Sheri Parks

Sheri Parks’ research focuses on public aesthetics, with particular concern for popular culture as public mythology and its effect upon individuals, families and minority cultures. Her book Fierce Angels: The Strong Black Woman in American Life and Culture will be released in paperback edition in April of 2013. She is an active public intellectual, appearing in national and local media, and is in demand as a public speaker. Dr. Parks is active in the university’s civic engagement initiatives, as a steering committee member of the Coalition for Civic Engagement and as an instructor whose classes often include projects that benefit non-profit associations. In 2008 she was recognized by the campus as the Outstanding Woman of Color and as Faculty of the Year in the University Honors Program.

As of July 16, 2012, Dr. Parks is serving as ARHU Associate Dean for Research, Interdisciplinary Scholarship and Programming to support the advancement and promotion of research and scholarship in the arts and humanities.


  • Ph.D. Communication Studies (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1985)
  • M.A. Communication Studies (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1983)
  • B.A. English and Radio, Television and Motion Pictures (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1978)


  • Fierce Angels: The Strong Black Woman in American Life and Culture. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2010.
  • “Black Families and the Media.” Managing Black/White Tensions at Home: Family Communication and Ethnic Cultural Diversity. Ed. T. Socha and R. Diggs. New York: Erlbaum, 1999.
  • “Through Our Own Eyes.” Black Film Review March 1995.
  • “Ridicule as an Educational Corrective.” Journal Of Educational Psychology 73 1981. 722-27.
  • “In My Mother’s House: Traditional Black Feminism in the PBS production of A Raisin in the Sun.” Theatre and Feminist Aesthetics. Ed. K. Laughlin and C. Schuler. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson, 1995.
  • “In My Mother’s House: Black Feminist Aesthetics, Television and A Raisin in the Sun.” Feminism and Theater. Ed. C. Schuler. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson, 1993.
  • “Feminism in the Lives of Ordinary Women.” Barnard College Occasional Papers. Fall 1990.
  • “The Effect of Ridiculing a Television Model on Children’s Imitation of the Model’s Behavior.” Human Communication Research 10 1983. 243-55.

Courses Taught:

  • Marginality and Popular Culture (graduate)
  • Black Mother and Popular Mythology (graduate)
  • Social Activism and New Media (graduate)
  • Gender Roles and Media (undergraduate)
  • Family and Popular Culture (undergraduate)
  • Children and Television (undergraduate)
  • Social Activism and Popular Culture (undergraduate and graduate)