Cerianne Robertson Named 2024-26 George Gerbner Postdoctoral Fellow

At USC Annenberg, Robertson has studied media narratives and discourses that sustain power relations, particularly for cites and sports mega-events.

By Gillian Duffalo

Cerianne Robertson has been named the 2024-26 George Gerbner Postdoctoral Fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Her appointment will begin September 1, 2024.  

The George Gerbner Fellowship, named in honor of the school’s second dean, is awarded in alternate years to a graduate of Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication or USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The faculty of the opposite school selects the recipient from the group of applicants.

Cerianne Robertson
Cerianne Robertson

Robertson will earn her Ph.D. in Communication in May 2024 after completing her dissertation, “The Stadium and the Community: Refusal, Resistance, and Negotiation Around Los Angeles’ Olympic Stadiums.”  

Her research investigates the politics of stadium-centered development in Los Angeles in the context of the region’s preparations to host the Olympics in 2028. At USC, she received the Haynes Lindley Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for 2022-2023 and the Annenberg Graduate School Fellowship for 2023-2024. 

Prior to beginning her doctoral work at Annenberg, Robertson completed a master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Cambridge, where her thesis also related to the Olympics: “Contesting the media event: Alternative media at the Rio 2016 Olympics.” She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies from Harvard University.

Robertson focuses on how power is formed, networked, wielded, and challenged in contests over cities’ futures. She researches spectacular urban development projects and sports mega-events, as well as everyday struggles for survival and dignity.  

Her work has appeared in academic journals such as International Journal of Communication, Journal of Urban Technology, Interface, and Communication & Sport. She has been invited to write book chapters that have been published in Oxford University Press and Routledge.

She has worked in the United States, South Africa, Botswana, Germany, and Brazil. Her academic service includes ad hoc reviews for the Journal of Urban Affairs and International Journal of Communication. In May 2022, she co-organized a panel at the International Communication Association conference, “Olympics, Media, Discourse, and Power.” She has also presented at other conferences including those for the American Association of Geographers, North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, and American Sociological Association.