Steve Macek

Professor of Communication; Chair of the Department of Communication and Media Studies, Communication


+1 630 637 5369

Steve Macek teaches courses in media studies and urban studies. He is the author of Urban Nightmares: The Media, the Right and the Moral Panic over the City (University of Minnesota Press, 2006), a critical analysis of media representations of American cities and the urban poor in the 1980s and 90s.  His articles on Chicago's radical and alternative press have been published in A.R.E.A. magazine and in the collection A Moment of Danger: Critical Studies in the History of US Communication since WWII  (Marquette University Press, 2011). His op-eds on media, politics, communication policy and academic freedom have appeared in newspapers such as The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The News and ObserverThe Seattle Times and The Columbus Dispatch. Macek is currently writing a book about the history of film censorship in Chicago and in the summer of 2014 he co-curated an exhibition on the subject, Banned in Chicago: Eight Decades of Film Censorship in the Windy City, at the Museums at Lisle Station Park

Selected Scholarship


Urban Nightmares: The Media, The Right and the Moral Panic over the City.
Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2006.

Marxism and Communication Studies: The Point is to Change It. Co-edited with Lee Artz and Dana Cloud. Peter Lang, 2006.

Scholarly Articles:

“Gritty Urban Realism as Ideology: The Wire and TV’s Inner City” in The City after 9/11: Literature, Film, Television. Edited by Kieth Wilhite. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2016.  

“Occupy the Media: Towards a Communication System for the 99 Percent” in Interdisciplinary Essays on the Environment and Culture: One Planet-One Humanity. Edited by Jean-Marie Kauth and Luigi Manca. Lexington Books, 2016. 

"The Perilous State of Academic Freedom in the 21st Century," First Amendment Studies (2015), 49: 1, 1-4.

“The Reporter’s Rebellion: The Chicago Journalism Review, 1968-1975” in A Moment of Danger: Critical Studies in the History of U.S. Communication Since World War II. Edited by Janice Peck and Inger Stole. Marquette University Press, 2011.

Essays and Op-Eds

"A bigger Sinclair is bad for TV and democracy," Raleigh News and Observer, September 12, 2017

"Nightmare Cities", Essay included in the program for The Treatment, Almeida Theater, London, UK, April 26-June 10, 2017


Review of Free Speech on Campus by Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman (Yale University Press, 2017). Illinois Academe. Spring 2018. 

Review of Cinema Civil Rights: Regulation, Repression, and Race in the Classical Hollywood Era  by Ellen C. Scott (Rutgers University Press, 2015). Film Criticism. Volume 40, no. 3 (July 2016)

Review of Blaming the Victim: How Global Journalism Fails Those in Poverty  by Jairo Lugo-Ocando (Pluto Press, 2015). Democratic Communique. Vol. 26, no. 1 (2015/ 2016) 

Review of Versions of Academic Freedom: From Professionalism to Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2014) by Stanley Fish. Illinois Academe. Spring 2015. (Reposted to Academe Blog, April 2015:

Review of Out of Bounds: Academic Freedom and the Question of Palestine (Bloomsbury, 2014) by Matthew Abraham. Illinois Academe. Spring 2014.

Review of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate (Encounter Books, 2012) by Greg Lukianoff. Academe Blog: The Blog of Academe Magazine. May 8, 2013. (Review reprinted in the fall 2013 issue of Illinois Academe).

Review of Prime Time Prisons on U.S. TV: Representation of Incarceration by Bill Yousman (Peter Lang, 2009). Democratic Communique 25 (Fall 2012): 53-57.


Courses Taught

COM 185 Mass Media and Society

COM 260 Introduction to New Media

COM 335 Freedom of Expression

COM 389 Gender and Mass Media

COM 412 Media Criticism

USS 300 Urban and Suburban Studies

MLS 590 Public Discourse