Joanna Radov '16, a double major in anthropology and sociology, was one of two winners of the 2015 Alice Drum Summer Research Award in Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies. In this story she reflects on her summer research.
In the summer of 2015, I paired an internship at the Paley Center for Media in New York City with doing fieldwork for my two honors theses. The first thesis is looking at the evolution of female sports broadcasters and how changes in the field have caused changes in perception. The second thesis examines how American fashion designers have represented black women in their advertising campaigns from 1970 to 2015.
The Paley Center for Media, formally the Museum for TV and Radio, draws upon its curatorial expertise, an international collection, and close relationships with the leaders of the media community; the Paley Center examines the intersections between media and society. I worked in the Research Services Department of the center. We maintained and updated the archive, and handled all research inquiries.
The Paley Center has a long history of research regarding media consumption and representation. As part of my internship, I was able to access a large archive and database that is not normally open to the public. The woman I worked under had been at the Paley Center for over 20 years and was able to provide many insights on the changing perceptions of TV and radio. While at the center I got to experience academia from a different perspective. Normally the one to pose research inquiries, I was now the recipient of them, so it was nice to be able to see what happens on the other side. I was able to see what topics were dominant in academic discourse regarding TV, radio, and media.
Along with the internship, I did my own research and conducted interviews for both projects. I was able to use the vast resources in the New York Public Library System and the FIT Museum to begin my analysis of fashion images. I also had the opportunity to connect with different executives in the fashion industry, as well as in the sports media industry, and create initial connections that I have been able to foster into more in-depth interviews and relationships now that I am back on campus. As I continue in my research over this year, I plan to return to New York City to conduct more interviews with fashion executives and to shadow different female sports broadcasters.
"Normally the one to pose research inquiries, I was now the recipient of them, so it was nice to be able to see what happens on the other side."