Debra Merskin

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Associate Professor
236 Allen Hall
(541) 346-4189


Media Studies, Communication Theory & Criticism, Ethics & Persuasion, Media and Diversity, Native Americans and Media, Nature and Media, Media and Animals


PhD, Syracuse University, 1993

MA, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2010
MLA, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, 1989
BA, University of South Florida, Tampa, 1983


Debra Merskin has professional experience in advertising, having worked for Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt and at W.B. Doner & a media buyer and Media Director. Her first PhD is in public communication from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University and she recently completed coursework toward second PhD in Depth Psychology with an emphasis on ecological psychology.


Merskin’s interests focus on the representation of marginalized groups  in media content on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, and species. Her theoretical focus is representational ethics. Merskin’s research appears in several journals, including Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, Action Research, Sex Roles, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, American Behavioral Scientist,  Journal of Communication Inquiry, Feminist Media Studies, and the Howard Journal of Communication.  Her first book, Media, Minorities, and Meaning: A Critical Introduction (Peter Lang, 2010) is an examination of how American mass media, including advertising, presents Otherness—anyone or anything constructed as different from an established norm—in terms of gender, race, sex, disabilities, and other markers of difference. Merskin's second book, Sexing the Media: How and Why We Do It, explores how and why media, and other social institutions, use sex and sexuality (to advance economic and ideological interests. Her third book will explore the intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, and species through an examination of the representations of animals in media.