New Communication professor connects media to gender identity

| Author: Hadlee Rinn | Media Contact: Kara Owens

Aiden Kosciesza, Ph.D., joined the School of Communication, Journalism, and Media this fall with hopes to continue his research with the LGBTQ+ community and begin new research projects. Kosciesza taught for 8 years at the Community College of Philadelphia and received his Ph.D. in Media and Communication in 2023 from Temple University. 

Kosciesza is a specialist in media studies and gender studies, specifically transgender identities and media audiences. His dissertation focused on how transgender people use transcultural media in processes of gender identification. For this project, he interviewed transgender Americans using Japanese media and transgender Japanese people using American media. He worked to gain knowledge on the gender representations individuals saw as “non-local” and how this impacted their understanding of their own gender identity.  

Kosciesza plans to turn this dissertation into a book and do more “on the ground” interviews in Japan. Kosciesza previously lived in Japan from 2007 – 2010 as a part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. Kosciesza says, “[I lived in Japan during] a time in my life when I was negotiating my own identity [as a transgender man] and it was interesting to do that in a country I did not grow up in. This shaped how I came to understand my own gender and I became interested in transcultural communication and media.” 

On his decision to move to CMU, Kosciesza hopes to learn more about indigenous people and the Chippewa nation. He is very interested in indigenous gender identities, specifically two-spirit identities. Kosciesza says, “I would like to be able to talk with the folks in the community about their media consumption and images of gender they are using as resources in their own lives. […] Indigenous communities are living in a transcultural environment all the time [because] these communities are located within and alongside a larger, more dominant North American media culture.”  

In the classroom, Kosciesza is hoping to implement more experiential learning by having at least one field experience per class. This semester Kosciesza is teaching Interpersonal Communication and Gender Communication and led a class trip to a drag performance at the Broadway Theatre in Mt. Pleasant.  

As a message to the campus community, Kosciesza says, “I’m really excited to meet students. Come talk to me about the research project you want to do. Come talk to me about trans identities. Come talk to me about studying or working abroad.” 

This story is brought to you by the  Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

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