My main teaching areas encompass advertising, consumption, controversial product marketing, and media history. The MIT courses I offer include: Advertising's Century (MIT 3325) and Consumerism and Advertising (MIT 4034)
I also teach in the Media Studies M.A. Program ("Research, Writing & Argumentation").
Recently, my research has dealt with the marketing and advertising of cigarettes in Canada. Recent publications in this vein include:
-Cigarette Nation: Business, Health, and Canadian Smokers, 1930-1975 (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021)
-“Imperial Tobacco, Market Research, and Canadian Teens, 1960-1988,” in Kyle Asquith, ed., Advertising, Consumer Culture, and Canadian Society (Oxford University Press, 2018), 53-70
-“Cigarette Marketing and Smoking Culture in 1930s-era Canada,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 25, 1 (June 2015), 63-105
I'm currently at work on a book-length project exploring the cultural and business history of youth smoking and vaping from the 1970s until 2020.
I have a general interest in the historical development of mass media
and processes of commercialization. These themes are taken up in my
edited book, Communication History in Canada, (Oxford University Press, 2004; 2nd ed. 2009), and in the co-edited book (with Gene Allen), Communicating in Canada's Past: Approaches to the History of Print and Broadcast Media,
(University of Toronto Press, 2009), along with the article: “’Part of
the University Lexicon’: Marketing and Ontario Universities,” Canadian
Journal of Communication, 38, 4 (2013), 563-584 (and L. Bolan).
My early research examined the rise of public opinion polling and marketing research, which is discussed at length in The Measure of Democracy: Polling, Market Research, and Public Life, 1930-1945 (University of Toronto Press, 1999)
I'm interested in supervising PhD dissertations in the following areas:
-advertising, marketing, public relations, promotional culture
-historical/contemporary controversial product marketing and regulation (e.g. cigarettes, vaping, lotteries/casinos, opioids)
-history of mass media
For MA students, in addition to the above, areas of interest include:
-sport, society, and culture