McClennen honored with Kopp International Achievement Award

SIA professor Sophia McClennen

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Sophia McClennen, associate director of the Penn State School of International Affairs, has been awarded Penn State’s 2016 LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award.

The annual award, named in honor of Penn State’s late deputy vice president for international programs, recognizes a Penn State faculty member who has contributed significantly to the advancement of the international mission of the University. Honorees demonstrate international achievement above and beyond the scope of their normal duties, particularly in international education, improving relations among people from different regions of the world, and their commitment to meeting the needs of Penn State community members from other countries. .

McClennen, who is also the founding director of the Penn State Center for Global Studies, and a professor of comparative literature and international affairs, focuses her research on education and international area studies, with particular attention to how multidisciplinary approaches enhance understanding of global issues. She is particularly interested in the way that the media can influence ideas of civic agency and national ideals and she is one of the nation’s leading experts on the connections between satire, democracy, and the public sphere.

McClennen regularly lectures on cultural identity, ethics, and cross-cultural communication and she is working on a method for minimizing the role of cultural bias in conflict. She teaches courses in cultures of globalization, cross-cultural conflict resolution, human rights culture, global media, the cultures of displaced peoples, cultural trade policy, and theories of globalization.

“The question I comment on is how culture, politics, and society intersect,” she said. “I analyze the link between political events and their media representations, and the relationship between mainstream culture, politics, bias, and social injustice.”

McClennen has published nine books and has two in process. Her most recent book is The Routledge Companion to Human Rights and Literature (2015), co-edited with Alexandra Schultheis Moore, which includes over 50 contributions to the topic. She also recently published, Is Satire Saving our Nation? Mockery and American Politics (Palgrave 2014), co-authored with then-Penn State communications undergraduate Remy Maisel, and Neoliberalism, Terrorism, Education (Paradigm 2013), which she co-wrote with Jeffrey Di Leo, Henry Giroux, and Kenneth Saltman. Her next major media studies project is Globalization and Latin American Cinema, which focuses on the ways that a number of films from Latin America reflect national and international cultural policies, shifts in production and consumption of cinema, and changing identity constructions.

In 2006 she was the Fulbright Research Chair in Globalization and Cultural Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and she also held a Fulbright faculty award in Peru in 2002. She has taught in Chile, Canada, Germany, Kazakhstan, and Peru, and has conducted research in those countries as well as in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Spain, Guatemala, Uruguay, and Costa Rica.

She writes regularly for Salon and has published in Huffington Post, Daily Beast, Truthout, Counterpunch, and other sites as well. She has been interviewed by BBC TV, Wall Street Journal TV, HuffPost Live, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Politico, Variety, The Hill, NPR-Miami, and CBC Canada among others.