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Michael Dwyer (G'10)

Michael Dwyer (G'10)


Associate Professor of Media and Communications




Michael entered the English PhD program in Fall 2004 and graduated in 2010, and is now Associate Professor of Media and Communication at Arcadia University. His dissertation was titled Back to the Fifties: Pop Nostalgia in the Reagan Era, and served as the basis of his recent book, Back to the Fifties: Nostalgia, Hollywood Film, and Popular Music of the Seventies and Eighties (Oxford UP, 2015). He is a member of SCMS and recently completed a three-year term on the SCMS IT Committee, where he helped to establish a mobile program/conference app for the Society. He is also a member of IAMHIST (International Association of Media and History) and the International Media Nostalgia Network.

How has your experience as a PhD student at Syracuse helped you succeed?
I am very adamant about this: Syracuse prepared me to do the work of being in the academy by not shielding me from the work of being in the academy. At Syracuse I taught classes of my own design (in composition, in film, in cultural studies, in literature), I did curriculum design and teacher training, I planned and funded academic events, I debated with my colleagues about the best strategies to advocate for our interests in the department, I cast votes on hiring and sat on an admissions committee, and I researched university policies to make sure our graduate program was in line with them when the curriculum changed. These things weren't "extras" that "distracted" from my progress in the program. They are the program, and in many cases these sorts of things matter more to your function as a professor than your writing projects do. Syracuse is unique in that it has a history of radical democratic participation from its graduate students in departmental governance. That's a legacy that was hard-won, and it's important to continue, not only for reasons of principle for but our grad students' development.

I should also say that I had amazing colleagues working with me and challenging me and fighting me all along the way, and that kind of vibrant culture of what the EGO collective, inspired by former Syracuse prof Bill Readings, used to call "cooperative dissensus" became a fundamental part of my identity as a scholar and as a human. And many of those colleagues remain dear friends. Just yesterday my partner (also a Syracuse English PhD) spent the day with friends from out of town that we met in the Syracuse English department twelve years ago. And the mentorship I got from faculty — not just my advisor or my committee but almost everyone in the grad faculty — remains important to me today. 

Michael lives in Philadelphia with his partner Rachel, where they eat pizza, drink beers, and get into extended, wonderful arguments about the sustainability of the Paris Commune or why the Veronica Mars movie was so bad. Some things haven't changed since grad school.