My research has two main foci. The first focuses on LGBTQ representations in both the LGBTQ and mainstream media. Most recently my work centers on the normalization of gay and lesbian identity in a variety of media context from the LGBTQ sports blogosphere to fictional television comedies. This research emphasis uses a cultural and critical approach to examine, often via a Queer lens, media representations of LGBTQ people and the intersectionality of sexuality, race, gender, class, and ability.
My other research focus is on historical research of LGBTQ media outlets and media coverage of LGBTQ events and people. I recently received a faculty research grant to conduct archival research in New Orleans, Louisiana for a project on media coverage of the LGBTQ movement in the city from 1958-1990. The research focus on major movement events from a 1973 fire that killed more than 30 gay men in the city’s French Quarter to the coverage of the AIDS epidemic by local mainstream and gay and lesbian presses. My historical research is also informed by my cultural and critical research focus. I often focus on
The New Orleans research project is about half complete, and I’m currently in the process of revising a book proposal to submit to several university presses in the coming months.
My dissertation, which is also currently in the book proposal process, offers a queer critique of recent network television situational comedies, and the role of a normalized gay identity in today’s culture. The project examines LGBTQ representations in five network sitcoms and three subscription-based programs. I explore issues of intersectionality (race, gender, sexuality, and class) in the project to offer a more complex critique of the discourse created by the programs.
My future research will be guided by my current research agenda. Aside from working on the two main book projects, I’m currently working on a project examining social media, mainly Twitter, as a place for Queer memorial following the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida. In addition, I’m working on a project with colleague examining the use of Etsy as a tool for craftavism and consciousness raising.
Peer reviewed journal
Byrd, R.D.& Denney, P. (2018) “Using Their Own Voice”: Learning to Tell Stories with Instagram. Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication(in press).
Janoske, M., Byrd, R.D., & Cooper, D. (2018). Identity Formation and Voter Suppression: The Iconography of Fake Memes in the 2016 Presidential Election (under review).
Janoske, M., Byrd, R.D., & Madden, S. (2018) One liners and catchy hashtags: Building a graduate student community through Twitter chats (revise and resubmit).
Byrd, R.D.(2019) Not All Colors of the Rainbow. In C. Campbell & L. Coleman (Ed.), Media, Myth and Millennials: Critical Perspectives on Race and Culture. Lexington Books (forthcoming).
Byrd, R.D., Janoske, M., & Chaney, A. (2018) From Orange Juice to the Ballot Box: Media Coverage of Anita Bryant’s Rise and Fall in the Early Religious-right Movement. In K.K. Strunk (Ed.), Queering the Deep South: Research on Queer Studies and LGBTQ Lives in the U.S. Southeast. Charlotte, N.C.: Information Age Publishing (in press).
Byrd, R.D.(2016) Race and Sexuality: Whitewashing Representation. In C. P. Campbell (Ed.), The Routledge Companion to Media and Race. New York: Routledge.
Non-peer reviewed journal
Byrd, R.D.(2013). Don’t Be a Tool . . . Dress Like a Guy: Denotative and Connotative Readings of Old Navy’s Süpar Tool Advertisement. Synergy 4(1), 73-80.
Byrd, R.D.(2017) Jason A. Peterson, Full Court Press: Mississippi State University, the Press, and the Battle to Integrate College Basketball. Newspaper Research Journal,38 (1), 134-135.
Research in Progress
Byrd, R. D. Land of Decadence: New Orleans LGBTQ Media History from 1958-1990. Book proposal.
Byrd, R.D. The (Not So) New Normal: Queer Television in a Post-Gay World. Book proposal.