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TreaAndrea Russworm

Associate Professor

photo of TreaAndrea Russworm

(413) 545-5514

W337 South College

Before joining the English Department at UMass in 2008, TreaAndrea M. Russworm earned her B.A. from Brown University and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Her areas of research and teaching specialization include: video games and new media, digital cultural studies, African American popular culture, digital humanities, comic books and visual representation, and postmodern and psychoanalytic theories.

Professor Russworm is currently working on a fourth book, a scholarly monograph, on race and technology.

In her first book, Blackness is Burning: Civil Rights, Popular Culture, and the Problem of Recognition Professor Russworm argues that humanizing, or trying to represent in narrative and popular culture that #BlackLivesMatter, has long been barely attainable and impossible to sustain cultural agenda. The book is one of the first to examine the ways race and psychological rhetoric collided in the public and popular culture of the civil rights era. In analyzing a range of media forms, including Sidney Poitier’s popular films, black mother and daughter family melodramas, Bill Cosby’s comedy routine and cartoon Fat Albert, pulpy black pimp narratives, and several aspects of post–civil rights black/American culture, Russworm identifies and problematizes the many ways in which psychoanalytic culture has functioned as a governing racial ideology that is built around a flawed understanding of trying to "recognize" the racial other as human.

Her other two books on popular media include the anticipated edited collections, Gaming Representation: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Games (co-edited with Jennifer Malkowski) and From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry (co-edited with Samantha Sheppard and Karen Bowdre). Russworm’s contribution to both books continues her critique of the humanizing impulse in post-civil rights representational culture, from video games and other digital media to popular films and television shows.

An experienced teacher in team-based learning (TBL) pedagogies, Professor Russworm is also the advisor for the New Media and Digital Humanities specialization and a person of contact for the interdisciplinary IT Minor (2016-2017)

Research Areas

  • 20th Century and Contemporary Literature
  • African, African American, & African Diaspora
  • American, Atlantic, & Hemispheric
  • American Literature
  • History of the Book
  • Critical Race and Ethnicity
  • Digital Humanities and Media
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Theory and Culture



Gaming Representation: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Games(Indiana University Press, 2017). 

Blackness is Burning: Civil Rights, Popular Culture, and the Problem of Recognition (Wayne State University Press, 2016). 

From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry (University of Mississippi Press, 2016). 

Articles and Chapters:

“Dystopian Blackness and the Limits of Racial Empathy in The Walking Dead and The Last of Us.” In Gaming Representation: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Games

“Identity, Representation, and Video Game Studies Beyond the Politics of the Image.” In Gaming Representation: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Games, co-written with Jennifer Malkowski. 

“Introduction: Media Studies has Ninety-Nine Problems…But Tyler Perry Ain’t One of Them?” In From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry. 

“‘Hey, Hey, Hey!’: Bill Cosby’s Fat Albert as Psychodynamic Postmodern Play” in Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences. Ed. Beretta Smith-Shomade (Rutgers University Press, 2013) 89–104. 

“The Hype Man as Racial Stereotype, Parody, and Ghost in Afro Samurai.” In Game On, Hollywood!: Essays on the Intersections of Video Games and Cinema. Eds. Gretchen Papazian and Joseph Sommers. (McFarland & Company, 2013) 169-182. 

“Video Game Walkthroughs as Social Media.” Cinema Journal. Teaching Media DossierVol. 1. Winter/Spring 2013. 

“Hip-hop.” In Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming. Ed. Mark J. P. Wolf. Vol. 1. (Greenwood, 2012) 290–293. 

Book Reviews and Online Publications: 

“Now Watching: Black Web Series and the Promised Land of New Media.” Flow 15.7 (2012). Web. 27 Feb. 2012. 

“‘We’re Grinding Like Everybody Else’: Race, Video Game Culture, and New Media Authorship.” Flow 15.4 (2011). Web. 7 Dec. 2011

Courses Recently Taught

The classes she teaches for the English Department, which are also open to other Five College area students, include:

ENG 593 Theorizing Video Games and New Media

ENG 302 Studies in New Media and Textuality

ENG 4994 IE Dystopian Games, Comics and Media

FFYS  Play and Video Games

ENG 893 The Psychoanalysis of Race

ENG 791  Major Texts in American Studies

ENG 270 American Identities

ENG 200 Intensive Literary Studies