Esteban del Río is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of San Diego and currently serves as the Associate Provost for Inclusion and Diversity and Director of the Center of Inclusion and Diversity. He earned his B.A., in History at the University of San Diego and a PhD in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, working in the area of media and cultural studies. As Associate Provost, he advances the Catholic mission of USD through recognizing the inherent dignity of all members of the campus community and catalyzing campus-wide strategies working toward inclusion, love, and justice manifesting as institutional habits.
Esteban’s research interests include the study of unity and difference, cultural production and reception, Latinidad, consumer culture, and social change with essays appearing in Communication Yearbook, Journal of Communication Inquiry, Communication Culture Critique, Participations: International Journal of Audience Research, and Flow. He writes about television, cinema, museums, social media, and aesthetic activism in these publications. Current research examines the construction and contestation of Latinidad as a coherent structure of feeling in informational and entertainment discourses, considering how Latinos in the United States challenge assumptions about difference in political, economic, and cultural practices. He is also interested in exploring how a communication approach to difference can intervene in discourses and practices of inclusion and equity in educational and corporate-managed articulations of diversity.
Esteban encourages students to raise critical questions about the poetics and politics of social reality in the spirit of hope and possibility. Communication, in these discussions, is understood as the primary social process. Relying on the Socratic method and interactive lectures, his pedagogical goals are personal and social transformation in the context of rigor and accountability that a liberal arts approach affords. He teaching includes Introduction to Media Studies, Media & Conflict, International Media, Interpretive Methods, and Film & Cultural Politics. His teaching awards include the designation of Professor of the Year by three graduating classes and receiving the Professor of the Year award from Student Support Services on three occasions. He serves as Vice Chair of BikeSD, a local mobility justice advocacy organization, enjoys long-distance bicycle riding as well as commuting by bike, urban farming, and playing in the yard with his daughters Ida (4) and Lucia (8).