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Erin Watley
  • Associate Professor of Communication & Cinema

Communication & Cinema
Portrait of Dr. Erin Watley

At my core, I am a peacemaker. The definition for my name, Erin, even means peace. But, we live in a world full of conflict and disruption. Growing up I noticed that many problems in the world are connected to culture. Our race, how we experience gender, the religion(s) in our community, how much money someone has, and where we were born influence our challenges and how we respond to others. Growing up in multi-cultural environments of the Maryland suburbs also taught me that communities are better when differences are truthfully acknowledged and valued. So, in college I studied the problems tied to culture and came up with ways to practice solutions.

Now, my work in intercultural communication has shown me that you cannot fast forward to the "let's hold hands and sing kumbaya" cultural celebration until you deal with the tough parts. And learning to understand and communicate about culture in connection to power, privilege, and systems of oppression is HARD. In my classes we get into the hard stuff with culture. We survive. Then we tell others what we did... I also use media and pop culture along the way to prove how relevant and necessary these skills are.


Ph.D. in Communication (Intercultural Communication concentration), University of New Mexico
M.A. in Communication, University of Illinois
B.A. in American Studies and Sociology, University of Maryland

Research Interests

  • Critical intercultural dialogue techniques

  • Media representations of Black Americans in the 2000s

  • Dialogue facilitation

Recent Courses

  • COM 1101: Intro to Media

  • COM 2265: Difficult Conversations

  • COM 3220: Intercultural Communication

  • COM 3221: Gender in Communication

  • COM 3420: Media Analysis & Criticism (focus on sports media)

Selected Publications

  • Watley, E. (2016). Critical intercultural dialogue: Discourse analysis of context, intersectionality, and reflexivity in undergraduate conversations (Doctoral dissertation). ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.

  • Watley, E. (2016). Race, gender, and digital media: The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl and representations of Black female identity. In P. Booth & A. Davisson (Eds.) Controversies in Media Ethics. Bloomsbury Publishing. New York, NY

Clubs and community involvement

  • Faculty Advisor for Curlfriends (Natural Hair Club)

  • Faculty Advisor for Polish & Glam

Portrait of Dr. Erin Watley

"I'm just out here trying to live up to my favorite MLK quote: 'Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.'"

Martin Luther King Jr., March for Integrated Schools, April 18, 1959