John L. Sullivan 

Associate Professor, Media & Communication 
Walson 204


B.A., Pomona College
M.A., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

John L. Sullivan is Associate Professor of Media & Communication at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA.  He earned his B.A. in German and Media Studies from Pomona College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Sullivan’s research explores the links between media industries and systems of social and economic power.  More specifically, he focuses on the constructions of audiences within media organizations, the implementation of U.S. media policies, and on the political economy of cultural production.  Recently, Dr. Sullivan has begun a longer-term project to study the political economy of free, open source software movements (FOSS), particularly the development and maintenance of the Debian Project, a free, GNU/Linux-based operating system which competes with Windows and Mac OSX.  He is currently writing a junior-senior level textbook, Mass Media Audiences: Effects, Users, Institutions, and Power, for Sage Publications, which will appear in 2011. Dr. Sullivn's courses include Media Industries; Free Culture; Communication in the Global Community; Audience Analysis; Media and Society; Media Theory & Methods; Twentieth Century Media; FYS: Get a Life! Media Fans & Cultural Hierarchy; Communication Honors Seminar.

Publications/Presentations (Last 5 years)

Sullivan, J.L. (2010). Software freedom as social justice: Open source software and information control. In S.C. Jansen, J. Pooley, & L. Taub-Pervizpour (eds.), Media and Democracy: Critical Media Scholarship and Social Justice. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Sullivan, J.L. (2010). “Netmedia”, Digital Rights Advocacy, and the Construction of the Open Source Software Movement. Paper presented at the 2010 Conference of the Union of Democratic Communications (UDC), Penn State University, October 14-16.

Sullivan, J.L. (2010). Free, Open Source Software Advocacy as a Social Justice Movement: The Discourse of Digital Rights in the 21st Century. Paper presented at the Journal of Information Technology & Policy (JITP) Conference: “The Politics of Open Source”, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, May 6-7.

Sullivan, J.L. (2009). Leo C. Rosten's Hollywood: Power, Status, and the Primacy of Social Networks in Cultural Production. In V. Mayer, M. Banks & J. Caldwell, (Eds.). Production Studies: Cultural Studies of Media Industries (pp. 39-53). New York: Routledge.

Sullivan, J.L. (2009). Labor consciousness in the open source software community: The case of the Debian Project. Paper presented at the 2009 Conference of the Union of Democratic Communications (UDC), May 28-31, Buffalo, New York.

Sullivan, J.L. (2009). Invisible Institutions: Unmasking Economic and Cultural Power in Media Industries. Panel Presentation given at the 2009 Conference of the Union of Democratic Communications (UDC), May 28-31, Buffalo, New York.

Sullivan, J.L. (2007). Marketing creative labor: Hollywood “making of” documentary features. In K. McKercher & V. Mosco (Eds). Knowledge workers in the information age (pp. 69-83). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Sullivan, J.L. (2007). The formation and implementation of closed captioning policy in the United States. Paper presented at the 35th Annual Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPRC), George Mason University School of Law, Fairfax, Virginia, September 28-30, 2007.

   Sullivan, J.L. (2007). Representations of media production: Hollywood “making of” features and the disappearance of the working class. Paper presented at the Annual             Conference of the International Association for Media & Communication Research (IAMCR), Paris, July 23-26, 2007.

Sullivan, J.L. (2007). Theorizing entertainment media production: A historical review. Paper presented at the 2007 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, Chicago, March 8-11, 2007.

Sullivan, J.L. (2006). Comparing global media: Losing the forest among the trees. A review of Comparing Media from Around the World by Robert McKenzie. Global Media Journal, 5(9). Available at:

Sullivan, J.L. & Jansen, S.C. (2005). E-application etiquette. The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 31.

Sullivan, J.L. (2005). Modeling the audience marketplace. A review of Audience economics: Media institutions and the audience marketplace by Philip M. Napoli. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, 1(1), 152-156.

Sullivan, J.L. (2005). Studying media elites: A methodological review. Paper presented at the 91st Annual Convention of the National Communication Association (NCA), Boston, November 17-20, 2005.