Willow Bay, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, named professor of communication Josh Kun to serve as the director of the Annenberg Communication School. Bay made the announcement in an email sent to Annenberg students Friday.
Kun was also recently named the inaugural Chair in Cross-Cultural Communication, an endowed chair made possible through an anonymous $3 million gift. The chair is dedicated to research into how music and popular culture can serve to create exchanges between cultures.
Kun is a 2016 MacArthur Fellow, and is a national leader in conversations about applying popular culture and music to social issues and modern life, according to USC News.
“Professor Josh Kun is a true cultural historian whose work transcends the city and its borders and explores the connections that we have to each other,” Bay said to USC News. “As Los Angeles becomes increasingly diverse and popular music becomes increasingly global, we are grateful to our visionary donors for recognizing the enormous potential of Josh’s work to bridge cultural divides and advance our understanding of cross-cultural connections.”
At USC, Kun directs the Popular Music Project at the Norman Lear Center, which looks at pop music through a serious lens by thinking critically about its insights into society, history and communication. He also holds a joint appointment in the Dornsife department of American studies and ethnicity. Kun teaches popular classes like “Sound Clash: Popular Music and American Culture” and “The Rhetoric of L.A.”
Kun has also written books on music and popular culture, including Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America, and Songs in the Key of Los Angeles.
“Music shows us new maps. It can open us up to radically different perspectives and sometimes it can help us push back against the normalizations of our own views,” Kun said to USC News.
After serving in the position for four years, current Annenberg School of Communication Director Sarah Banet-Weiser will go to the London School of Economics to lead their Department of Media and Communications, according to Bay’s email.