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Sut Jhally (born 1955) is a professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst whose work focuses on cultural studies, advertising, media, and consumption. He is the producer of 40+ documentaries on media literacy topics and the founder and executive director of the Media Education Foundation.
The Media Education Foundation (MEF) is a non-profit established in 1992 which "produces and distributes documentary films and other educational resources to inspire critical reflection on the social, political, and cultural impact of American mass media." Their aim is to inspire students to think critically and in new ways about the hyper-mediated world around them.
Also the author of 6 books and numerous scholarly and popular articles, Jhally is a public speaker and teacher. He has won the "Distinguished Teacher Award" at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where the student newspaper has also voted him "Best Professor." He has shown his films and lectured at many colleges and universities nationally and internationally. He was named one of New Woman magazine's "People of the Year" in 1992.
Jhally was born in Kenya, and raised in England. After completing his undergraduate work at the University of York in England, he moved to Canada after accepting a scholarship to the University of Victoria. He continued his studies at Simon Fraser University, where he received his PhD
Jhally is often highly critical of popular culture, advertising, as well as various aspects of US foreign policy.
In his 1991 video "Dreamworlds" he describes the image of women in music videos as male adolescent fantasies: young and pretty, willing and eager to please men, saying no when meaning yes, often reduced to outward appearances and body parts. He concludes that an unhealthy attitude towards sexual violence can be fostered by these videos, and calls for balancing them with other cultural representations of sexuality. When MTV complained about his use of parts of copyrighted music videos, he claimed fair use and contacted the media about the story.
In his essay "Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse" and his video "Advertising and the End of the World" he argues that the major cultural force today, pervasive advertising, by constantly reinforcing a bogus association between consumerism and happiness and by focusing on individual immediate needs, stands in the way of a discussion of societal and long-term needs and leads to a squandering of resources. The video "Killing Us Softly III", created with Jean Kilbourne, is a critique of the image of women in advertising.
- The Codes of Gender (2010)
- Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex & Power in Music Video (2007)
- Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People (2006), based on Jack Shaheen's 2001 book Reel Bad Arabs
- Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land (with Bathsheba Ratzkoff), (2004)
- Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire (with Jeremy Earp), (2004)
- Wrestling with Manhood: Boys, Bullying & Battering (with Jackson Katz) (2002)
- No Logo (2003), based on Naomi Klein's book No Logo
- Killing Us Softly 3 (with Jean Kilbourne) (1999)
- Tough Guise: Men, Violence and the Crisis in Masculinity (with Jackson Katz) (1999)
- Off the Straight and Narrow (with Katherine Sender) (1998)
- Advertising and the End of the World (1998)
- Dreamworlds II: Desire, Sex, Power in Music Video (1997)
- Slim Hopes (with Jean Kilbourne) (1995)
- The Date Rape Backlash (1994)
- The Killing Screens (with George Gerbner) (1994)
- Pack of Lies – the Advertising of Tobacco (with Jean Kilbourne) (1992)
- The spectacle of accumulation : essays in culture, media, & politics, (2006), ISBN 0-8204-7904-7
- Social Communication in Advertising (with William Leiss, Stephen Kline, and Jacqueline Botterill), (2004), ISBN 0-415-96676-0
- The Codes of Advertising (1999), ISBN 0-415-90353-X
- Enlightened Racism (with Justin Lewis), (1992), ISBN 0-8133-1419-4. Argues that The Cosby Show reinforced the myth that Blacks who don't "make it" have only themselves to blame.
- Cultural Politics in Contemporary America, edited by Ian Angus and Sut Jhally, (Routledge, 1988), ISBN 0-415-90010-7
- Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse (in: Robin Andersen and Lance Strate (eds.), Critical studies in media commercialism, New York 2000)
- Media Education Foundation: Advertising & the End of the World
- Sut Jhally's Website
- Media Education Foundation: About MEF
- Sut Jhally's Website
- Shop Till You ... Stop!
- A Professor's Class Video Runs Into an MTV Protest, The New York Times, May 18, 1991
- A Plan to Create a New World Order, The New York Times, September 10, 2004
- Sut Jhally's personal web page
- Sut Jhally's page at U. Mass. Amherst
- Media Education Foundation
- NYT Filmography
- Sut Jhally at the Internet Movie Database
- Sut Jhally v. James Twitchell: What's wrong with advertising? (a debate)