Jo Ellen Fair

Position title: Former International Studies Major Director and Professor Emerita of African Cultural Studies


Retired in Spring 2018. Please contact the International Studies Major office with questions.

Fair’s research is international, humanistic, and interdisciplinary. Thematically, it links journalism, media studies, visual cultures, popular culture, and social theory, addressing two primary concerns. The first is how images and ideas circulating through global popular culture are taken up, co-opted, localized, and used to open discourses about social change and new social practices for youth in urban centers of Africa. Her second concern is the relation between media and politics in Africa and elsewhere, including how journalists report on contentious national issues and how those who have experience political trauma remember and record it. She is currently working on projects examining depictions of the Liberian civil war and its aftermath as dystopias in West African and global popular culture.

Fair has been the recipient of the Vilas Associates Award and the Vilas Life Cycle Professorship and is the former director of the African Studies Program, Global Studies Program, the International Studies Major, and Chadbourne Residential College. She also has conducted journalism-training workshops in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Zambia, South Africa, and Namibia. Fair retired in Spring of 2018.