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Lorna Roth

Distinguished Professor Emerita, Communication Studies

Lorna Roth
Availability: Mon - 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM

Wed - 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM

Call or e-mail to arrange an appointment on an ad hoc basis.


BA, Sociology, Sir George Williams University

MA, Communications, McGill University

PhD, Communications, Concordia University, Montreal

Teaching interests

Media and Minorities, Neo-Colonial Theory and “Development,” Race, Representation, & Technologies, International Communication, Indigenous Television and Media History, New Media and First Peoples, Mediating Oral Histories, Oral History as Cultural Performance, Civic Journalism.


Coms 419/519 -  Communication and Indigenous Peoples
Coms 473/547 -  International Communications

Research projects

Current research and book project (in progress)

Colour Balance: Race, Technologies, and “Intelligent Design”, a book in which I am examining the ways in which skin colour has been imagined, embedded and colour-shifted over time in products and technologies.

Chapters include:

Picturing Diversity, a photo essay on race and representation.

Flesh in Wax and Other Tales of Many Colours.

“Look! They Painted That White Girl Black!” Reflections on the Ethnicization of Display Mannequins.

More Than Skin Deep: The Color Balance Project in North American Industries of Visual Representation.

Technological Passing.

The Colour Balance Project: A Cosmetic Recognition of Difference?

The Colour Balance Project: Preliminary Reflections on its Contribution to Alternative Media Theory.

Looking for Shirley, the Ultimate Norm.

Selected publications

Publications on media and minorities

Lorna Roth, Leen d’Haenens, and Thierry Le Brun. 2011. "No longer the 'other':

A reflection on diversity in Canadian fiction television,” in Gazette. Special Issue

on Media and Diversity, pp. 1 – 20. Peer reviewed.

Roth, Lorna. 2,000. “Reflections on the Colour of the Internet,” in Journalism and Communication. Chinese (Mandarin) Translation by Dr. Zhenshi Guo.. Beijing: Beijing Broadcasting Institute. Vol. 7. No. 3, pp. 78 – 84.

Roth, Lorna. (1998 ) “The Delicate Acts of “Colour Balancing:” Multiculturalism and Canadian Television Broadcasting Policies and Practices,” in Canadian Journal of Communication. Vol. 23, No. 4. Autumn, p. 487 – 506.

Roth, Lorna. (1998 ) “The Delicate Acts of “Colour Balancing:” Multiculturalism and Canadian Television Broadcasting Policies and Practices,” in Australian-Canadian Studies. Special Communication Issue. Vol. 16, No. 2, p. 65 – 82.

Roth, Lorna. 1996. “The Politics and Ethics of “Inclusion”. Alia, Valerie, Brian Brennan and Barry Hofmaster (eds.). Deadlines and Diveristy: Journalism Ethics in a Changing World. Halifax: Fernwood Press, p. 72 – 91.

Aboriginal media publications


Roth, Lorna. 2005. Something New in the Air: The Story of First Peoples Television in Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press.

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals and Chapters in Books:

Roth,Lorna.  2013.  “Canadian First Peoples’ Mediascapes:  (Re)framing a Snapshot with Three Corners,”in Leslie Shade (ed.).  Mediascapes.  Toronto: Thomson, pp. 364 – 389. Peer-Reviewed.

Lorna Roth. 2011. “First Peoples’ Television in Canada: Origins of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network,” in Bredin, Marion and Sigurjon B. Hafsteinsson(eds.) Indigenous Screen Cultures. Winnipeg: University of Manitobe Press. Chapter 1, pp. 17 – 34.  Peer reviewed.

Roth, Lorna. 2010. “The Social Movement of Indigenous Media in Canada’” in John Downing (ed.), Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media. London: Sage Publications.

Roth, Lorna. 2009. “Canadian First Peoples’ Mediascapes: A Snapshot with Three Corners,” in Mediascapes. Leslie Shade (ed.) Thomson Publications.

Roth,Lorna.  2007.  In Memory of Gail Guthrie Valaskakis 1939 –2007:  A Personal View. Canadian Journal of Communication.  Vol.32 (2007): 621 - 628.

Roth, Lorna. 2007. ‘(re)Colouring the Public Broadcasting System in Canada: A Case Study of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network,’ in Fuller, Linda K. (ed.) Community Media: International Perspectives (Aboriginal/ Indigenous Experiences, Current Case Studies, Virtual Community Visions. London: Sage Publications.

Roth, Lorna. October, 2006. ‘Snapshots & Dialogues: Canadian Ethnic Television Broadcasting and Social Cohesion,’ in New Citizens, New Policies? Developments in diversity Policy in Canada and Flanders. Gent: Academia Press, pp. 171 - 200.

Roth,Lorna.  Spring, 2006 . “Views,” in EthicalSpace.  Leeds, U.K.

Roth, Lorna. 2005. (Revised and republished). ‘First Peoples’ Television in Canada’s North: A Case Study of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network,’ in Mediascapes: New Patterns in Canadian Communication. Attallah, Paul and Leslie Shade (eds.). Toronto: Nelson Thomson Learning. Original Publication in 2002.

FayeGinsberg and Lorna Roth, 2005.  “CASESTUDY:  Indigenous Television,” in  Creeber, Glen, ed.  TELE-visions:  An Introduction to Studying Television.London:  British Film Institute.

Roth, Lorna and Faye Ginsburg. 2003. “Thinking Outside the Box: Indigenous Television in Australia and Canada,” in Miller, Toby (ed.). The Television Book. London: British Film Institute.

