Dr Mary D Vavrus

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Communication Studies
237 Ford Hall

224 Church Street

Dr. Vavrus' research interests include news media representations of gender, feminism, postfeminism, and the connections between media and the military. She is currently writing a book about gender, media, and militarism.

She is the author of Postfeminist News: Political Women in Media Culture, which won the NCA's 2003 Diamond Anniversary Award. This award recognizes the most outstanding scholarly book published during the previous two years. She is co-editor of a collection of essays, and her research has appeared in such journals as Critical Studies in Mass Communication, Political Communication, Feminist Media Studies, Communication Inquiry, Review of Communication, and Women's Studies in Communication. She also serves on the editorial boards and as referee for five scholarly journals.

Dr. Vavrus is also a member of the graduate faculty of the Critical Feminist and Sexuality Studies Studies program and the Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature Department. She teaches graduate courses including political economy of media culture, feminist media studies, qualitative methods in media studies, media and war, and feminist cultural studies and electoral politics.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

Curriculum Vitae


  • feminist theory
  • media studies
  • media postfeminism
  • mediated masculinity
  • political economy of media
  • media coverage of political women
  • gender and media
  • media activism
Courses Taught
  • COMM 8210: Media and War
  • COMM 8210: Advanced Feminist Media Studies
  • COMM 8210 - The Politics of Political Women in the News
  • COMM 8210 - Women in/and Media Culture
  • COMM 8210 - Qualitative Research Methods in Media Studies
  • COMM 5261 - Political Economy of Media Culture
  • COMM 4263 - Feminist Media Studies
  • COMM 5210: Critical Media Studies
  • COMM 3211 - Introduction to U.S. Electronic Media
  • COMM 1907/3110 - Media Literacy: Decoding Media Images and Messages
  • COMM 1907--Media and War
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Director of Graduate Studies: May, 2008
  • Member: Doctoral Education Committee, National Communication Association , 2008 - 2013
  • Member, Women's Studies Graduate Faculty, University of Minnesota:
  • Chair, American Studies Division, National Communication Association: 1998 - 2001
  • Member, International Communication Association:
  • Member, National Communication Association:


  • Motherhood in Media Today: Interview--Minnesota Public Radio, May 11, 2008
  • Marketing and Menstrual Drugs: Interview--salon.com, March, 2008
  • Anthony Nadler (2015). Special Issue: Critical Media Studies and the Future of News Debates. Communication Review, 18, 71-165. Download
  • Anthony Nadler (2015). Critical Voices in the Future of News Debates. Communication Review, 18, 71-81.
  • Vavrus, Mary D (2013). Lifetime's Army Wives or I Married the Media-Military-Industrial Complex. Women's Studies in Communication, 36, 92-112. Download
  • Vavrus, Mary D (2013). Marketing Militarism to Moms: News and Branding after September 11th. The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, VOlume 3: Content and Representation, 95-114. Download
  • Mic Checking Patriarchy. Vavrus, Mary, Editor, 2012.
  • Postfeminist Redux? : Vavrus, Mary, Review of Communication, 2012.
  • Unhitching from the post of postfeminism: Vavrus, Mary, Journal of Communication Inquiry, 2010.
  • Regulating the Postfeminist Pharmacy: Vavrus, Mary, Joshua Gunn, Governing the Female Body, eds. Lori Reed and Paula Saukko, 2010.
  • Opting Out Moms in the News: Selling New Traditionalism in the New Millennium: Vavrus, Mary, Feminist Media Studies, 7 47-63, 2007.
  • The Politics of NASCAR Dads: Branded Media Paternity: Vavrus, Mary, Critical Studies in Media Communication, 24 245-261, 2007.
  • Postfeminst News: Political Women in Media Culture. Vavrus, Mary, Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.
  • American Cultural Studies. Vavrus, Mary, Eds. C.A Warren & M.D. Vavrus, University of Illinois Press, 2002.
  • Domesticating patriarchy: Hegemonic masculinity and television's 'Mr. Mom'. Vavrus, Mary, 2002.
  • From Women of the Year to 'Soccer Moms': The Case of the Incredible Shrinking Women. Vavrus, Mary, 2000.
  • Putting Ally on Trial: Contesting Postfeminism in Popular Culture. Vavrus, Mary, 2000.
  • Working the Senate from the Outside In: A Case study in the Mediated Construction of a Feminist Political Campaign. Vavrus, Mary, 1998.
  • Diamond Anniversary Book Award, National Communication Association, November 2003
  • "Where the Sexual and the Electoral Meet: Television in the Living-Room Rolis," Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship, University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President for Research, 2001 - 2002
  • Research on Gender in Cultural and Media Studies Fellowship, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois, 1996
  • Departmental Fellowship, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois, 1995 - 1996
  • Special Project Grant, Women's Studies Department, Univeristy of Illinois, 1996