Assistant Professor Josh Shepperd (University of Wisconsin-Madison) is a media historian who researches the parallels between critical media theory and critical intervention in media practice. He's especially interested in how media institutions play a role in the reproduction of ideology through canonization of memory and messaging. His manuscript Shadow of the New Deal: The Victory of Public Broadcasting is under contact with the University of Illinois Press. The book argues that U.S. public media originated as a grassroots campaign to increase equal access to education through technology during the 1930s. Shadow contributes to contemporary informational, political economic and media industry studies by detailing how New Deal media producers, government agencies and social justice advocates organized a coalition to negotiate an alternative mass media system under dominant commercial and legislative discourses. In 2021 Josh will co-author an update to the official History of Public Broadcasting with Dr. Allison Perlman (University of California-Irvine) for Current and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
As a Fellow of the Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), Josh has worked on numerous grant, digital humanities and sound preservation initiatives. Between 2015 and 2021 Josh organized and directed the Library of Congress Radio Preservation Task Force (RPTF), a cross-sector public humanities project consisting of research, outreach, grantwriting, big data, conference and educational divisions, as well as dozens of public and federal partnerships. From 2018-2020 Josh was a Fellow at Penn State's Center for Humanities and Information (CHI). His scholarship has been supported by the Library of Congress, Mellon Foundation, Rockefeller Archive and LBJ Presidential Library.