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Charlotte Ryan

Charlotte Ryan, Ph.D. Associate Professor


Community-based participatory research; social movements and communication; environmental and climate sociology; and public sociology

Research Interest

Educational Background

Post Doctorate: Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health
Ph.D., Sociology, Boston College
M.Ed., Bi-lingual Education, Boston University
A.B., History, Harvard University


Charlotte Ryan works with under-represented and misrepresented constituencies to document communication inequalities, develop integrated communication strategies, evaluate results and theorize from practice. She co-directs the Movement and Media Research Action Project and has published two books, Prime Time Activism, and Rhyming Hope and History: Activists, Academics, and Social Movement Scholarship (co-edited with sociologists David Croteau, Virginia Commonwealth University and William Hoynes, Vassar College).

Her research incorporates traditional and non-traditional methods including framing and other forms of content analysis, archival and oral history, and community-based participatory action research (CBR). Her primary CBR partner is the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. She currently chairs the URBAN Research Network Publications Committee; the committee has just completed Guidelines for Peer-Review of Community-based Research available at

Ryan is also actively involved in food and climate justice movements. She serves on the Coordinating Committee of UML’s Climate Change Initiative and coordinates UML’s Environment & Society minor.  She teaches Environmental Sociology and Fast Food, Hot Planet: Sociological Approaches to Climate Change, Food Justice, and Community Sustainability. Students in these courses have undertaken service-learning projects with the Lowell National Historical Park, World Peas Food Hub, Café Solar, Students for Environmental Action (SEA) and Lowell Food Day and Earth Day 2015.


  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Social Problems Public Sociology
  • Sociological Perspectives on the Environment
  • Fast Food, Hot Planet: Sociological Perspectives on Climate Change, Food Justice, and Community Sustainability
  • Sociological Perspectives on Communication and Social Change
  • Learning from the Field


  • Ryan, Charlotte and Kimberly Freeman Brown. 2015. “To Act in Concert: Environmental Communication from a Social Movement Lens.” Pp. 144-157 in Handbook of Environment and Communication, edited by A. Hansen and J. R. Cox. NY: Routledge.
  • Ryan, Charlotte, Karen Jeffreys, Jim Ryczek, and Janelle Diaz. 2014. “Building the Public Will: The Battle for Affordable—and Supportive—Housing.” Journal of Poverty 18:335–354.
  • Ryan, Charlotte. 2014. “A Bridge is not Just a Metaphor: Building Sustainable Community-university Partnerships through Service Learning Projects.” Pp. 164-80 in Service Sociology and Academic Engagement in Social Problems, edited by K. McCormack and J. Treviño. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
  • Ryan, Charlotte, Karen Jeffreys, Jim Ryczek, and Tyler Ellowitz. 2013. “Walk, Talk, Fax, or Tweet: Reconstructing Media-Movement Interactions through Group Story-telling.” Pp. 133 – 158 in Mediation and Protest Movements, edited by B. Cammaerts, A. Mattoni, and P. McCurdy. Bristol, UK: Intellect. Distributed in U.S. by University of Chicago Press.
  • Ryan, Charlotte, Karen Jeffreys, Jim Ryczek, and Taylor Ellowitz. 2013. “I Mattered and It Mattered: Movements and Media Empowerment.” in Communication Interventions, edited by K. Howley. NY: Peter Lang.
  • Ryan, Charlotte. 2012. “Strategic Practices to Advance Communication for All.” Media Development 2:1-6.
  • Ryan, Charlotte, Karen Jeffreys and Linda Blozie. (2012) “Raising Public Awareness of Domestic Violence: Strategic Communication and Movement-Building.” Chapter 7 in Strategy in Action, edited by G. Maney, R. Kutz-Flamenbaum, D. Rohlinger, and J. Goodwin. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Ryan, Charlotte and Karen Jeffreys. 2012. “Challenging Domestic Violence: Trickle-up Theorizing about Participation and Power in Communication Activism Scholarship.” Pp. 179-222 in Communication Activism, Struggling for Social Justice Amidst Difference. Vol.3, edited by L. Frey and K. Carragee. NY: Hampton Press.
  • Ryan, Charlotte, Vanessa Salas, Michael Anastario and Gabriél Cámara. 2010. “Making Communication Research Matter: Matter to Whom?” International Journal of Communication, 4:1-10.