Caroline Collins

Erin Cory

Research Interests

I am broadly interested in discourse relating to cultural iconology, identity, and power.

Proposed Project

My dissertation research specifically focuses on representations of the 19th century American west, analyzing media, re-enactments, and edutourism sites to chart the political construction of ‘Americanness’ in popular culture. Specifically, this project traces: (1) the strategic making of the 19th century American ‘pioneer identity,’ contending it emerges as a foil to the 17th/18th century Western ‘liberal subject’ and as an alibi of westward expansion, begetting ideological tensions that persist to this day; (2) the maintenance of the American western frontier mythology (including its ‘pioneer identity’) through cultural memory products, specifically attending to their seeming inconspicuousness as contemporary meaning-making apparatuses; and (3) the ongoing contestations and evolutions of the ‘pioneer identity’ and ‘liberal subject’ that foster particular (re)learnings of ‘Americanness.’ This dissertation deploys textual analysis, media archaeology, and visual ethnography methods, bridging insights and approaches from Media & Cultural Studies, Performance Studies, and the Learning Sciences to create new knowledge about the ways in which we make meaning, imagine a nation, and shape adjacent notions of identity, power, and belonging in the process.

Research Statement

I rely on a variety of methodologies in my work including textual and content analysis, visual ethnography, media production, and historical and archival methods. My work is also rooted in praxis and community engagement. I recently produced a collaborative student film made with Native American youth, and am currently working on several other educational media activism projects and a research based documentary. Because of this work, in 2016 I co-launched a media production company, Kaleyedoscope Productions, committed to facilitating co-productions between academic/activist perspectives and local underrepresented populations.

I have received fellowships and funding from the UC San Diego Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the UC San Diego Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program, the Joseph Naiman Graduate Fellowship, the Frieda Daum Urey Endowed Fellowship, the Qualcomm / Alliance For Empowerment Graduate Scholarship and am the Inaugural Recipient of the Herbert I. Schiller Dissertation Fellowship. In the future, I hope to continue to interrogate often taken for granted memory and cultural practices as a tenured Faculty member, questioning the ways in which we shape and are shaped by culture, matrices of power, and identity practices.

You may reach me at


MFA, Creative Writing, University of California, Riverside

BA, American Literature and Culture, University of California, Los Angeles

Selected Publications

(2016) “Native Like Water: We’re Still Here” a video activist project from Native students of InterTribal Youth/UCSD; Screenings: UC San Diego; 2017 Water is Life Expo (Flint, MI); the 42nd Annual Northwest Indian Youth Conference in Washington; the San Diego Regional Water Quality Board’s Environmental Justice Symposium; the 2017 International Youth Congress hosted at the University of Hawaii Manoa; 2018 San Diego Film Week; and was scheduled to screen at the 2017 Imagining America Conference at UC Davis (had to cancel travel due to wildfires) [Nominations: Best Student Documentary
Short, 2018 San Diego Film Awards]

(2016) Cooperative Measures: NGO and Institutional Educational Partnerships in the US. In L. Symaco (Ed.), Education as a humanitarian response. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

(2014) A Selection of Lorca. In Exchanges: A Journal of Literary Translation.

(2012) “Dream Interrupted.” In the African-American Experience Collection.

(2012) Hype (Completed Screenplay). Registration Number: 1596559, Writers Guild of America, West.

(2011) With Vásquez, O. A., Bliesner, J. Bridging the Gaps: Community-University Partnerships as a New Form of Social Policy. In Bowdon, M. & Carpenter. R. (Eds.), Higher Education, Emerging Technologies, Community Partnerships: Concepts, Models, and Applications, IGI Global.

Presentations and University Participation

(March 2018) “Pursuing Equity in Action: Attempting To Make Democracy Material in Daily Life,” UC Links Conference, UC Berkeley.

(March 2018) ESCorp Game Room Demo (Gaming as Mediation), Embodied Storytelling Collective, UC San Diego Sixth College Culture, Art, & Technology Lab.

(March 2018) Native Like Water: We're Still Here, San Diego Digital Gym, San Diego 2018 Film Week.

(October 2017) “Negotiating the Ethos of University-Community Collaborative Filmmaking” 17th Annual Imagining America Conference, UC Davis. **Had to cancel travel due to wildfires**

(March 2017) “Partners for Life: Negotiating Equity in University-Community Collaborations.” UC Links, UC Berkeley.

(November 2016) “New Media Communication for Community Wellness,” UCSD Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program Symposium.

