Collaborative on Communication & Culture

I lead a research Collaborative on Communication & Culture at Clemson University. Currently, the Collaborative operates through Clemson’s creative inquiry program with support from the Department of Communication.

What is the Collaborative?

I have been leading this collaborative since Spring 2020. Our goal is to foster dynamic, collaborative research within the Department of Communication and across campus that trains students in critically engaging issues facing South Carolina and disseminating research findings to the public.

This Collaborative is designed support Clemson’s land-grant mission and CBSHS’s goal to build people and communities by fostering collaboration between students and departments performing cutting-edge cultural criticism. Cultural criticism entails committed and rigorous analysis that draws on a variety of research traditions. This interdisciplinary work aims to assess, advocate, and advance positive change in the communities and cultures in which we live. We draw on the projects and models of Cultural Studies for inspiration in our work.


Undergraduate students can enroll in a special section of COMM4970 each semester. Each semester, a new group of students develops, executes, and writes a complete research study as a team and under the direction of Dr. Gilmore. These projects may build off existing studies the Collaborative has already completed, or work on new projects of importance. Each semester, students help create an academic publication as well as a community-facing deliverable and present research at relevant university forums.

Graduate students are also welcome to perform research alongside myself or the undergraduate researchers. Some graduate students are able to participate in an independent study, titled Cultural Studies and Cultural Change, to learn about the projects, theories, and approaches of Cultural Studies while assisting with the weekly work of the Collaborative. They can also work with undergraduate researchers and receive authorship credit on the studies the Collaborative produces.

Research studies

The following studies come from collaborative work with students designed to explicitly research issues related to the cultural life of South Carolina residents. This work was performed as part of COMM3990 or COMM8990.

Gilmore, J.N. and Troutman, B. (2020). Articulating infrastructure to water: Agri-culture and Google’s South Carolina data center. International Journal of Cultural Studies

Gilmore, J.N., Troutman, B., Kenney, K., DePuy, M., Engel, J., Freed, K., Campbell, S., and Garrigan, S. (under review). Stuck in a cul-de-sac of care: Therapy Assistance Online and the remediation of mental health services.
A critical platform study of telepsychology services for undergraduate students at Clemson University. We assess the affordances and limitations of remediating counseling through digital platforms, and demonstrate the significant shortcomings of generalizing care through self-guided modules. I would be glad to provide a working copy of this paper upon request. It is currently under review.

Gilmore, J.N. and DuRant, M. (forthcoming from Surveillance and Society). Emergency infrastructure and locational extraction: Problematizing computer assisted dispatch systems as public good.
A study on how emergency response systems blur with surveillance through the monitoring, extraction, and storage of location data. Specifically focuses on Charleston, SC’s partnership with cloud-based dispatch system RapidDeploy. Demonstrates the limitations on current reporting about how data collection works and advocates for more precise reporting on the articulations between emergency response and data surveillance. I would be glad to provide a pre-print proof of this paper upon request. It is forthcoming.

Gilmore, J.N., Shipley, E., Freed, K., Morrow, D., and Painter, M. Making do with Zoom: Rearticulating college experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. (in preparation for submission)
An interview study on how undergraduate students navigated the educational and social experiences of education through the videoconferencing platform Zoom. We draw from Michel de Certeau’s notion of ‘making do’ in everyday life to analyze how participants frame Zoom as both a loss (of physical space) but also an opportunity to develop new habits and routines in the name of surviving and living well during a pandemic.

Gilmore, J.N., Hamer, M., Erazo, V., and Hayes, P. ‘It’s 1776, baby!’: Broadcasting revolutionary performance during the U.S. Capitol Riot. (in preparation for submission)
This article analyzes videos recorded and shared during the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol Riots, where supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol Building in an attempt to delay, if not overturn, certification of Joseph Biden’s presidential victory. We analyzed over fifteen hours’ worth of videos across seven different platforms and applications—Facebook, Twitter, Parler, Snapchat, DLive, Twith, and Perscope—and assessed them on the level of form and content to identify recurring recording strategies with mobile cameras as well as recurring tropes of costume and speech amongst participants. We use this cross-platform analysis to emphasize a media ecological approach to studying how far-right dissent presents itself as an overtly revolutionary performance, drawing on and repurposing nationalist and populist understandings of the U.S. Revolutionary and U.S. Civil Wars. We argue for a technocultural approach to analyzing these performances, positioning them as a choreography between human, camera, platform, and ideology.

Other research

Gilmore, J.N., Sierra-Rivera, J., Grumet, M., Beddingfield, S.,and Hayes, P. Dismantling white supremacy through pints of ice cream: Mapping corporate responses to #BLM, 2016-2020.
This discourse analysis examined how four different companies–Ben & Jerry’s, McDonald’s, Nike, and Pepsicrafted advertising and public relations that incorporated (if not co-opted) the language of Black Lives Matter. We consider the stakes of corporate “solidarity” in sociopolitical affairs, and how violence against black bodies becomes a means to promote consumer activism and commodify protest.

Annual Reports

Read our 2020 annual report, to learn more about our research studies and our accomplishments and plans.

Collaborative development

Currently, the Collaborative is in Phase one of its development. Here is our projected timeline for growth as we work over the coming decade to build a formal Center for Communication and Culture at Clemson University. If you would like to collaborate with us or join the work we are doing, please feel free to reach out. You can contact me at jngilmo [at] clemson [dot] edu.

Phase One: 2020-2021

Focusing on developing consistency in the work of undergraduate research teams, this phase is focused on producing research studies each semester and building the reputation of the Collaborative amongst undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Communication.

Phase two: 2021-2023

Once we have demonstrated viability with our publication record, we will begin pursuing external grants to fund research assistants and more large-scale research studies. As we pursue these grants, we will also network with our colleagues in other departments at Clemson University, as well as colleagues at other universities in the southeast and beyond. If you would like to partner with our collaborative on a grant, please let me know!

Phase three: 2023-2025

After developing a pipeline of grant funding to support and extend our larger research projects, we will begin the process of working with Clemson’s College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences and Department of Communication to establish a formal Center for Communication and Culture at Clemson University. This would create a more formal home by allowing us to transition from a “Collaborative” to a “Center,” giving us greater visibility to form interdepartmental and intercampus networks for our projects.

By 2026: Formal establishment of the Center for Communication and Culture