Sara J Bannerman
Professor, Communication Studies & Media Arts

Sara Bannerman joined McMaster in 2011 and was appointed Canada Research Chair in Communication Policy and Governance in 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Queen’s University, and an MA (2004) and a PhD (2009) in communication studies from Carleton University.

Dr. Bannerman researches communications policy and governance. She researches traditional forms of governance such as copyright, intellectual property, and privacy law, as well as governance undertaken through non-state actors: governance by code, technologies, and private companies. For example, she examines:
• The regulation of algorithmic recommendation systems, such as those on Netflix
• Privacy in the context of networked technologies and networked selves
• Platform regulation and lobbying
• Cultural funding, including government funding (grants), private company funding (labels), and technologies (crowdfunding and Kickstarter)
• International copyright in relation to "development" and "sustainable development"
• Copyright and access to knowledge

Dr. Bannerman is the author of Canadian Communication Policy and Law (Canadian Scholars, 2020), examining Canadian telecommunications policy, broadcasting policy, internet regulation, freedom of expression, censorship, defamation, privacy, government surveillance, intellectual property, and more. She has published two books on international copyright: International Copyright and Access to Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and The Struggle for Canadian Copyright: Imperialism to Internationalism, 1842-1971 (UBC Press, 2013), as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on international copyright, international copyright history, same-sex marriage, and other topics in new media, traditional media, and communications theory.

Dr. Bannerman supervises in several of McMaster's graduate programs: the PhD program in Communication, New Media, and Cultural Studies; the MA program in Communication and New Media; the MA program in Globalization Studies; and the MA program in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory. She has supervised projects on social media and the music industry, hactivism, libel, internet memes, artificial intelligence and intellectual property, copyright and employment, crowdfunding music, activist use of social media and blogging, the right to tinker, broadcasting policy, online public consultations, and the use of twitter by politicians and in elections.

She teaches on research methods (employing interviews, online surveys, legal research, policy research, and archival / historical research in her own work), communication theory, the political economy of communications, intellectual property, communications policy and law, and media and social activism.

Dr. Bannerman is a Governing Board member of the International Society for the Theory and History of Intellectual Property. She directs McMaster's Communications Governance Observatory.
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