(July 2016) COMM 190: Black Lives Matter: Race, Technoscience, & the Human; Lecture Title: “Memory, Movement, & Mediated Practices: Examining the Mediated Interstices Between Cultural Memory, Space, & Identity.”  UC San Diego.

(April & May 2016) Oral History Training and Oral History Collection of scholar and artist Victoria Burnett, UC Irvine, Irvine, CA.

(November 2015) “The Syntax of Survival: Biopolitics Of An Oral Practice of Parents of Black American Children,” 29th Annual Society for Literature Science and the Arts (SLSA) Conference 2015, “After Biopolitics” Rice University, Houston TX

(September 2015) “Forging University/Community Partnerships: InterTribal Youth and UC San Diego,” UC San Diego, Vice-Chancellor’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Luncheon and Symposium.

(May 2015) “Making Graduate School a Reality Workshop,” for the LCM Fellows Program for Under-represented Students, UC San Diego, CA.

(April 2015)  “Walls that Speak: An Analysis of the Narrative Power of Graffiti within a Colombian University,” California State University, San Bernardino Latin American Studies. 30 April 2015.  (Had to decline speaking due to a family health emergency).

(January 2015) Panelist, “Hands Up: What is Your Perspective?” A Dialogue on the Relationship Between Race and Policing on Campus and Beyond, Hosted by the UC San Diego Black Staff Association.

(September 2014) Invited Speaker, Black Resource Center’s Student Success Institute, UC San Diego, Huerta/Vera Cruz Room.  

(August 2014) Global Partnership Practicum Course Development Consultant, UC San Diego / Unillanos Conferencia at the Universidad de los Llanos, Villavicencia, Colombia.

(August 2014) Co-Presenter, “LCM Infrastructure of Change,” UC San Diego / Unillanos Conferencia at the Universidad de los Llanos, Villavicencia, Colombia in the Auditorio Jamie Garzón.

(August 2014) Guest Lecturer, “Collaboratively Learning English In a Non-English Context: Uno Desarrollo Clase en Ingles,” at the Universidad de los Llanos, Villavicencia, Colombia.  

(May 2014) Presenter, “La Clase Mágica: The View From the Practicum,” for the CIER Mission Seminar, UCSD, CA.  

(May 2014) Workshop Leader, “Power of Story Personal Statement Workshop,” for the LCM Fellows Program, UCSD, CA.

(March 2014) Co-Presenter, “Assessment and practice: Links between pedagogy & assessment,” UC Links Annual Conference, Berkeley, CA.  

(February 2014) Workshop Leader, “Allow them to Re-Introduce Themselves: An Examination of the Influence of Narrative-Based Activities Within an After-School Setting,” for the LCM Fellows Program, La Jolla, CA.

(July - August 2013) Selected Pilot Workshop Participant, UCSD/Calit2/Qualcomm “Flipping the Classroom”: Building Effective Online and Blended Learning Environments Summer Workshop, La Jolla, CA.

(May 2013) Program Speaker, “Blazing A Pathway to College,” Mi Arte Mi Voz Education Exploration Conference, UCSD.

(April 2013) Co-Presenter, “21st Century Literacies: New Ways of Knowing For A World In Motion,” UC Links Annual Conference, Berkeley, CA.

(June 2011) Presenter, “Literature and The Other.”  Graduate Lecture at the University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert.



Herbert I. Schiller Dissertation Fellowship

Joseph Naiman Graduate Fellowship

UCSD Department of Communication Summer Research Fellowship

Co-Investigator and Co-Recipient, Innovation Grant, UCSD Vice Chancellor’s Office on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Qualcomm / Alliance For Empowerment Graduate Scholarship

UC Consortium for Black Studies in California Travel Grant

UCSD Department of Communication First Year Doctoral Fellowship


UCSD Pan-Hellenic Association Outstanding Professor Award Recipient (received as a Lecturer)

Authored various outreach and research grants on behalf of the Center for Academic and Social Advancement to receive funding from organizations such as:

*The Rokenbok Fund and The San Diego Foundation

*California Virtual Campus and CENIC

*Eugene Garfield Foundation Initiative

*BRAVO Foundation Grant


National Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School Intern

UCLA CBOP (Career Based Outreach Program) Fellow

UCLA Stephen’s House Scholar and Scholarship Recipient

National Collegiate Honor Society

Alpha Lambda Delta Collegiate Honor Society

BAME Renaissance Scholar and Scholarship Recipient

Henry Williams Scholar and Scholarship Recipient