Welcome Dr. Michael Broderick to SCOM


Dr. Broderick holding a project his students made in SCOM 123

By Amberly Millis (’16)

Introducing Dr. Michael Broderick, one of the newest faculty members to join the School of Communications Studies. Broderick received a Bachelor of Specialized Studies in ethnobotanical ecology, which focuses on the interaction of humans in the biotic world (e.g. plants and people). Additionally, Broderick has a Master of Arts in an interdisciplinary program in anthropology and history, as well as a Ph. D in communication studies from Ohio University.

Broderick specializes in food, aesthetics and social change. For Broderick’s dissertation, he conducted an experimental ethnography of a small goat farm in rural southeastern Ohio. He examined the ways in which the food was utilized as an agent of social change and asked the following question: what are the ways in which food is used to create community and social change? He traced a phenomenological arc from consumption to the imagination, story and social change. Thus, Broderick states that his area of focus is on critical approaches to food, culture, aesthetics and non-traditional methods of research and reporting (e.g., creative writing, photography and poetry). Broderick is a proud member of the Virginia Sustainable Food Committee, which looks into ways to incorporate more local foods into the “4 VA” (James Madison University, University of Virginia Academy, Virginia Tech University and George Mason University) dining facilities.

Broderick will be teaching a food and communications course in the spring of 2017. Additionally, he would like to continue to teach courses that focus on critical approaches to food and consumption, as well as develop coursework in aesthetic communication and creative analytics/methodologies. When asked what he likes most about working at JMU, Broderick states, “What’s not to like? It is hands down the best place I’ve ever worked. I’m absolutely excited to come to work each day. My colleagues and the department as a whole are incredibly kind and supportive. The students here are excellent as well. No doubt.”

In Broderick’s free time, he likes to read, spend time with his family, take photos, go to concerts, watch movies and explore the outdoors! Broderick offers his students the following advice, “Live the dream. Take risks. Spend time figuring out what you love and what you’d like to spend your time thinking about; passion drives good research. Be selfish with your time, read good books, listen to good music, go out in nature, see some art, and spend time with thoughtful people. It’s all grist for the mill.”

Please give a warm welcome to Dr. Broderick!