Both oral history and visual communication theorize how and why research should be disseminated to both an academic audience as well as the larger public via traditional and nontraditional means. This concept resonates with me, and it is a key part of my identity as a scholar.

I’m the solo author of one book and am the co-editor of four publications. I also have written numerous book chapters and journal articles.

For a complete listing of my publications, see my CV. Or find me on Medium.


Pin Up! The Subculture

Negotiating Agency, Representation, and Sexuality With Vintage Style

New York, Peter Lang, 2020.

Dangerous. Sexy. All-American—or rather All-World—Girl. Pin Up! The Subculture is the first book to explore the contemporary international subculture of pin up, women (and men) who embrace vintage style, but not vintage values.

This lavishly illustrated book includes interviews with more than fifty international pin ups and helps readers to understand how they use social media and personal interactions to navigate thorny issues such as racism, sexism, homophobia, sizeism, and other difficult topics. Ryan demonstrates how even within subcultures, identity is far from homogeneous. Pin ups use the safety of their shared subcultural values to advocate for social and political change.

A fascinating combination of cultural history, media studies, and oral history, Pin Up! The Subculture is the story about how a subculture is subverting and reviving an historic aesthetic for the twenty-first century.

Winner: 2021 Diane S. Hope Book of the Year Award, Visual Communication Division, National Communication Association

Edited Collections

Interactive Documentary: Decolonizing Practice-Based Research

Co-editor: David Staton with editorial assistance from Tammy Matthews. New York and London, Routledge, 2022.

Interactive documentary is still an emerging field that eludes concise definitions or boundaries. Grounded in practice-based research, this collection seeks to expand the sometimes exclusionary field, giving voice to scholars and practitioners working outside the margins.

Editors Kathleen M. Ryan and David Staton have curated a collection of chapters written by a global cohort of scholars to explore the ways that interactive documentary as a field of study reveals an even broader reach and definition of humanistic inquiry itself. The contributors included here highlight how emerging digital technologies, collaborative approaches to storytelling, and conceptualizations of practice as research facilitate a deeper engagement with the humanistic inquiry at the center of documentary storytelling, while at the same time providing agency and voice to groups typically excluded from positions of authority within documentary and practice-based research, as a whole. This collection represents a key contribution to the important, and vocal, debates within the field about how to avoid replicating colonial practices and privileging.

This is an important book for practice-based researchers as well as advanced-level media and communication students studying documentary media practices, interactive storytelling, immersive media technologies, and digital methodologies.

Friends, Lovers, Co-Workers and Community: Everything I Know About Relationships I Learned from Television

Co-editors: Noah Jerome Springer, Deborah A. Macey, and Mary Erickson. New York, Lexington Books, 2016.

Friends, Lovers, Co-Workers, and Community analyzes how television narratives form the first decade of the twenty-first century are powerful socializing agents which both define and limit the types of acceptable interpersonal relationships between co-workers, friends, romantic partners, family members, communities, and nations. This book is written by a diverse group of scholars who used a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches to interrogate the ways through which television molds our vision of ourselves as individuals, ourselves as in relationships with others, and ourselves as a part of the world. Part of the Lexington Studies in Communication and Storytelling series.

How Television Shapes our Worldview: Media Representations of Social Trends and Change

Co-editors: Deborah A. Macey and Noah Jerome Springer. New York, Lexington Books, 2014.

Over the last half of the twentieth century, television has become the predominant medium through which the public accesses information about the world. Through the news, situation comedies, police dramas, and commercials, we learn about the world around us, and our role within it. These genres, narratives, and cultural forms are not simply entertainment, but powerful socializing agents that show the world as we might never see it in real life. 

Television and the Self: Knowledge, Identity, and Media Representation

Co-editor: Deborah A. Macey. New York, Lexington Books, 2013.

Sitting prominently at the hearth of our homes, television serves as a voice of our modern time. Given our media-saturated society and television’s prominent voice and place in the home, it is likely we learn about our society and selves through these stories. These narratives are not simply entertainment, but powerful socializing agents that shape and reflect the world and our role in it. This edited collection’s rich and diverse research demonstrates how television plays an important role in negotiating self, and goes far beyond the treacly “very special” episodes found in family sit-coms in the 1980s. Instead, the authors show how television reflects our reality and helps us to sort out what it means to be a twenty-first-century man or woman.

