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Cara Wallis

Cara Wallis
Associate Professor
Areas of Speciality
  • Media, Culture, and Identity
Contact
  • cwallis@tamu.edu
  • BLTN 214B
Professional Links

Introduction

Twitter IconDr. Wallis studies the mutually constitutive nature of new media technologies, modes of power, and the intersections of multiple axes of identity, including gender, class, and place (urban/rural). She is interested in how uses and understandings of technology both reproduce inequitable power relations and open up spaces for individual and collective agency and thus, social change.

Bio

Cara Wallis an interdisciplinary scholar whose work spans the fields of mobile communication, critical studies of technology, media studies, China studies, and women’s and gender studies. Her research examines the mutually constitutive nature of new media technologies, modes of power, and the intersections of multiple axes of identity, including gender, class, and place (urban/rural). She is concerned with socio-techno practices, or how technology is integrated into existing social practices, thereby opening up spaces for individual and collective agency as well as the retrenchment of modes of domination. She is especially interested in how socio-techno practices emerge among groups that are socially or economically marginalized. To study these processes, she employs qualitative methods, including ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation, interviews, case studies, and textual analysis. She primarily conducts research in China but has also studied such processes in the United States.

Courses Taught

  • COMM 330: Technology and Human Communication
  • COMM 335: Intercultural Communication
  • COMM 452: Cultural Studies of Communication Technology
  • COMM 460/WGST 489: Gender, Media, and Modernity in East Asia
  • COMM 615: Interpretive Methods
  • COMM 634: Gender and Communication
  • COMM 658: Communication and Culture
  • COMM 662: Survey in Telecommunication Media Studies
  • COMM 663: Media, Culture, and Society in Contemporary China

Representative Publications

Books

book: Technomobility in ChinaWallis, Cara. Technomobility in China: Young Migrant Women and Mobile Phones (NYU Press, 2013). 

Technomobility in China offers an ethnographic exploration of the cultural, social, aesthetic, and economic uses of mobile communication by young rural-to-urban migrant women doing low-level service work in Beijing, where they face severe constraints due to institutional structures as well as deep-seated prejudices against them. Based on five years of fieldwork, Wallis shows how gender, class, place, and age are articulated to young migrant women’s use of mobile phones. She theorizes the mobile phone as enabling “immobile mobility,” defined as a socio-techno means of surpassing, but not overcoming, spatial, temporal, and structural boundaries. Technomobility in China won the 2013 James W. Carey Media Research Award and the 2014 Bonnie Ritter Book Award.