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Sara Bannerman, Ph.D. (Carleton)

Canada Research Chair in Communication Policy and Governance
Associate Professor
Phone: 905-525-9140, ext. 23722
Office: TSH-302
Communications Governance Observatory: TSH-720
Website Publications

Sara Bannerman joined McMaster in 2011 and was appointed Canada Research Chair in Communication Policy and Governance in 2016.  She holds a Bachelor of Music from Queen’s University, and an MA (2004) and a PhD (2009) in communication studies from Carleton University.

Dr. Bannerman researches communications policy and governance. She researches traditional forms of governance such as copyright, intellectual property, and privacy, as well as governance undertaken through non-state actors: governance through technologies and private companies.  For example, she examines:

  • Netflix’s recommendation system as a form of private governance;
  • Regulation of social media platforms, and lobbying of government by social media platforms;
  • Privacy in the context of networked technologies and networked selves;
  • Cultural funding, including government funding (grants), private company funding (labels), and technologies (crowdfunding and Kickstarter);
  • Copyright and access to knowledge.

Dr. Bannerman leads McMaster’s Communications Governance Observatory.  Her team has issued a podcast series with episodes on platform regulation, smart cities, social media bots.  Her team publishes a weekly email newsletter on communications policy and governance that is also available online.

Dr. Bannerman is the author of Canadian Communication Policy and Law (2020)She has researched the roles of civil society organizations and countries of the South (“developing countries”) and middle powers in international copyright regimes.  She has published two books on international copyright: International Copyright and Access to Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and The Struggle for Canadian Copyright: Imperialism to Internationalism, 1842-1971 (UBC Press, 2013), as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on privacy, international copyright, international copyright history, same-sex marriage, and other topics in new media, traditional media, and communications theory.

Dr. Bannerman has supervised projects on social media and the music industry, Netflix and representation, critical race IP, hactivism, libel, internet memes, artificial intelligence and intellectual property, copyright and employment, crowdfunding music, activist use of social media and blogging, the right to tinker, broadcasting policy, online public consultations, and the use of twitter by politicians and in elections.

She teaches on research methods (employing interviews, online surveys, legal research, policy research, and archival / historical research in her own work), communication theory, the political economy of communications, intellectual property, communications policy and law, and media and social activism.

Dr. Bannerman is a Governing Board member of the International Society for the Theory and History of Intellectual Property  and was, until 2018, a Vice Chair of the Law Section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).