Rutgers School of Communication and Information website.

 

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