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Andrew deWaard

Assistant Professor of Media and Popular Culture



Dr. deWaard’s primary research interests are the cultural industries, the political economy of media, financial capital, media authorship, and the digital humanities. He is the co-author of The Cinema of Steven Soderbergh: indie sex, corporate lies, and digital videotape (Columbia University Press/Wallflower, 2013) and his current book project examines the financialization of film, television, and popular music. Dr. deWaard is also the co-founder of, a SSHRC-funded research project that studies stewardship models for independent music.


PhD - University of California, Los Angeles - Cinema and Media Studies (2017)

MA - Film Studies - University of British Columbia (2009)

BA - Film Studies and Media, Information, and Technoculture - University of Western Ontario (2005) 

Broadly defined, my work analyzes the conflicts between capital and media culture, from the macro-level effects of the financial sector to the micro-level experiences of creative labor. Previously, that entailed, among other publications, a co-authored book (with R. Colin Tait) on the work of filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, an auteur analysis that analyzes his body of work as well as his navigation of Hollywood and the independent film world. Currently, it consists of two main projects:

  1. Derivative Media: The Financialization of the Cultural Industries - Based on my dissertation work, this book will trace the entrance of institutional investors, corporate venture capital, private equity firms, and their corresponding financial logic and labor into the film, television, and music industries. Financialization – the growing influence of financial markets and instruments – is premised on highly-leveraged debt, labor efficiencies, and short-term profits; this project argues that it is transforming cultural production into a highly consolidated industry with rising inequality, further decreasing the diversity and heterogeneity it could provide the public sphere. In addition to charting this historical and industrial shift, I also analyze the corresponding textual transformation, in which cultural products behave according to financial logic, becoming sites of capital formation where references, homages, branding, and product placements form internal textual economies. Utilizing a unique methodology combining political economy, data mining and visualization, ethnographic fieldwork, and textual analysis, Derivative Media argues that financialization is a little-understood, yet profoundly transformative – and often destructive – force within the cultural industries.
  2. The Cultural Capital Project: Digital Stewardship and Sustainable Monetization for Independent Canadian Musicians - With an Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Cultural Capital project is an interdisciplinary research program that criticizes the inequitable status quo of the corporate music industry and advocates for a digital music culture based on equality, sustainability, and fair pay for artists premised upon an open, democratic infrastructure. Our research group consists of Dr. Brain Fauteux (Assistant Professor of Popular Music and Media Studies, University of Alberta), Brianne Selman (Scholarly Communications and Copyright Librarian, University of Winnipeg), and myself.


book cover featuring a black and white photo of steven soderbergh wearing a baseball cap, holdinga camera, and leaning against a wallThe Cinema of Steven Soderbergh: indie sex, corporate lies and digital videotape. Co-authored with R. Colin Tait. New York: Columbia University Press/Wallflower Press, 2013.

Refereed Journal Articles

From Copyright Cartels to Commons and Care: A Public Infrastructure Model for Canadian Music Communitiese.” Co-authored with Brian Fauteux and Brianne Selman. Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research 17.1 (2022).

Independent Canadian Music in the Streaming Age: The Sound from Above (Critical Political Economy) and Below (Ethnography of Musicians).” Co-authored with Brian Fauteux and Brianne Selman. Popular Music and Society 45.3 (2022).

Financialized Hollywood: Institutional Investment, Venture Capital, and Private Equity in the Film and Television Industry,” JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 59.4 (2020).

The Cultural Capital Project: Radical Monetization of the Music Industry.” Co-authored with Brian Fauteux and Ian Dahlman. IASPM@Journal 3.1 (2013).

The Geography of Melodrama, The Melodrama of Geography: The ‘Hood Film’s Spatial Pathos.”  Cinephile 4.1 (2008).  58-65.

The Global Social Problem Film.”  Cinephile 3.1 (2007).  12-18. [Full text pdf]

Chapters In Edited Collections


“The Hood Is Where the Heart Is: Melodrama, Habitus, and the Hood Film.”  Habitus of the ’Hood.  Eds. Chris Richardson and Hans Skott-Myhre. Chicago, IL: Intellect Ltd, 2012. 253 – 270. 

“Joints and Jams: Spike Lee as Sellebrity Auteur.” Fight the Power!: The Spike Lee Reader.  Eds. Janice D. Hamlet and Robin R. Means Coleman.  New York: Peter Lang, 2008. 345-361. “Intertextuality, Broken Mirrors, and The Good German.”  The Philosophy of Steven Soderbergh.  Eds. Steven M. Sanders and R. Barton Palmer.  Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2010.  107-119.

