Laurie J Ouellette

Laurie J Ouellette

Laurie Ouellette works in the areas of critical media and cultural studies.  Her recent book examines television as a technology of self-shaping and popular citizenship, drawing from theories of governmentality (inspired by the late work of Michel Foucault) to address the civic and pedagogical dimensions of reality entertainment in the context of neoliberalism and enterprise culture.   Her interests include television studies (especially documentary and reality TV), social and political theory, consumer culture, media and citizenship, media history and feminist studies of media and culture.

She is co-author (with James Hay) of Better Living Through Reality TV:  Television and Post-Welfare Citizenship (Blackwell, 2008) and author of Viewers Like You?  How Public TV Failed the People (Columbia University Press, 2002).  She is also co-editor (with Susan Murray) of Reality TV:  Remaking Television Culture (NYU Press, 2004 and 2009, 2nd edition).

Professor Ouellette's scholarship has appeared in a range of scholarly journals, including Cultural Studies; Media, Culture & Society; Television and New Media; Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies; Communication Review; Velvet Light Trap; Journal of Popular Film and Television; and Afterimage.  She has contributed to number of anthologies including Feminist Television Criticism; Gender, Class and Race in Media; Television Studies Reader; Beyond Primetime: Television Programming in the Post-Network Era; Critical Cultural Policy Reader; Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times; Imagining Legality: Where Law Meets Popular Culture; and Critical Visions in Film Theory.

She is a frequent commentator on the politics of television and media for local and national media, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Associated Press, WCCO TV, Public Radio International, and National Public Radio. She was a columnist for the online television criticism journal Flow (  2006-2007, and is the Vice Chair of the International Communication Association's Philosophy of Communication Division.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: Communication, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1998.
  • M.A.: Media Studies, New School for Social Research, 1993.


  • Television Studies
  • Documentary and Reality TV
  • Media and Citizenship
  • Media and Consumer Culture
  • Media Historiography
  • Feminist Media and Cultural Studies
Courses Taught
  • Reality TV: History, Culture and Economics
  • Critical Television Studies
  • Media and Consumer Culture
  • Media Historiography
  • Critical Media Studies: Theory and Method
  • Foucault, Media and Cultural Studies
  • Introduction to Electronic Media
  • Gender and Television
  • Television Genres: The Sitcom