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Jennifer McClearen

Department of Radio-Television-Film


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Jennifer McClearen is a feminist media scholar and visiting lecturer in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin. Her scholarly work examines the cultural production of difference in contemporary society with an emphasis on the mediation of gender, race, and sexuality. She researches how intersecting subjectivities are written onto active female bodies in popular media such as action films or sports. At UT Austin, she is teaching Media and Society, Screening Race, Gender and Media Culture, and Gender, Race, and Sexuality in Sports Media during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Dr. McClearen’s current book project, Branded Difference: Promoting Female Athletes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), examines the ways that the UFC produces representations of its female athletes throughout its mixed-martial arts (MMA) transmedia empire. She analyzes the UFC’s attempts to entice new fan demographics to the sport through representations of diverse female fighters as an economic strategy she calls “branded difference.” The book encourages readers to think beyond representation to consider what happens to difference when it becomes bottled as a desirable commodity. Her research can also be found in the International Journal of Communication, Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, New Formations: A Journal of Culture, Theory, and Politics, and in the edited collections Feminist Erasures: Challenging Backlash Culture and New Sporting Femininities: Embodied Politics in Postfeminist Times (forthcoming).

Dr. McClearen completed her Ph.D. in 2017 in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington where she was a dissertation fellow in the Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity, a fellow in the Simpson Center for the Humanities’ Certificate in Public Scholarship, and a teaching fellow in the Project in Interdisciplinary Pedagogy. Prior to joining the academy, she taught English in Spain, the Czech Republic, and Mexico and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco.