1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Christopher Ali

Assistant Professor

226 Wilson Hall

Office Hours:

W 12:00pm - 5:00pm

Class Schedule:

MDST 3405: Media Policy and Law

Dr. Christopher Ali is an Assistant Professor in Department of Media Studies. He joined the Department in the fall of 2013, after completing his PhD at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds degrees from Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) and the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada).

Dr. Ali’s research interests lie at the intersection of communication policy and regulation, critical theory, comparative media systems studies, and localism. More specifically, his research has attempted to better understand local, public and community media regulation, policy and discourse in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada through a critical lens.

His doctoral dissertation was a comparative critical analysis of “localism” in communication regulation from 2000-2012 in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. The project, which received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Award, examines how concepts such as “local,” “region,” “community,” and “place” are discursively constructed through regulation in the digital age.

He has served as an intern to the FCC’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy, working on the noncommercial and public media chapters of the 2011 Information Needs of Communities report. He has also been a researcher for the Center for Social Media at American University working on various projects cataloging innovations in local and public media.

Dr. Ali has published in numerous scholarly journals including Media, Culture and Society, The International Journal of Communication, the International Communication Gazette and the Canadian Journal of Communication. In addition to these articles, he is the co-author (with Dr. Elihu Katz and Dr. Joohan Kim) of the book, Echoes of Gabriel Tarde: What we know better or different 100 years later (USC Annenberg Press. 2014)His next book project will be based on his doctoral dissertation research and is tentatively titled The Policies of Place: A Political Economy of Media Localism.

Dr. Ali will be teaching such courses as Media Policy and Law, Global Media, and Political Economy.

Research Interests: Communication Policy; Canadian, American, and British Communication Policy; Localism; Local Media; Public & Community Media; Comparative Media Systems; Critical Theory; Critical Political Economy; Normative Theory; Theories of the Public and Public Sphere; Deliberative Democracy

Curriculum Vitae


Echoes of Gabriel Tarde: What We Know Better or Different 100 Years Later

USC Annenberg Press, May 2014

Originally published in 1898, Gabriel Tarde’s essay “Opinion and Conversation” can be read as a series of propositions about the interaction of press, conversation, opinion and action, anticipating today’s “deliberative democracy.”

Exploring these themes in a hyper-text “dialogue” with Tarde, Elihu Katz, Christopher Ali, and Joohan Kim ask what we know better or different 100 years later in this book. The aim is not only to reawaken attention to Tarde’s text, but to assess the progress of communications research in its light. The e-book’s format makes it possible to access the essay as a series of propositions, foreshadowing contemporary concerns with issues such as agenda setting, public opinion formation, the diffusion of innovation, the two-step flow of communication, the role of the press in nation-building, new media technologies, the normative role of media in a democracy, media events, and the like. The e-book includes an analytic Introduction, a biographical postscript and the first full English translation of Tarde’s essay. Long overlooked, “Opinion and Conversation” deserves to be canonized as foundational for theories that link mass and interpersonal communication, especially in the age of social media.