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Tanner Mirrlees

Associate Professor

Undergraduate Program Director

Communication and Digital Media Studies

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Contact information

Bordessa Hall - Room 312
Downtown Oshawa
55 Bond Street East
Oshawa, ON

905.721.8668 ext. 5852


Tanner Mirrlees is an Associate Professor and current Director of the Communication and Digital Media Studies program in the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at Ontario Tech University.

Mirrlees earned a PhD from York University and Toronto Metropolitan University’s Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture, and won the prestigious Governor General’s Gold Medal Award for achieving the highest academic standing in the program. Mirrlees is a past president of the Canadian Communication Association (CCA) (2020-2022), a past organizer of the CCA’s annual conference for the Congress of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (2018-2020), and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Journal of Communication and the US-based critical media studies journal, Democratic Communiqué. Mirrlees is also a member of many national and international research communities: the Petrocultures Research Group, The Tech Lobby Project, the Creators4Change Studio, the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism (CHBE), the Digital Life Institute, the Global Labour Research Centre, and the Centre for Commons Organizing, Values, Equalities and Resilience (COVER).

Mirrlees is the author or co-author of numerous publications, including Work in the Digital Media and Entertainment Industries: A Critical Introduction (Routledge, 2024), Global Entertainment Media: Between Cultural Imperialism and Cultural Globalization (Routledge, 2013), Hearts and Mines: The US Empire's Cultural Industry (UBC Press, 2016), and EdTech Inc.: Selling, Automating and Globalizing Higher Education in the Digital Age (Routledge, 2019). Mirrlees is also the co-editor of Media Imperialism: Continuity and Change (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), Media, Technology, and the Culture of Militarism (Democratic Communiqué, 2014), and The Television Reader (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Mirrlees’ current inter-disciplinary research encompasses: the international political economy; Empire and the cultural and technology industries; energy sustainability, environmental media and green technology; creativity; work and labor in the media and creative industries; war, military futurism, and media technologies; educational sociology and the EdTech industries; social media platform activism, from the socialist Left to the far Right; globalization of entertainment; Internet, platform and AI law, policy and regulation; political communication, PR, propaganda and soft power; popular culture, media representations, and ideology; video games and society; science, technology and society (STS) studies; techno-politics and ethics; critical theory of technology.

A committed educator, Mirrlees is the winner of the University of Guelph-Humber Media Studies Teaching Award (2011) and the Ontario Tech University Faculty of Social Science and Humanities Teaching Award (2014), and has designed over 25 unique social science and humanities courses across disciplines such as communication and digital media studies, political science and international relations, and the sociology of technology. Mirrlees has given over 100 public presentations, with recent keynotes including “Automating Creativity? Questioning AI's Impact on the Arts (for Educators)” for the Hot Docs Teachers Conference, and “The US and China’s Digital Tech War: A New Asymmetric Rivalry. Mirrlees has co-organized over 40 public events (conferences, symposia, and webinars), interviewed with print, radio, TV, digital and podcast media, written op-eds, appeared in documentaries such as Theaters of War (Media Education Foundation), Myths on Screen: Hollywood’s Role in War and Propaganda (CBC IDEAS), and Man Up! The Masculinity Crisis (CBC IDEAS), co-created podcasts including Tech-Bros and Techno-Utopias: A Darts and Letters Mini-Series, authored video essays for YouTube, and designed digital posters, managed social media campaigns, and edited videos for community events. Mirrlees is currently co-creating a new podcast series called Green Dreams: A Podcast Series on Our Renewable Futures (with Dr. Imre Szeman and Cited Media Productions).


  • PhD, Communication and Culture York University and Toronto Metropolitan University

Courses taught

  • Historical and Cultural Perspectives on Globalization 
  • Entertainment Goes Global 
  • Global Media Industries
  • Globalization and the Global Media
  • International Relations and Communication
  • Public Diplomacy as Communication: From the United States to the World
  • Introduction to Communication Studies
  • Mass Communication
  • Information & Society
  • Computer-Mediated Communication
  • Power, Technology and Social Change
  • Communication, Technology and Culture
  • Popular Technologies and Cultural Practice
  • Television as Communication and Culture
  • Subcultures and the Mainstream Media
  • Work in the Digital Age / Work and Labour in the Creative Industries
  • Watching, Analyzing and Making Media, for Digital Media Literacy
  • The Military Publicity State: Cultural Industries Go to War
  • War, Propaganda and Media Culture
  • Digital Media, Politics and Democracy
  • Theories of the State
  • Canadian Foreign Policy

Research and expertise

Dr. Mirrlees is a political economist of digital media technologies and the cultural industries. His research interests include: Empire and communications; globalization and the entertainment industries; work and labor in the digital age; war, militaries, and media-tech; energy sustainability and environmental communication; sociology of education EdTech; Left and Right media activism; social theories of technology