Terence McDonnell

Kellogg Assistant  Professor of Sociologyterry_mcdonnell
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2009

Research Interests

Culture and Media, Health and AIDS, Social Movements, Gender and Sexuality , Urban Studies, Theory, Methods


Terry McDonnell is a cultural sociologist (PhD 2009, Northwestern University) who studies the role of objects and media in everyday life. More specifically, he questions what makes particular cultural objects powerful (and others not) by following the often unanticipated pathways that culture travels once it leaves the design studio, the ad agency, and the publisher.  

Terry’s recent research explains why HIV/AIDS media campaigns often fail to change peoples’ belief and behavior in response to the disease. Understanding people’s creativity is at the core of this work. He finds that communities often use AIDS campaigns in unexpected ways--women reconstitute female condoms as bangle bracelets and people decorate their homes with AIDS advertisements. Work from this project was recently published in the American Journal of Sociology and won an honorable mention for the Geertz Prize in Cultural Sociology. Other recent research has appeared in Social Problems, the Annual Review of Sociology, and Social Psychology Quarterly. For his next project Terry turns his attention to developing a sociology of misinterpretation.

Curriculum Vitae

Terry McDonnell CV.pdf


Phone: (574) 631-7599
Fax: (574) 631-9238
Office: 742 Flanner Hall
E-mail: tmcdonn2@nd.edu