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Zenia Kish

Assistant Professor

Communication and Digital Media Studies

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Contact information

Bordessa Hall - Room 311
Downtown Oshawa
55 Bond Street East
Oshawa, ON

905.721.8668 ext. 5813


Dr. Zenia Kish is an interdisciplinary scholar committed to publicly-engaged teaching and research that bridges the humanities and social sciences. Her work explores unconventional forms of media across global contexts, including the mediation of philanthropy and agriculture, and makes connections between digital media studies, strategic communication, critical finance studies, American studies, food and agriculture, and development. She is Associate Editor at the Journal of Cultural Economy, and serves on the boards of the Journal of Environmental Media and Communication and Race. Before joining Ontario Tech University, Zenia was Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Tulsa, where she also served as the Associate Director of the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities.

Zenia completed her Master’s degree in Media Studies at Western University and her PhD in American Studies at New York University, before serving as a postdoctoral fellow in the Thinking Matters program at Stanford University. Her research in strategic communication and critical finance studies converges around the media practices of financial actors working in philanthropy, impact investing, and international development, and has been published in Cultural Studies, Environment and Planning A, The Entangled Legacies of Empire, and elsewhere. Her current book project examines the media cultures of philanthropy and ethical investing in the decade following the 2007-08 financial crisis.

Zenia’s work on food, agriculture, and the environment explores representations of food and farming on social media as well as the socio-technical infrastructures reshaping the global agri-food system. Her co-edited book Food Instagram: Identity, Influence and Negotiation (University of Illinois Press 2022, with Emily Contois) offers innovative frameworks and case studies at the intersection of social media studies and food studies, and was awarded the 2023 Best Edited Volume Prize from the Association for the Study of Food and Society. She is a member of the NSF-funded Agri-Food Technology Research Project (UC-AFTeR) based at the University of California, Santa Cruz, which examines how Silicon Valley is reshaping the food and ag tech sectors, including research on tech pitching practices and open data in food and agriculture. She also co-edited a special issue of New Media and Society on “farm media” with Benjamin Peters that opens up new lines of agricultural inquiry for media studies.  

Media coverage of Zenia’s work on Food Instagram includes interviews on Life Matters (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), Good Food (KCRW Los Angeles Public Radio), StudioTulsa (KWGS Public Radio Tulsa), Aca-Media podcast (Society for Cinema and Media Studies), and the New Books Network podcast. Her work has also been featured by Business Insider, Channel 8 Tulsa (ABC), and elsewhere.

While at the University of Tulsa, Zenia was involved in growing public humanities programming through the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities, first as a seminar lead and then as Associate Director. In these roles, she organized numerous talks and events with public intellectuals, musicians, artists, and scholars, including a conference on the future of reproductive rights and freedoms and an expert roundtable on the war on Ukraine.


  • PhD, American Studies New York University, New York, NY
  • MA, Media Studies Western University, London, ON

Research and expertise

Dr. Zenia Kish is a critical cultural scholar with a focus on emerging media technologies and communication practices. Her research interests and expertise include: global digital media; social media; strategic communication; critical finance studies; philanthropy; digital agriculture; food media; international development; racial capitalism; political economy of digital media; Silicon Valley innovation.