Mish Zimdars

Melissa "Mish"


Academic Title

Associate Professor, Communication and Media

Additional Title

  • Research Affiliate 2021-2022, Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests
  • Television and New Media
  • Critical/Cultural Studies
  • Media Industries
  • Global Media
  • Journalism & Misinformation
Research Summary

I am a critical media studies scholar who analyzes the influences, overlaps and connections between media texts, media industries, communication policies, technologies, audiences and culture. I also analyze “fake news” and other forms of digital (mis)information.

  • Ph.D., Communication Studies (Media Studies), University of Iowa
  • M.A., Media Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • B.A., Journalism, Media Studies, and Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Areas of Expertise
  • Television and New Media
  • Critical/Cultural Studies
  • Media Industries
  • Global Media
  • Journalism & Misinformation
Recent Publications

Zimdars, Melissa and Kembrew McLeod, Fake News: Understanding Media and Misinformation in the Digital Age, MIT Press, Forthcoming February 2020.

Zimdars, Melissa, Watching Our Weights: The Consequences and Contradictions of Televising Fatness in the “Obesity Epidemic, Rutgers University Press, February 2019.

Zimdars, Melissa, “American Housewife and Super Fun Night: Fat Ambiguity and Televised Bodily Comedy,” Fat Studies, July, 19, 2019 (online first).

Zimdars, Melissa, “TLC: Food, Fatness and Spectacular Relatability,” in The New Television Industries: A Guide to Changing Channels, edited by Derek Johnson. New York: Routledge, 2018.

Zimdars, Melissa, “Having It Both Ways: ‘Two and a Half Men,’ ‘Entourage’ and the Televising of Juvenile Postfeminist Masculinity,” Feminist Media Studies, April 4, 2017 (online first).

Zimdars, Melissa, “Inactive Duty: Weight-Loss Television, Military Fatness and Disciplinary Discrepancy,” Television and New Media 18, no. 3 (2017): 218-234.

Zimdars, Melissa, “Fat Acceptance TV? Rethinking Reality Television with TLC’s ‘Big Sexy’ and the ‘Carnivalesque,’” Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture 13, no. 3 (2015): 232-246.

Honors and Awards
  • Zampell Family Faculty Fellow 2021-2022
  • Fellowship, Marion Jasper Whiting Foundation, 2017.
  • Ramona Tomlin Mattson Fellowship, University of Iowa, 2015.
  • Ballard and Seashore Fellowship, University of Iowa, 2014.
  • Top student paper, Mass Communication Division, National Communication Association, 2014.
  • Top student paper, Global Fusion: A Global Media and Communication Conference, 2012.