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ISD6: Communication & Social Justice


A collaborative and inclusive space for critical communication and media researchers at Syracuse University and Cornell University for fostering a vibrant community of support for social justice scholarship.

Open to New People

Active since: 2022

  • Syracuse University
  • Cornell University

Collaborative Goals

We hosted a writing retreat for our members in Aurora, NY from Sept 16-18, 2022. This was attended by Drs. Ramasubramanian, Lee Humphreys, and Butkowski and by grad students El Drissi, Bhatti, Baker, Birth, and McCoy. We had six writing sessions of about 1.5 hours each and also built in time for collaboration, feedback, and community building among members. We also went on a field trip to the Harriet Tubman Historic Park in Auburn NY to learn more about her life within the Central New York area, which aligns with our “Communication & Social Justice Working Group” aims. The purpose of this writing retreat was to provide dedicated time to participants to make significant progress on their writing and research projects in a supportive environment. A secondary goal of this retreat was to facilitate greater collaboration between Syracuse University and Cornell University grads and faculty by establishing a new Communication and Social Justice Working Group. This working group is supported by a grant from the CNY Humanities Corridor.

Group Organizers

Lee Humphreys

Professor and Chair, Department of Communication, Cornell University

Srividya Ramasubramanian

Professor and Newhouse Endowed Chair, Syracuse University

Group Members

  • Dr. Monica Cornejo. Assistant Professor, Communication (Undocumented Immigrants and Communication), Cornell University
  • Dr. Jasmina Tacheva, Assistant Professor, iSchool (Philosophy and Ethics of Information and Literacies), Syracuse University
  • Dr. Tracy Worrell, Chair & Professor, Communication (Disability Communication), Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Salma El Drissi, PhD Student, Communication, Cornell University
  • Emilee Baker, PhD Student, Special Education, Syracuse University
  • Shannon Burth, MA Student, Media Studies, Syracuse University
  • Kaitlin McCoy, MA Student, Media Studies, Syracuse University


  • Shumaila Bhatti, PhD Student, Environmental Comm, SUNY-ESF
  • Dr. Sipho Mbuqe, Assistant Professor, Expert on Mental Health, Marginalized Groups and Hermeneutics, SUNY Upstate Medical Center
  • Dr. Faiz Kidwai, resident, Expert on Mental Health, Ethics, and Philosophy, SUNY Upstate Medical Center
  • Dr. Helen Wang, Professor, Communication, University at Buffalo
  • Dr. Rukhsana Ahmed, Associate Prof, Communication (Health, Migrants, and Community Engagement), SUNY-Albany
  • Dr. Chelsea Butkowski, Postdoc (former Cornell Comm PhD), Communication, Annenberg School of Communication, UPenn
  • Dr. Satveer Kaur-Gill, Postdoc, Communication (Health Inequalities and Migrant Social Media), Dartmouth College
  • Dr. Tomeka Robinson, Snr. Assoc Dean & Professor, Comm & Rhetoric (Reproductive Justice & Rhetoric), Hofstra University
  • Dr. Muhammed Ittefaq, Assistant Prof, James Madison University

Group Outcomes

We hosted a research symposium (Healthy Communities, Inclusive Storytelling, and Data Justice) in November 2022 at Syracuse University, Although this symposium did not receive funding from the CNY Humanities Corridor, it emerged from and was made possible through the writing retreat in Sept 2022. The purpose of the day-long CODE^SHIFT Research Symposium at Syracuse University was to build community, create networks and partnerships for collaborative multi-site grant projects, and get feedback on research projects. It included scholars from Upstate Medical Center, Cornell University, SUNY Albany, Dartmouth College, Hofstra College, U of Buffalo, James Madison University, and Newhouse School at Syracuse University. The symposium focused on relationship-building and grant writing. Many thanks to PhD students ( Kandice Green, Ryan Wen, Tiara Johnson, & Raiana de Carvalho), postdoc Dr. Martina Santia, and health comm faculty Dr. Rebecca Ortiz & Dr. Hua Jiang for co-facilitating the symposium. Shout-out to Dr. Helen Wang for leading the impromptu networking session and for all small group leaders for taking notes in our grant-writing sessions. Once a month or so, Srivi Ramasubramanian sends out a newsletter with upcoming research opportunities relating to health disparities and communication to this group. Monica Cornejo (Cornell) and Srivi Ramasubramanian (Syracuse U) are planning to submit a grant proposal on Immigrants and Media this upcoming year to work with local community networks on their media use. Monica Cornejo (Cornell) and Srivi Ramasubramanian (Syracuse U) are working with grad students (Shumaila Bhatti, SUNY-ESF and Shannon Burth, SU) on a bibliometric analysis of undocumented immigrants in the media for submission to the International Comm Association conference in 2024. Srivi Ramasubramanian (SU), Kaur-Gill, S, (Dartmouth) & Robinson, T. (Hofstra) are working on a book chapter on “De-whitening health communication methodologies: Critical autoethnography as an embodied approach to health disparities research”. In R. Ahmed, Y. Mao, & P. Jain (Eds.), Handbook of Communication and Health Disparities, Palgrave. SU grad students at Newhouse started a grad conference called Springboard this past year where we invited both Cornell, RIT, and other non member participants from Albany and Buffalo. Although they were not able to attend this year, we hope to be able to visit one another this upcoming year for such research workshops, symposia, and conferences. Faiz Kidwai (SUNY-Upstate) and team is collaborating with Ramasubramanian (SU) on a podcast on mental health. We will likely invite members of the working group as speakers to this series.