Refereed Online Publications

ClipNotes in the Classroom: Film Annotation Software for Instruction and Collaboration.” Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier 3.3 (2016).

Refereed Bibliographies

Steven Soderbergh.” Oxford Online Bibliographies. Oxford University Press. 2015.

Selected Awards and Honors

Collegium of University Teaching Fellowship, 2016

Kemp R. Niver Award in Film History, 2015

University of California Humanities Research Institute Research Fellowship, 2015

Georgia Frontiere Scholarship In Memory Of The Humanitarian Efforts Of Aaron Curtis Taylor, 2014

Otis Ferguson Memorial Award in Critical Writing, 2013

Student Writing Award, Society for Cinema and Media Studies, 2012

Jack K. Sauter Award, 2012

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship, 2011

UC Regents Special Fellowship, 2011

Chancellor’s Prize, 2011

Graduate Courses

COGR 200a: Communication as Social Force

Course Description: This course explores communication as a social force and the social forces that shape communication. The intertwined nature of race and capital is the primary social force that we analyze, with forays into technology and gender. Ultimately, we are interested in the structures of power and how they shape and are shaped by institutions and technologies of communication. Partly what distinguishes the social force area of the curriculum is scale and level of analysis. Studying communication as a social force means studying the role of media institutions, infrastructures, and policies in large-scale social processes: racialization, industrialization, commodification, digitalization, globalization, financialization, platformization, etc. This area of study as it has been practiced and developed in the Communication Department at UCSD has a long tradition of critical epistemology.

Undergraduate Courses

COMM 190: Streaming Media

Course Description: This course critically examines the ecosystem of streaming media, focusing on the seven key corporations that shape our experience of it: Netflix, Disney, Spotify, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. What changes when we "stream" media, rather than broadcast, exhibit, or own it? How do big corporations shape and control the infrastructure of streaming media? What opportunities and obstacles are there in streaming media for more diversity and equality? What is a "platform" and what is the broader historical and financial context for this development? What is a “feed,” how is it prone to misinformation, and how does our engagement and experience with media change in a streaming environment? What is the effect of streaming media on creatives, laborers, and producers of content? This seminar will aim to answer these questions and more, exploring the streaming media transition from the perspective of power and political economy. Each week we will analyze a major media company with regards to a social issue: Netflix and power, Disney and commodification, Spotify and labor, Apple and supply chains, Google and identity, Facebook and misinformation, and Amazon and surveillance.

COMM 113T: Intermediate Topics in Communication – “Film Authorship: Spike Lee & Kathryn Bigelow”

Course Description: This course serves as an introduction to the concept of film authorship with a focus on Hollywood filmmaking in the last thirty years, as seen through two case studies: Spike Lee and Kathryn Bigelow. We begin with the tradition of “auteur theory” -- the idea that the director, not the screenwriter, is the true “artist” and “author” in filmmaking -- before moving to the broader contemporary conception of the filmmaker as a site of encounter for many elements: collaboration, identity, industry, intertext, reception, and context. Spike Lee is our first case study, and through the films Do the Right Thing, 4 Little Girls, Clockers, Inside Man, BlacKkKlansman, and Da 5 Bloods, we will analyze traditional authorial elements, such as a formal “signature,” as well as recurring themes and motifs. We will also consider how authorship intersects with issues of race, class, violence, and representation. Kathryn Bigelow will be our second case study, and Near Dark, Blue Steel, Point Break, The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, and Detroit will allow us to consider issues of gender, genre, and authorial responsibility, in this case the depiction of war. 

COMM 106t: Cultural Industries: TV, Culture & the Public – “How to Watch TV”

Course Description:  This course examines American television with a focus on style and form, industry and politics, and issues of representation. In our first unit, we will learn how to analyze television programs from a formal perspective, considering visual, aural, and narrative properties, as well as notions of realism, liveness, and reflexivity. In our second unit, we will learn about the history and contemporary context of the television industry, considering issues of labor, political economy, advertising, neoliberalism, and politics. In our third unit, we will learn how to analyze television programs with a focus on issues of representation and identity, considering race, gender, sexuality, and class. Ultimately, we aim to improve our understanding of how the television industry operates, how television programs generate meaning, and how we can interpret television from various analytical frameworks.