Meet the Faculty….Dr. Irwin

Today we are introducing Meryl Irwin, a professor teaching primarily GCOM for her first year here.

Do you have any class you hope to teach here?

Dr. IrwinDr. Irwin’s specialty is rhetoric and comparing politics to cultures. A main focus of her research involves immigration and how it affects their culture. Sometimes she focuses on traditional politics and other occasions she focuses on popular culture.

On teaching the intro classes, she notes that it is a major shift from focus on answers in High School to a focus on the questions at universities.  A plus side of her position here is, “Helping first years realize their potential and possibilities.”

What did you find is different on the JMU campus vs. other universities?

The main difference of the JMU campus is our students. Dr. Irwin feels all the students are eager to learn and very conscientious; even the seniors are not-jaded in their final year. The biggest surprise is how JMU is a huge campus with thousands of students, yet it feels like a small place—in a good way!

What have you most recently been researching?

This past summer, Dr. Irwin worked on a very interesting ethnography focusing on emotion and attachments. The subject is fandom of Walking Dead via the medium of Tumblr. She immersed herself in the “fandom” culture and is finishing up her research currently.

The Walking Dead

Dr. Irwin is very passionate about rhetoric and her research. Feel free to post any comments or questions about her and her research below.