Site header image by Mike Boening, used under Creative Commons licensing.

Curious about how we create and communicate identity, Dr. Melanie McNaughton explores visual and popular culture.

Her research concentrations combine communication and critical cultural studies approaches, exploring visual and popular culture with an emphasis on nontraditional identities.

As a communication studies scholar focused on visual and popular culture, Dr. McNaughton has published essays on visual and popular culture, including design and domesticity, BDSM culture and 50 Shades of Grey, disaster photography, graphic design, and tattooing.

woman with "unfold your wings" written on her arms
I was honored to be part of Bridgewater State University's Dear World campus event. "Unfold your wings" is a line from the ancient poet, Rumi.

Melanie McNaughton’s research interests also connect to her classroom. Curiosity and dedication are powerful forces for change, and it is these passions through which she hopes to inspire and engage her students. Dr. McNaughton teaches research and writing courses in media studies, popular and visual culture, and cultural studies. To develop space in which students feel connected—to their classmates, instructor, and course concepts—Dr. McNaughton uses a “flipped” classroom model, which offers a more participatory learning environment.

As an instructor, Melanie McNaughton has developed extensive expertise in using technology to engage students in online environments. This expertise draws on Dr. McNaughton’s knowledge of effective visual and design practices. In 2017, Dr. McNaughton received a Presidential Award for Academic Excellence from Bridgewater State University, recognizing her innovative use of technology to enhance online learning environments.

Dr. McNaughton is currently wrapping up the manuscript for her first book, titled Designing, Dwelling, and Martha Stewart. The book uses Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia as a text to explore the rhetoric of domestic style and design. By exploring style and design as rhetorical artifacts, this project investigates how people know the world, constitute personal and corporate identity, and participate in wider social environments through everyday visual practices.