Professor Jared Ball on Ferguson and the Media

Professor Jared Ball on Ferguson and the Media


Dan Falcone

At the recent “Shrouded Narrative teach-in” at American University, Dan Falcone met Jared A. Ball, a professor of communication studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, who discussed, “Propaganda and Media.” In this interview, father and husband, author of I MiX What I Like: A MiXtape Manifesto and coeditor of A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X, Ball talks about the construction of Black identity, colonialism and what is needed to stop the police killings of a Black person every 28 hours.

Dan Falcone for Professor Ball, could you tell the readers about your teaching, academic interests, and how they relate to activism and democratic participation?

Jared Ball: Thank you. My academic interests and teaching are very much tied to my personal political passions – all of which revolve around Black or Africana studies, political struggles, cultural production and how that all intersects or interacts with the political and “libidinal” (thanks to the work of Frank Wilderson and Jared Sexton) economies of media, communication and journalism.

This primarily works out to be a focus on the political function of mass media within the context of ongoing power (national, racial, class) struggles. I generally look to extend or tailor deep traditions of radical political, economic and cultural analyses and media criticism to our time and hope that I can make them relevant to students today. To better connect traditions of political activism to the immediate work of my classes, I’ve increasingly infused the work of political prisoners into our own course work, which allows me to tap an almost endless reservoir of knowledge and experience – while exposing students to a more realistic political context for our own studies.

Additionally, this approach infuses into our classes, ideas of political struggle and activism while challenging the limitations of conventional approaches to such study, including notions of “American democracy.”…

Read the entire interview here.

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