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EIU Department of Communication Studies

Faculty and Staff Listing

David Gracon Ph.D. | Associate Professor

Office: 1240 - Coleman Hall
Phone: 217-581-2016 (messages)
Fax: 217-581-5718

David Gracon Ph.D.'s Vita

My research and teaching interests include the political economy of communication (in particular, the music industry), critical cultural studies, film studies, alternative media, visual communication, media/music based subcultures, DIY cultural production, digital video, documentary history, documentary and experimental media production.  I am dedicated to the integration of interdisciplinary knowledge, social justice and creative media production.


I completed my Ph.D. in “Communication and Society” at the University of Oregon in the fall of 2010. I completed my first feature length documentary video titled: Walls of Sound: A Look Inside The House of Records (63 min, 2012, Microcosm Publishing).  The video is a collection of oral histories regarding the House of Records, an independent record store based in Eugene, Oregon (  I took this film on a tour of the Pacific Northwest in October, 2012 and I’m currently screening it at film festivals, community art spaces and libraries.   I am currently organizing a mid-west tour with my retrospective program "Amateur Versus Professional — Experimental Film and Video works 1997-2015.”  I'm also working on the "Ordinary Video Series," a series of short observational documentaries exploring the intersection of nature, media and socially constructed spaces shot on my iPhone.  My film and video works have been screened widely at venues such as the Chicago Underground Film Festival, Seattle Underground Film Festival, New Art Film Festival (Champaign) and the Centro Mexicano para la Música y Artes Sonoras (Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Art; CMMAS by its initials in Spanish). I have also been a participant of the Robert Flaherty Documentary Film Seminar (Colgate University) and the Oberhausen Film Seminar (Oberhausen, Germany) and run/program film events at Hallways Microcinema in Champaign, Illinois.
I have international teaching experience.  I was a participant of the JET Program (Japanese Exchange and Teaching) and taught English in China, Poland and Lithuania via Bridges for Education, a non-profit organization based in Buffalo, NY.  I was also a volunteer builder in Rabinal, Guatemala with Habitat for Humanity during the summer of 2014.

I’m a native of Buffalo, NY and have been invested in post-punk, indie, experimental music scenes, zine communities and college radio; as well as activist orientated experimental film, video and documentary communities and collectives since the mid 90’s.


I was the recipient of the 2011-2012 Michael R. Hoadley Instructional Technology Award (for the innovative use of technology in the classroom). 

I’m the departmental honors coordinator for Communication Studies.  Please visit my office hours if you would like to learn more about the departmental honors program. 

For more detailed information, consult my professional webpage: and my CV.

Summer 2016 "Office" Hours (May 16-June 15): Tuesday 9-11 am via Skype or Mobile Phone (or by appointment).

Frequently Taught Courses

Undergraduate: CMN 2575 Field Production, CMN 4500 Documentary Production, CMN 3500 New Media Practices, CMN 4770 Television Criticism, CMN 4030 Alternative Media, CMN 3570 History of Documentary Film, CMN 3570 History of Alternative Media, FLM 3759 History of Cinema.

Graduate: CMN 5160 Seminar in Mass Media: "Media, Commodity and Spectacle", CMN 5610 Media Criticism, CMN 5160 Seminar in Mass Media: "Alternative Media," CMN 5030 Methods of Critical Inquiry.


Ph.D, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.  Communication and Society.  The School of Journalism and Communication.  September 2010. Dissertation Title: Exiled Records and Over-the-Counter-Culture — A Cultural Political Economic Analysis of the Independent Record Store 

M.A, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (SUNY).  Humanities (the merging of Media Studies (experimental media/documentary video) and Sociology (Critical theory).  September 2001. Thesis Title: Imperial Tourism: Documentary Video (29 min) and a discursive component: A Critical Discussion of Subjectivity, Representation and Experimental Ethnography

B.A, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (SUNY).  Double major in Sociology and Media Studies (Documentary video/experimental media).  May 1999.

Professional Organizations

Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS)
American Culture Association/Popular Culture Association (ACA/PCA)
Union for Democratic Communication (UDC)
Allied Media Conference
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
WEFT Community Radio (Champaign)
Squeaky Wheel, Buffalo Media Resources


Political Economy of Media, Critical Cultural Studies, Alternative Media, Media Based Subcultures, DIY/Radical Media, The Music Industry, New Media, Visual Studies, Documentary Video and Experimental Film and Video.

Link to Walls of Sound — A Look Inside the House of Records trailer:

Selected Publications

Gracon, D. (2015). Through Being Cool: The Political Economy of iTunes in Randy Nichol’s and Gabriela Martinez’s (Eds.) in Profit, Power, and Paucity: Janet Wasko and the Political Economy of Communication, press TBA (In Press)

Perini, J. & Gracon, D.(2013)  Tough Stuff from the Buff in Miriam Paeslack's (Ed.) Ineffably Urban: Imaging Buffalo, Ashgate Publishing. 

Gracon, D. (2009) The Independent Record Store as a Site of Cultural Resistance and Anti-McDonaldization — A Case Study of The House of Records in Robert C. Sickels (Ed.) The Business of Entertainment: Popular Music, Volume 2. Praeger Publishers. 

Selected Conference Presentations

Punk Space: The Influence of Punk and the DIY Spirit of Hallways Microcinema.  National American Culture Association/Popular Cultural Association, New Orleans, Louisiana.  April 2015.                

Notes for the DIY Documentary Filmmaker.   What is Documentary? Conference.  University of Oregon.  Portland, Oregon.  April 2014.

Walls of Sound — A Look Inside the House of Records (screening/discussion).  International Association for the Study of Popular Music, “Music and Labor” Conference.  McMaster University.  Hamilton, Canada.  May 2013. 

Through Being Cool: iTunes and the Political Economy of Music Retail. Union for Democratic Communications, Florida State University.  May 2012.

Fucked Up: The Political Economy of Punk National American Culture Association/Popular Culture Association, Boston, MA. April 2012.

Notes from the ‘Tuff Stuff from the Buff’ Film and Video Tour (Co-authored with Marc Moscato and Julie Perini).  Ineffably Urban Symposium (in conjunction with SUNY Buffalo Arts Management and Humanities Institute).  Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center.  Buffalo, NY.  April 2011 See my CV for a complete listing of my conference presentations. My film and video work has been screened at the following (See CV for a complete listing): Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival, Davis Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Seattle Underground Film Festival, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center (Buffalo, NY), Squeaky Wheel: Buffalo Media Resources, Pacific Cinematheque (Vancouver, Canada), Sarah Lawerence College Experimental Film and Video Festival, Trans Tech 2001: The Toronto International Video Art Biennial, Euro Underground Film Festival (Maribor, Slovenia),  Super 8 Film and Video Festival (Rutgers University), From Zine to Screen, Liberty Hall (Portland, Oregon), New Music and Video Art: Machinohana-San Gallery (Kanazawa, Japan).


1. Walls of Sound — A Look Inside the House of Records Fall 2012 Pacific Northwest Film Tour:

2. Co-Curator of the Tuff Stuff From the Buff Film and Video Bicycle Tour:

3. Le Tigre Screening and Presentation:

4. Alternative Media Fieldtrip:

5. Co-Curator of the Champaign-Urbana Independent Media Center Film Festival:

6. Promoter of the Found Footage Festival:

7. Student Documentary Screening:



































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Contact Information

Department of Communication Studies

Coleman Hall 1260
600 Lincoln Ave Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-5718

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