Dr. Hector Amaya is a professor of communication in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Prior to joining Annenberg, Dr. Amaya was a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia and the past Chair of the UVA’s Department of Media Studies. He is a past member of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at Princeton, NJ in the School of Social Science.
Dr. Amaya was born and raised in Mexico and began his education at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Mexico City, Mexico). After completing a master’s in communication studies at the University of Calgary (Canada), Dr. Amaya continued on with a PhD in radio, television and film at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Amaya’s research, writing, and teaching engage with the areas of globalization, Latin American media, comparative media studies, immigration, and Latinas/os media studies. His most recent work, Trafficking: Narcoculture in Mexico and the United States (forthcoming with Duke University Press), analyzes the way Mexico’s criminal drug violence and new media technologies structure publicness in Mexico and the United States. The book examines how the drug violence in Mexico becomes historicized and made public; how it becomes talk, symbols, and meaning; how it is memorialized in expressive culture like songs and blogs; and how it is embedded in narratives of institutions and practices, which give violence philosophical power, temporality, and specificity.
His previous book, Citizenship Excess: Latinas/os, Media and the Nation (NYU Press), proposes a new way of theorizing U.S. citizenship that can better accommodate the lived political and media realities of Latinas/os. In this project, Dr. Amaya takes a multidisciplinary approach to citizenship that links contemporary nativism in politics and in media to a nation-centric way of imagining society. Dr. Amaya’s first book, Screening Cuba: Film Criticism as Political Performance During the Cold War (Sept. 2010, University of Illinois Press), is a comparative study of film reception of Cuban film, cultural criticism, and citizenship in Cuba and the USA from the 1960s to 1985.