Andrea Press headshot

Andrea Lee Press

Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of Media Studies
Office location and address
223 Wilson Hall
115 Ruppel Dr
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904

Andrea Press is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Media Studies and Sociology at the University of Virginia, and was the Executive Director of the Virginia Film Festival. She came to the University of Virginia in 2006 to shepherd the Media Studies Program to departmental status and to begin its graduate program. Her last appointment was at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, where she directed the Media Studies Program for nine years, was one of the producers of the Roger Ebert Festival of Overlooked Films, received the Arnold O. Beckman award for excellence in research, and was the recipient of a faculty fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the year before she left. Her M.A. and PhD are in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley and her B.A. is in sociology and anthropology from Bryn Mawr College. She has a wide range of interdisciplinary interests spanning the social sciences and the humanities which comprise Media Studies. Prior to coming to the University of Virginia, Professor Press has held faculty positions at the University of California at Davis, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, and the London School of Economics in departments as diverse as communications, sociology, writing studies, social psychology, and women’s studies. She held an NIMH Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Medical College of the University of Kentucky, was scholar-in-residence at the Stanhope Center for Communications Policy Research, was a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, and is the recipient of several grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Danforth Foundation, and Soroptimist International.

Professor Press is internationally known for her interdisciplinary scholarship on the media audience, on feminist media issues, and on media and social class in the U.S. She is the author of Women Watching Television: Gender, Class And Generation In The American Television Experience (University of Pennsylvania Press), the co-author (with Elizabeth Cole) of Speaking Of Abortion: Television And Authority In The Lives Of Women (University of Chicago Press), and the co-author (with Bruce A. Williams) of The New Media Environment (Blackwell). For the past fifteen years she has co-edited the journal The Communication Review with Bruce A. Williams. She has also edited book series in feminist media studies for the University of Pennsylvania Press and the University of Illinois Press. Professor Press is known for pioneering the use of qualitative research methods to study the cultural impact of the media in the U.S., and for innovative work on media “impact,” specifically vis-à-vis women and members of different social classes. Professor Press has published numerous essays, articles, and chapters on feminist media theory, social class and the media, and media audiences. Her forthcoming book, Feminism LOL: Media Culture and “Feminism on the Ground” in a Postfeminist Age, is based on interviews with men and women of different ages and social class backgrounds about feminist issues and their representation in the media.

EGMT 1530: Engaging Differences
Credits: 2
In this class, students will learn to critically reflect on one's own situation and perspective in relations to one's expanding knowledge of other human experiences, seeking to cultivate a framework for informed reflection on human diversity and social complexity while developing empathy as a foundation for democratic citizenship.
USEM 1580: University Seminar
Credits: 2–3
Consult the University Seminars web page at (copy and paste Web address into browser) for specific descriptions.
MDST 3000: Theory and Criticism of Media
Credits: 3
This course introduces students at the beginning of the major to theoretical and critical literature in the field. Topics range from the psychological and sociological experience of media, interpretation and analysis of media forms and aesthetics, theories of audience and reception, anthropological approaches to media as a cultural force, and contemporary theories of media from humanities and social sciences perspectives. The goal of the course is to provide a foundation for thinking critically about media and to give them a sense of media studies as a critical and theoretical field. Restricted to Media Studies majors.
ZFOR 3503: International Study
Placeholder course for students studying abroad
MDST 3505: Special Topics in Diversity and Identity in Media
Credits: 3
This course will offer historical, comparative, and critical perspectives on issues of diversity and identity in media studies. Topics may include the relationship between media and underrepresented groups, media use in identity construction, masculinity and feminine role models in media, media power, etc. Prerequisite: MDST Major and Minors or Instructor Permission
SOC 3559: New Course in Sociology
Credits: 1–4
This course provides the opportunity to offer a new topic in the subject area of sociology.
MDST 3559: New Course in Media Studies
Credits: 1–4
This course provides the opportunity to offer a new course in the subject of Media Studies.
MDST 4010: Distinguished Majors Thesis Writing or Research Project
Credits: 3
Writing of a thesis or production or a project with appropriately researched documentation, under the supervision of the faculty DMP thesis readers or project supervisor.
MDST 4200: Sex and Gender Go to the Movies
Credits: 3
This course will examine the ways in which different mass media help to define our cultural ideas about gender differences and the ways in which feminist scholars have responded to these definitions by criticizing existing media images and by creating some alternatives of their own. The course will examine the notion that the mass media might influence our development as gendered individuals and consider different forms of feminist theory.
PAVS 4500: Pavilion Seminar
Credits: 3
The Pavilion Seminars are open, by instructor permission, to 3rd and 4th year students. They are 3-credit, multidisciplinary seminars, focused on big topics and limited to max. 15 students each. For detailed descriptions of current offerings, see
SOC 4980: Distinguished Majors Thesis Research
Credits: 3
Independent research, under the supervision of a DM faculty adviser, for the DMP thesis. Prerequisites: SOC 3120 and Admission to the Distinguished Majors Program in Sociology.
SOC 4981: Distinguished Majors Thesis Writing
Credits: 3
Writing of the DMP thesis under the supervision of a DM faculty adviser. Prerequisite: SOC 4980
MDST 7559: New Course in Media Studies
Credits: 1–4
This course provides the opportunity to offer new topics in the subject of Media Studies.
MDST 8900: Graduate Independent Study
Credits: 3
A single semester of independent study under faculty supervision for MA or PhD students doing intensive research on a subject not covered in available courses. Requires approval by a Media Studies faculty member who has agreed to supervise a guided course of reading and research.
SOC 8999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
For master's thesis, taken under the supervision of a thesis director.
SOC 9010: Directed Reading
Credits: 1–12
Independent study with a faculty member. 
SOC 9998: Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.
SOC 9999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.