Chapters and Journal Articles

Selected. For full list of publications please see my CV,

Refereed or Invited Book Chapters


Ryan, Kathleen M. (2021). “Silencing the Tongues of Angels? The Aesthetics of Destruction in Environmental Edens.” Media and Religion: The Global View. Nabil Echchaibi and Stewart Hoover, editors. Berlin: De Gruyter (invited).

Ryan, Kathleen M. (2020). “The Myth of the American Landscape: Photography and the Semiotics of Nature.” Handbook of Visual Communication, 2nd Edition. Sheree Josephson and James D. Kelly, editors. New York: Routledge (refereed).






Journal Articles (Blind Peer Review)

Ryan, Kathleen M. (2021). “‘That’s Not You.’ Reclaiming the ‘Real’ in Rosie the Riveter Re-appropriations.” MAST: The Journal of Media Art Study and Theory Volume 2, Number 1 (Special Issue “Total Screen: Why Baudrillard, Once Again?”), 172-180.

Ryan, Kathleen M. (2018) “Vertical Video: Rupturing the Aesthetic Paradigm.” Visual Communication 17-2, 245-261. Journal impact faction 0.767; five-year impact factor 1.045.

Ryan, Kathleen M. (2015) “Beyond Thick Dialogue: Oral History and the ‘Thickening’ of Multimedia Storytelling.” Visual Communication Quarterly 22-2 (Spring), 85-93.

Ryan, Kathleen M. (2014) “Military Life: Coordinating WWII Magazine Publicity by the U.S. Naval Women’s Reserve.” Journalism History 40:4 (Winter), 227-238.

Ryan, Kathleen M. (2014) “Uniform Matters: Fashion Design in World War II Women’s Recruitment.” The Journal of American Culture 34-4, 419-429.

Ryan, Kathleen M. (2012). “Augmenting the Voice of Oral History: One Step Beyond the Screen and Web.” Words and Silences: The Journal of the International Oral History Association 6:2 (December), 12-22.



Ryan, Kathleen M. and Staton, David (2020). “Oral History, Visual Ethnography, and Interactive Documentary.” The Routledge International Handbook of Ethnographic Film and Video. Phillip Vannini, editor. New York: Routledge (invited), 95-105.

Ryan, Kathleen M., McLaughlin, Lisa M. and Sholle, David. (2014). “Cultural Forms of TV: News and Public Affairs.” Handbook of Television Studies. Toby Miller, Manuel Alvarado, Milly Buonanno, and Herman Gray, editors. London, Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 269-286 (invited).

Ryan, Kathleen M. (2011) “From Propaganda to the Personal: WAVES, Memory, and the ‘Prick’ of the Photograph.” Oral History and Photography. Alexander Freund and Alistair Thomson, editors. New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 133-148 (refereed).



Ryan, Kathleen M. (2012) “‘Don’t Miss Your Great Opportunity’: Patriotism and Propaganda in World War II Recruitment Posters.” Visual Studies 27-3, 248-261 .

Ryan, Kathleen M. (2010) “Beyond Kinship: Constructing Family Through Military Service.” Oral History Forum d’histoire Orale (Special Issue: Remembering Family, Analyzing Home: Oral History and the Family).

Ryan, Kathleen M. and Mapaye, Joy Chavez. (2010). “Beyond ‘Anchorman.’ A Comparative Analysis of Race, Gender and Correspondent Roles in Network News.” Electronic News June: 4, 97-117.

Ryan, Kathleen M. (2009). “‘I Didn’t Do Anything Important’: A Pragmatist Analysis of the Oral History Interview.” Oral History Review (Spring), 25-44.

Ryan, Kathleen M. (2009) “The Performative Journalist: Strategies of Freelance Workers in American Television News.” Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism 10:5, 645-664. Journal impact factor 2.691; five-year impact factor 2.830.

Ryan, Kathleen M. (2007). “Transparent and mysterious: On Collecting, the Photograph, and Tomio Seike.” Journal for Cultural Research 11:4, 285-303.