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Nicky Falkof

(Head of Department)


My research is primarily concerned with the way in which popular media and culture intersect with identity and ideology. I am interested in issues to do with race, particularly whiteness, and gender, particularly masculinity, as well as with cultural and urban mythologies. I take a multidisciplinary approach that draws on cultural studies, media studies, psychoanalysis, anthropology and sociology, among others. My interests manifest in a number of disparate but related areas.

Mass culture:
One stream that my research takes relates to popular mass cultural products, generally genre film and television originating in the US, that travel globally. I have written and published on race and masculinity in 1980s Hollywood action cinema, including Conan the Barbarian, Rambo, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and Predator; on risk and fear in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; and on masculinity in Mad Men

Moral panic:
My doctoral and post-doctoral research was concerned with the crises in white identity during the late apartheid period, read symptomatically through media reporting on the Satanism scare and so-called epidemic of Afrikaans family murder, published as a monograph in 2015. I am currently engaged in a project called ‘Moral panic, social change and the media in late and post-apartheid South Africa’, sponsored by an NRF Thuthuka early career fellowship, which investigates the identificatory and ideological meanings of cultural myths and urban legends. 

Spatial politics:
I have a concurrent interest in the intersections between space and identity in contemporary Johannesburg. I have published on the shift from maids’ rooms to garden cottages and am working on a project around race and discourse in social media spaces devoted to wealthy suburbs around South Africa.

I am interested in supervising postgraduate students whose projects relate to popular culture, moral panic, race and representation, among other areas.

See Nicky's full profile here...

Entry requirements for postgraduate degrees

Honours: Minimum of 65% pass for a BA, with a major in Media Studies or a related discipline.
Masters: Minimum of 70% pass for an Honours degree in Media Studies or a related discipline.
PhD: Minimum of 70% or an equivalent pass for a Masters degree in Media Studies or a related discipline.

Interested in applying for postgraduate study?

Have a look through our fields of research here

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To make an enquiry please email Ufuoma Akpojivi, the postgrad co-ordinator

study with WITS media studies

Wits Media Studies will help you understand how media work and how they affect us. We critically analyse the role of media in politics, culture and the economy.
We contribute to scholarly debates and research about media and consumerism, and media and democracy in the Global South.
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