LSU Assistant Professor Asha Winfield Earns National Faculty Award, Outstanding Dissertation for Research on Lived Experiences of Black Americans

Asha Winfield October 21, 2022 

BATON ROUGE — Critical and cultural media scholar Asha Winfield, Ph.D., has been awarded the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award and the National Communication Association's (NCA) Outstanding Dissertation Award, among other honors this year, for her research on Black health and Black representation in media.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) recognized Winfield as one of 41 distinguished scholars nationwide for its Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. She earned the award for her project, “A Case for Interdisciplinary Collaborations to Improve Social Determinants of Health: Documenting the Impacts of COVID-19 on Black Communities.” One of five awardees in the health disparities and health equity discipline, Winfield was selected from 155 applications representing 87 ORAU member institutions for groundbreaking work in this area.

Winfield also received NCA’s Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Dissertation Award for her dissertation, "'I Don't See Myself:’ Exploring Reception to Hollywood's Construction of Memory Through Black Women's Biopics” in September. 

The dissertation explores Black American women’s silhouetted representation in Hollywood’s version of history. In the dissertation, Winfield frames new concepts, such as “intersectional call and response” and “Black living room pedagogy,” to explain how Black memories and storytellers shape how Black history is learned.  

“We are so fortunate to have Dr. Winfield on our faculty,” said Josh Grimm, interim dean of the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. “Her work is powerful, innovative and rooted in storytelling, which is exactly what we teach at Manship. We are thrilled for her.”

The element of storytelling, a staple in Winfield’s research, set the scholar apart from her competitors. Winfield used photovoice, a participatory methodology incorporating semi-structured interviews and photos that allowed participants to identify important issues, in her research to share the experiences of Black Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since joining LSU, Winfield started The Storytellers Lab, a research initiative comprised of scholars, community members and leaders, students and friends who use interpretative and arts-based qualitative methods to shed light on identity, culture and society through diverse perspectives and stories.

Additionally, Winfield’s research project, “The Dirty South: COVID-19, Environmental Justice, & The Stories They Tell,” resulted in an SEC Faculty Travel Grant between LSU and Texas A&M University. Focused on the cultural storytelling of Black American communities, this interdisciplinary project brings together public health, communication and arts-based methods to tell the stories of those located at the nexus of racial and environmental injustices in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.

The research project and her documentary, “Black Experiences with COVID-19, Media, Mourning & Faith,” about the ramifications of COVID-19 on the livelihoods and health of 30 Black Americans, earned Winfield additional funding from LSU’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs and the Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M University.

“Ultimately, I just want to do good work wherever I am planted because my community and my students deserve that. ... Every time I am listed as a recipient, it shines a light on the work we are doing and who it is for, and for that, I am eternally grateful,” Winfield said. 

To learn more about Winfield, visit the Manship School’s blog:

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LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication ranks among the strongest collegiate communication programs in the country, with its robust emphasis on media and public affairs. It offers undergraduate degrees in public relations, journalism, political communication, digital advertising and pre-law, along with four graduate degree programs: Master of Mass Communication, Ph.D. in Media and Public Affairs, Certificate of Strategic Communication and a dual MMC/Law degree. Like us on Facebook @ManshipSchool or follow us on Twitter @ManshipSchool, Instagram @ManshipSchool and LinkedIn LSU Manship School of Mass Communication.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts and access to a consortium of more than 150 colleges and universities, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. 

The National Communication Association (NCA) serves the scholars, teachers, and practitioners who are its members by enabling and supporting their professional interests in research and teaching. Dedicated to fostering and promoting free and ethical communication, NCA promotes the widespread appreciation of the importance of communication in public and private life, the application of competent communication to improve the quality of human life and relationships, and the use of knowledge about communication to solve human problems.