Meet the professor: Vincent Doyle

Written on July 7, 2010 by Roberto Arribas in Arts & Humanities, Communication

Professor Vincent Doyle

     Could you tell us about your professional and academic experiences so far?

Every job I have held in my life, from the age of sixteen, has been related to communication and culture. I have been an usher in a performing arts center, a stage and television actor, a tour guide in various historical settings, a political activist, a radio talk show host, and a media and public relations professional working for the Canadian government. Although I enjoyed doing each of these things, I was always equally interested in asking questions about them. This curiosity led me to pursue graduate studies in communication, first at McGill University in Montreal, and subsequently at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where I wrote a dissertation about the media activism of the U.S. Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). 

     How and when did you get in touch with IE University?

My first academic job was in the department of Humanities and Media and Cultural Studies at Macalester College, a liberal-arts institution in St Paul, Minnesota. In the spring of 2008, I visited a friend who had left Minnesota to begin a job at a university in Madrid. Literally five days before my departure, an announcement advertising positions at IE University appeared in an academic newsletter to which I subscribe. I took this to mean that I should apply. I have never believed in fate, but the chain of events that led me to IE University makes me want to reconsider that position. I really do feel like I am “meant” to be here.    

     What course/courses do you teach? Why is this course/are these courses important for a student of Communication?

I teach Globalization, which takes a critical approach to understanding the ways in which the world’s cultures have become much more interconnected as a result of economic forces and the unprecedented growth of communication technologies. The approach I take emphasizes that communicating effectively in a world that is full of paradoxes and contradictions requires the ability to approach problems from multiple perspectives and to understand the complex interactions between the local and the global.

I also teach a course called Culture, Literature, Art, and Image, which explores the complexity of the relationship between representation and reality. We look at how representations do not simply hold up a mirror to reality but can be understood to construct how we understand ourselves and the world around us. Although the course is highly theoretical, it has many practical applications for better understanding how media is made, how it produces meaning, and how more innovative ways of making media can be developed.

     Could you give us three books, TV series, movies, you would recommend to a future communicator? Why?

Book: Roland Barthes, Mythologies. This book offers a fascinating look at the hidden meanings of everyday words, objects, and images. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how meanings are made and what they conceal in the process of appearing self-evident.

TV series: David Lynch and Mark Frost, “Twin Peaks.” This is perhaps the most innovative and subversive television series ever to reach a mass audience. Required viewing for anyone who has ever thought that television never offers anything original.

Movies: Jacques Demy, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. A bittersweet, beautifully stylized musical that employs all the possibilities of cinema, this film offers a master class in how to reinvent a medium by recombining old elements in new ways.

     Any other recommendation for freshmen students?

The best students tend to be the most voracious readers. Make space and time in your life to read about anything and everything that interests you.


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