Castañeda, Mari

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Professor / Dept of Communication
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Digital Humanities
Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Film and Media Studies
Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Castañeda received her Ph.D. in Communication at UC San Diego (2000), but also studied with faculty in Ethnic Studies, Sociology, History and Compartive Literature. Consequently, she approaches research and teaching with an interdisciplinary, historical, and critical lens. She is currently a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and her research interests include the study of digital media and telecommunication policy, Latina/ethnic media studies, and global communications. Dr. Castañeda's work promotes "engaged scholarship" and aims to address inequality, power, community voices, and the role of intersectionalities in shaping media and cultural spaces.

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Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Publication
    Interview with Mari Castañeda
    (2014-01-01) Castañeda, Mari
    Latino representation in the media La representación de los/as latinos/as en los medios de comunicación Communication Professor Mari Castañeda, UMass-Amherst; Student Azul de Mendieta Profesora de comunicación Mari Castañeda, UMass-Amherst Estudiante Azul de Mendieta
  • Publication
    Television and its Impact on Latinx Communities
    (2018-01-01) Castañeda, Mari
    The chapter investigates the intersections of television with Latinx communities, and the ways in which the evolving televisual context is mediating diasporic translatinidades. It focuses on five areas: (1) the role of Latinas in television set manufacturing, (2) the representation of Latinos in mainstream television, (3) the rise of Spanish-language television, (4) the importance of telenovelas in global television, and (5) the emergence of TV streaming as new venues for translatinidades. Taken together, these five topics construct an ample canvas in which we can investigate television and how it reflects social, political, economic, and cultural lived experiences. Ultimately, the goal of this chapter is to investigate how television and its relationship with Latinx communities cannot be uniformly characterized as one static practice but must in fact be recognized as a multilayered and evolving formation that is culturally embedded as well as closely interconnected to market power.
  • Publication
    Applying Latina/o Critical Communication Theory to Anti-Blackness
    (2020-01-01) Castañeda, Mari
    The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has helped to call attention to longstanding racist attitudes and policing practices, using the tools of digital communication. While we often focus on its impact in the U.S., this movement has extended across the Americas in its call to fight anti-Blackness. Within North American Latinx communities, it has specifically provided a rallying point for Afro-Latinx individuals and communities who have long faced discrimination and racism, particularly within media. For instance, the selection of Ilia Calderon in November 2017 to replace María Elena Salinas after 36 years of co-anchoring with Jorge Ramos the national news program, Univision Noticias on the fifth largest network in the U.S., marked a historic change in Latinx media (Univision Communications Inc. Press Release, 2017). Univision’s hiring of Ilia Calderon by was very significant because she became the first Afro-Latina journalist to ever co-anchor a national evening news program on U.S. Spanish-language television, and the first person from Chocó, Colombia to achieve such prominence in North American Latinx media. Chocó is a coastal region in Colombia that is historically and dominantly Black, and an area that the rest of Colombia has generally treated with racist attitudes and stereotypes.
  • Publication
    The Real Housewives, gendered affluence, and the rise of the docusoap
    (2017-01-01) Brzencheck, Alison; Castañeda, Mari
    In this paper we position gendered affluence as a representational trend in dramatic comedies (e.g., Sex and the City [SATC]) and docusoaps (e.g., The Real Housewives [TRH]) that coalesces around themes like hyper-femininity, nouveau riche values, and conspicuous lifestyle. Through our analysis we suggest that institutional practices (identity politics, cybernetic commodification, and post-feminist technological interactivity) situated in a neoliberal context and a remediated environment enable the systematic reproduction of gendered affluence in the broader landscape of women’s television. The process of remediation is used as a lens to examine how the docusoap differs from (the immediacy of mediated self-performance) and resembles (the hypermediacy of mediated irony and post-feminist interactivity) the fictional portrayals of gendered affluence found in dramatic comedies like SATC. Our case analysis of TRH demonstrates the specific way non-fictional portrayals of gendered affluence are transforming genre (via an ethos of affluence and a consumerist ethic) and artfully maintaining the status quo in terms of gendered, raced, and classed intersections. Ultimately we argue that the docusoap is accomplishing this in a remediated environment that promotes a neoliberal agenda via affective engagement grounded in mediated self-performance and rational disengagement grounded in mediated irony.
  • Publication
    The Relevance of an Honors Education
    (2021-01-01) Castañeda, Mari
    In this moment of ongoing COVID-19, intensifying racial injustice, and deepening economic inequalities, it is more imperative than ever for an honors education to play a role in helping students see their research and learning as contributing to the common good. The strength of many honors programs is their orientation toward the liberal arts, and the deep history of this emphasis in fact places the honors academic experience in a unique position to investigate the vast changes facing our world. Therefore, as faculty and staff working closely with students in honors educational settings, we need to continuously reflect on how the purpose of an honors education needs to adapt in order to inspire our students to understand and engage seriously with today’s most pressing issues.