B.A. English and Women’s Studies, St. Olaf College
M.A. Mass Communication, University of Minnesota
Ph.D. Communication, University of Washington
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246
My teaching in our Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences program is shaped by my years as a journalist and historian. I encourage students to ask questions, seek evidence, explore complexity, engage with communities, evaluate and create media, and contribute to the world as responsible citizens. Communication, media, and journalism studies bring together different disciplines, histories, and training. All three fields require that students stretch toward people and communities that are unfamiliar, apply critical thinking and analysis to social problems, evaluate and create communication, and learn from practice. Students in my classrooms move reflexively between the contextual and theoretical questions of why and the more pragmatic and methodological questions of how. Every course includes at least one project where students get out of the classroom and engage in their communities. I use a multiple-method approach in the classroom to address the diversity of student learning. This includes group work, multi-media projects, tiered writing, peer reviews, student leadership, and active discussions. These teaching strategies work together to help students become empowered learners ready to critically engage with the world around them.
Recent Courses Taught
BIS 204 Introduction to Journalism
BIS 313 Issues in Media Studies: Alternative U.S. Media
BISSKL 350 Independent Fieldwork: Student Newspaper
BCUSP 107 Coffee and Media: Representation, Histories, Activism
Questions about journalism practices drive my current research. These practices are found as part of organizations, within marginalized communities, during different periods of history, and in varied formats of media. My research examines the symbiotic relationship between social movements and grassroots U.S. newspapers that is both historically and politically intertwined. I ask how these newspapers began, how they operated, how they changed over time, how workers operated as journalists, and how they balanced loyalties. The answers add complexity to the role of media in democracy and the role of community and activism in journalism. My most recent project focuses on the histories of two grassroots, activist Seattle newspapers that emerged in the post-Civil Rights era. Both newspapers published for more than thirty-five years since the 1970s and provided a voice initially absent from or oftentimes stereotyped in mainstream media—the first for multiple generations of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, and other Asian Americans living in or associated with the Seattle’s International District, and the second for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, and queer people in Seattle. Related to these questions about journalism practices, I also ask where and how marginalized communities use their political voice. This resulted in participatory action research with and a manual for people (teachers and policymakers) conversing about issues of climate, sustainability, and environment.
Co-adviser for the online student publication Husky Herald.
Gustafson, Kristin L. and Fahed Al Sumait. “Photo Conversations about Climate: Engaging Teachers and Policymakers through Photography and Narrative.” Sightline Institute. (December 17, 2009).
Gustafson, Kristin L. “Constructions of Responsibility for Three 1920 Lynchings in Minnesota Newspapers: Marginalization of People, Groups, and Ideas.” Journalism History 34, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 42–53.