Roth, Lorna. 2002. “First Peoples’ Television in Canada’s North: A Case Study of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network,” in Mediascapes: New Patterns in Canadian Communication. Attallah, Paul and Leslie Shade (eds.). Toronto: Nelson Thomson Learning.

Roth,Lorna.  (2000)  “The Crossing of Borders and the Building ofBridges:  Steps in the Construction ofthe Aboriginal Peoples Television Network in Canada,” Special Issue on CanadianCommunications. Gazette (International Journal of CommunicationStudies.  Vol. 62(3-4):251-269.    Sage Publications.  London. Thousand Oaks and New Delhi.

Roth, Lorna. 1999. “How Comfortably Does the Internet Sit on Canada’s Tundra? Reflections on Public Access to the Information Highway in the North” in d”Haenens, Leen (ed.). Cyberidentities: Canadian & European Presence in Cyberspace. University of Ottawa Press, p. 83 – 97.

Roth, Lorna. 1998. “Television Broadcasting North of 60,” in Images of Canadianness. Visions on Canada’s Politics, Culture, Economics. Leen d’Haenens, ed. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press – International Canadian Studies Series, p. 147 – 166.

Roth, Lorna. 1996. “Northern Voices and Mediating Structures: First Peoples’ Television Broadcasting North of 60,” in Holmes, Helen and David Taras (eds.). Seeing Ourselves: Media Power and Policy in Canada. Second Edition. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Canada Inc., p. 173 – 191.

Roth, Lorna, with Bev Nelson and Marie David. 1995. “Three Women, a Mouse, a Microphone, and a Telephone: Information (Mis)Management During the Mohawk/Canadian Governments’ Conflict of 1990,” in Feminism, Multiculturalism, and the Media: Global Diversities. Angara Valdivia (ed.), Pennsylvania State University. Sage Publication, p. 48 – 81.

Roth, Lorna. 1995. “Radio Mohawk et dialogues culturels: Réflexions sur l’émission ‘The Party Line’ de Radio-Kahnawake,” in Sauvageau, Florion, Pierre Trudel, Marie-Héléne Lavoie (eds.). Les tribuns de la radio: échos de la crise d’Oka. Québec: Institut québécois de recherche sur la culture, p. 85 – 102.

Roth, Lorna. 1995. “(de)Romancing the North,” Borderlines. Special Issue on Race. Issue No. 36: 36 – 43.

Roth, Lorna. 1993. “Mohawk Airwaves and Cultural Challenges: Some Reflections on the Politics of Recognition and Cultural Appropriation After the Summer of 1990,” Canadian Journal of Communications – Special Thematic Issue on Indigenous Peoples and Communications. Volume 18. No. 3. Summer: 315 – 331.

Roth, Lorna. 1993. “Constituency-based Broadcasting Policy: A Canadian Perspective”, Chapter in Brian Lewis (ed.). Conference Proceedings. Comparative Japanese/Canadian Communication and Cultural Policies.

Roth, Lorna. 1992. “Media and the Commodification of Crisis,” chapter in Raboy, Marc and Bernard Dagenais (eds.). Media, Crisis and Democracy: Essays on Mass Communication and the Disruption of Social Order. Sage Publication: Media, Culture and Society Book Series, p. 144 – 161.

Roth, Lorna, with Gail Valaskakis. 1989. “Aboriginal Broadcasting in Canada: A Case Study in Democratization,” in Raboy, Marc and Peter A. Bruck (eds.) Communication For and Against Democracy. Montreal: Black Rose Books, p. 221 – 234.

Roth, Lorna. 1991. “The Role of CBC Northern Service in the Federal Election Process”. Study commissioned by the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing. Fletcher, Frederick J. (ed.). Election Broadcasting in Canada. Volume 21. Toronto: Dundurn Press, p. 303 – 346.

Colour Balance: Race, Visual Technologies, & Intelligent Design

Roth, Lorna. 2012.  "The Fade-Out of Shirley, a Once-Ultimate Norm:  Colour Balance, Image Technologies, and Cognitive Equity," in Ron Hall (ed.).  The Melanin Millennium:  Skin Color as the 21st Century International Discourse.  Springer Publications.  Peer-Reviewed.

Roth, Lorna. 2011. “Flesh in Wax : Demystifying the Skin Colors of the Common Crayon,” in Jonathan Finn (Ed.). Images in Action: Readings in Visual Communication and Culture. Oxford University Press.  Chapter 6, pp. 73 -85.  Peer reviewed.

“FaceValue, Skin Colour and Intelligent Technologies,” Gerard Reteiglezing.25th Jubilee Lecture (Published), National Multicultural Television Network,Amsterdam, 17 February, 2010.

Roth, Lorna. April, 2009.  “Looking at Shirley, the Ultimate Norm:  Colour Balance, Image Technologies, and Cognitive Equity,” in Canadian Journal of Communication.  Vol 34, No. 1, 2009:  111 – 136.

Roth, Lorna.  April 9, 2009.  “Home on the Range: Kids, Visual Culture, and Cognitive Equity,” in Cultural Studies /Critical Methodologies, Special Issue on Race and Kids Culture. 

Web Publication

LornaRoth,  “Voices from Sunnyvale Trailer Park: the US Meets Canada Via the Trailer Park Boys” posted on  In Media Res, April 9, 2009. Located at

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