Emily West

Emily West, Associate Professor
Associate Professor
N324 Integrative Learning Center
Spring 2018: on sabbatical
413 545-6345

My research interests are in the areas of promotional culture, media and cultural studies of health, qualitative research methods, and gender and performance. I'm the co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Advertising and Promotional Culture (Routledge, 2013), and my publications about consumer culture appear in Popular Communication, Feminist Media Studies, Journal of Consumer Culture, and International Journal of Cultural Studies. A collaborative project on American cheerleading has been published in Social Problems and Text & Performance Quarterly. My current research considers how health care is framed as a consumer issues, particularly in the United States in reform discourse.


PhD, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Courses Taught: 

Undergraduate: Visual Communication, Communication Inquiry, Consumer Culture, Media Audiences, Freedom of Expression.

Graduate: Qualitative Methods in Communication Research, Audience Research and Cultural Studies.


“Consumer Subjectivity and US Health Care Reform.” Health Communication, 29(30): 209-308.

With Laura Grindstaff. "Hegemonic Masculinity on the Sidelines of Sport." Sociology Compass, 5(10): 859–881, 2011.

“Reality Nations: An International Comparison of the Historical Reality Genre.” In Reality Television: Merging the Global and Local (ed. Amir Hetsroni), pp.259-277. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2010.

"A Taste for Greeting Cards: Distinction in a Denigrated Cultural Form." Journal of Consumer Culture, 10(3): 362-382, 2010.

"Expressing the Self through Sentiment: Working Theories of Authentic Communication in a Commercial Form." International Journal of Cultural Studies, 13(5): 451-469, 2010.

With Laura Grindstaff. "Hands on Hips, Smiles on Lips! Gender, Race, and the Performance of Spirit in Cheerleading." Text & Performance Quarterly, 30(2): 143-162, April 2010.

"Doing Gender Difference through Greeting Cards: The Construction of a Communication Gap in Marketing and Everyday Practice." Feminist Media Studies, 9(3): 285-299, 2009.

"Mass Producing the Personal: The Greeting Card Industry's Approach to Commercial Sentiment." Popular Communication, 6(4): 231-247, October 2008.


Advertising Education Foundation Visiting Professor Program, 2007.

Current Projects: 

My current research is on media and cultural studies of health. My focus is how health care is framed as a consumer issue in the United States; this research involves analysis of health care policy discourse as well as health care user perspectives and subjectivities. My article "Consumer subjectivity and US Healthcare Reform" appeared in Health Communication, and in 2014 I submitted an NSF grant titled "The Impact of Health Care Consumerism and the Consumer Frame on Health Care Policy Attitudes." In a separate project, I am examining non-fiction visual depictions of the end of life. I consider the ethics of these images, as well as how they speak to contemporary attitudes and policy stances on death and dying.

I am co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Advertising and Promotional Culture (Routledge, 2013) with Dr. Matthew McAllister. With close to thirty original chapter contributions from both established and emerging scholars, the volume provides historical and scholarly context for understanding transformations in advertising, marketing, and branding, with attention to audiences, texts, technologies, and institutions. My new research in the area of promotional culture focuses on the relationship between social media and consumer identities.