Helen Morgan Parmett is the Edwin W. Lawrence Endowed Professor of Forensics and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theater. She is also Director of the Speech and Debate Program and the Lawrence Debate Union. She completed her B.A. at the University of Vermont (2000), graduating summa cum laude with a degree in Sociology and Political Science and a minor in Speech. While at UVM, she was an active member of the Lawrence Debate Union, qualifying to elimination rounds at the National Debate Tournament and the Cross Examination Debate Association national tournament. After graduating, she completed her M.A. at the University of Pittsburgh (2002) in the Department of Communication Studies, with emphases in Rhetoric and Media Studies. After completing her M.A., she returned to UVM as a Lecturer and Assistant Debate Coach of the Lawrence Debate Union, where she coached the team to numerous novice, JV, and Varsity Championships. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (2012) in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Critical Media Studies. Prior to coming to UVM, she was an Assistant Professor in Communication Studies at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA (2012-2016).
Morgan-Parmett’s work centers on critical media studies, where she considers the role of media in struggles over social, cultural, economic, and political power, focusing on relationships between media and urban space, identity, branding, cultural policy, television studies, and production studies. Being question driven, her research frequently engages other disciplines, including Geography, Urban Studies, and Sociology, in concert with Communication, Rhetoric, and Media Studies, thus bridging hitherto disparate disciplines to find productive points in which their research might influence the other. Informed by this broader interdisciplinary approach to research, her current program of scholarship focuses on the intersections between media, urban space, and race/ethnicity in both contemporary and historical contexts. Her research is invested in how media’s production practices (particularly those of radio, film, TV, interactive new media, and sports media) are materially implicated in urban spatiality and the constitution of place, especially in the production of racialized senses of place and the urban neighborhood. She is currently completing her monograph, Down in Treme: Race, Place, and New Orleans on Television, which takes the HBO series Treme as a case study for theorizing television production as a spatial practice. Specifically, the book considers how city policy and shifts in the “postbroadcast” television industry situates television industries and technologies, and productions like Treme in particular, as a cultural and economic means to rectify racial, class, and spatial antagonisms made manifest during Hurricane Katrina. Additionally, she is working on a co-authored book on third generation stadium building, which considers how the new generation of sports teams’ stadiums work as components of convergent media industries, reconstructing urban landscapes and constituting a consequent “sportification of place.” Her work has been published in the journals Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies; The Journal of Radio and Audio Media; Continuum: The Journal of Media and Cultural Studies; Television and New Media; The Journal of Sport and Social Issues; Communication, Culture & Critique; Mediascape; and is forthcoming in Textual Practice.
In addition to teaching, research, and coaching debate, Helen enjoys being outdoors, spending time with her family, watching and talking about the new “golden age” of television, and discussing politics. She is thrilled to be returning to New England and the University of Vermont and to lead the Lawrence Debate Union into its next era.