Kathryn Claire Higgins, Ph.D.
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Annenberg Center for Collaborative Communication
Kathryn Claire Higgins is a scholar of communication, culture, and the politics of vulnerability. Her work explores the meanings and messages that uphold practices of exploitation, domination, and violence – especially, those we call safety or justice.
Kathryn Claire (Kat) Higgins is a critical interdisciplinary scholar of communication, culture, and the politics of vulnerability. Her research is concerned with how violence gains access to moral justification through the meaning-making work of communication, and in particular through the language and logics of security.
Higgins’ approach coalesces media and journalism studies, critical discourse analysis, critical security studies, feminist theory, and the sociology of criminalization and state violence. Her doctoral project, Realness, Wrongness, Justice: Exploring Criminalization as a Mediated Politics of Vulnerability, worked with an abolitionist ethic to examine the symbolic operations of vulnerability politics in Australian crime journalism. Her analysis, which she is currently transforming into a first solo-authored monograph, offers a radically expanded account of how news media criminalize and a framework for a decriminalized journalism of harm.
Higgins’ first book, Believability: Sexual Violence, Media, and the Politics of Doubt (with Sarah Banet-Weiser, 2023) is forthcoming with Polity Press. It explores how the believability of sexual violence is being negotiated through media texts, platforms and technologies in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement and amid the rise of ‘post-truth’ politics. Higgins and Banet-Weiser offer a feminist retelling of our post-truth predicament by centering the endemic historical doubtfulness of sexual harms, and so too of those most often harmed: women, queer people of all genders, and racialized subjects.
Higgins’ writing and research have been spotlighted by Al Jazeera English and the BBC, among others. Her work has been published in a variety of leading peer-reviewed academic journals, including Journalism, Feminist Media Studies, Visual Communication and Television and New Media, as well as public outlets like Progressive International. She is the recipient of two Top Student Paper awards from the International Communication Association (Visual Communication Studies, 2021; Philosophy, Theory and Critique, 2022).
- B.A., RMIT University, 2013
- M.Sc., London School of Economics and Political Science, 2015
- Ph.D., London School of Economics and Political Science, 2022
Believability: Sexual Violence, Media, and the Politics of Doubt. With Sarah Banet-Weiser. Polity Press, 2023.
“Rethinking Visual Criminalization: News Images and the Mediated Spacetime of Crime Events.” Visual Communication, 2022.
“Television and the “Honest” Woman: Mediating the Labor of Believability.” Television and New Media, 2022.
- COMM 2012 Journalism, Crime, and Justice