Our Faculty

Andrea McDonnell

Chair, Department of English; Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies

Contact Information


Office Hours

Office: Administration Building, Room 434-A

Office hours: Wednesday, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.; Thursday, 12:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m., by appointment also


Ph.D., University of Michigan; B.A., Vassar College


Andrea McDonnell is a media scholar and author whose work examines the production, content, and audience reception of media texts that are produced for and consumed by women. Her work emphasizes the intersection of media technologies, audiences, and everyday life. Professor McDonnell holds a B.A. in American Culture from Vassar College and a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Michigan. Andrea also holds a graduate certificate in Museum Studies and has worked in fine arts and children's museums throughout the northeast. 

Professor McDonnell's first book, Reading Celebrity Gossip Magazines was published by Polity Press in 2014. Her new book, Celebrity, coauthored with Susan Douglas (University of Michigan), is forthcoming with NYU Press.

Andrea has press experience and is available to comment on the following:

  • Celebrity culture in the United States
  • Fan magazine production & consumption (20th c- Present)
  • Women in the media & female audiences
  • Reality television

What I Love About Emmanuel: 

What I appreciate most about Emmanuel is its emphasis on interdisciplinary learning.  This is something that I value in my own research and I'm happy to have the opportunity to help students pursue their own ideas, using multiple theoretical and methodological approaches.

Courses I Teach

  • ENGL1502: Introduction to Communication and Media Studies
  • ENGL3701: Media Theory
  • ENGL3311: Ethics in Documentary Film
  • ENGL3999: Celebrity and the Mass Media
  • ENGL 4994: Senior Internship
  • ENGL4999: Senior Seminar

Publications & Presentations

Reading Celebrity Gossip Magazines, Polity Press (2014)

Americans are obsessed with celebrities. While our fascination with fame intensified throughout the twentieth century, the rise of the weekly gossip magazine in the early 2000s confirmed and fueled our popular culture's celebrity mania. After a decade of diets and dates, breakups and baby bumps, celebrity gossip magazines continue to sell millions of issues each week. Why are readers, especially young women, so attracted to these magazines? What pleasures do they offer us? And why do we read them, even when we disagree with the images of femininity that they splash across their hot-pink covers?


  • McDonnell, A. (Forthcoming). Smashing Trump’s star: Celebrity Studies.
  • McDonnell, A. & Wheeler, M. (Forthcoming). @realDonaldTrump: Political celebrity, authenticity, and para-social engagement on Twitter. Celebrity Studies.
  • Draper, J., & McDonnell, A. (2017). Beyond the fashion blog: Personal style bloggers' strategies of gendered self-representation across platforms. Men & Masculinities.
  • McDonnell, A. & Lin, L. (2016). The hot body issue: Weight and caption tone in celebrity gossip magazines. Body Image, 18, 74-77.
  • McDonnell, A. & Mehta, C. (2016). We could never be friends: Cross-sex relationships on celebrity gossip websites. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 5(1), 74-84.
  • McDonnell, A. (2015). Stars in space: Celebrity gossip magazines, guilt, and the liminoid airport. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 32(4), 287-301.

Selected Book Reviews:

  • McDonnell, A. (2015). Remake, remodel: Women's magazines in the digital age. Brooke Erin Duffy, Urbana: IL: University of Illinois Press, 2013. The Journal of American Culture, 38(2), 180-181.
  • McDonnell, A. (2014). How to watch television. Ethan Thompson and Jason Mittell (Eds.): New York, NY: New York University Press, 2013. The Journal of American Culture, 37(3), 361-362.
  • McDonnell, A. (2014). Television and the self: Knowledge, identity, and media representation. K.M. Ryan & D.A. Macey (Eds.) Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2013. The Journal of American Culture, 37(1), 106-107.
  • McDonnell, A. (2014). Mediated maternity: Contemporary American portrayals of bad mothers in literature and popular culture. Linda Seidel. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2013. The Journal of American Culture, 37(1), 95-96.
  • McDonnell, A. (2013). Gender, violence and popular culture: Telling stories. Laura J. Shepherd. New York: Routledge, 2013. The Journal of American Culture, 36(4), 378-9.

Recent Presentations:

  • 2017 - Trump’s Twitter talk: Conversation, self-presentation, and authenticity
    Ross Priory Broadcast Talk Group: University of Strathclyde, Scotland, UK
  • 2017 - The hot body issue: Weight and caption valence in celebrity gossip magazines
    Eastern Communication Convention (ECA): Boston, MA
  • 2016 - The hot body issue: Appearance and weight messages in celebrity gossip magazines
    Co-presented with Dr. Linda Lin, Emmanuel College
    Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) Conference: New York, NY
  • 2014 - Ambiguously truthful: Veracity and Truthiness in Celebrity Gossip Magazines
    Communication Colloquia, University of Michigan
  • 2013 - Bank of America Charitable Foundation Teaching with Technology Grant
    Academic Technology & Innovation Group, Emmanuel College
  • 2012 - Howard R. Marsh Fellowship for Research on Journalism & Democracy
    Communication Studies Department, University of Michigan
  • 2011 - Junior Teaching Fellows Award
    Gayle Morris Sweetland Writing Center, University of Michigan
  • 2010 - MacDonald Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching in Communication
    Communication Studies Department, University of Michigan

Research Focus

Broadly speaking, Professor McDonnell studies women's popular media, including print, televisual, and digital content.  Combining qualitative interviews with media producers, visual and textual analysis, and audience studies, Andrea works to produce scholarship that understands media phenomenon at the level of production, content, and reception.  This approach allows her to triangulate findings and to more fully understand how popular cultural texts are made meaningful in multiple, dynamic ways.

Over the past ten years, Professor McDonnell has studied the celebrity gossip industry, with an emphasis on weekly magazines and gossip blogs.  She considers these sites as cultural forums in which ideas of the private sphere, femininity, and everyday life are worked through and re-produced.

Professor McDonnell continues to research celebrity culture and its relationship to gender.  She is also engaged with popular cultural texts designed for and consumed primarily by women-what she calls "the popular feminine"-across media platforms.  

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