Charlotte Ryan

Charlotte Ryan, Sociology

Associate Professor
Dugan 205G


Community-based participatory research; social movements and communication; environmental and climate sociology; and public sociology

Research Interest

Recent research projects have focused on how unions, domestic violence groups and community-based organizations integrate strategic communications into broader change strategies.

Educational Background

Post Doctorate: Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health

Ph.D., Sociology, Boston College

M.Ed., Bi-lingual Education, Boston University

A.B., History, Harvard University


Charlotte Ryan works with under-represented and misrepresented constituencies to document communication inequalities, develop integrated communication strategies, evaluate results and theorize from practice. She co-directs the Movement and Media Research Action Project and has published two books, Prime Time Activism, and Rhyming Hope and History: Activists, Academics, and Social Movement Scholarship (co-edited with sociologists David Croteau, Virginia Commonwealth University and William Hoynes, Vassar College).

Her research incorporates traditional and non-traditional methods including framing and other forms of content analysis, archival and oral history, and community-based participatory action research (CBR). Her primary CBR partner is the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. She currently chairs the URBAN Research Network Publications Committee; the committee has just completed Guidelines for Peer-Review of Community-based Research available at

Ryan is also actively involved in food and climate justice movements. She serves on the Coordinating Committee of UML’s Climate Change Initiative and coordinates UML’s Environment & Society minor. She teaches Environmental Sociology and Fast Food, Hot Planet: Sociological Approaches to Climate Change, Food Justice, and Community Sustainability Students in these courses have undertaken service-learning projects with the Lowell National Historical Park, World Peas Food Hub, Café Solar, Students for Environmental Action (SEA) and Lowell Food Day and Earth Day 2015.


Introduction to Sociology

Social Problems Public Sociology

Sociological Perspectives on the Environment

Fast Food, Hot Planet: Sociological Perspectives on Climate Change, Food Justice, and Community Sustainability

Sociological Perspectives on Communication and Social Change

Learning From the Field


Ryan Charlotte and Kimberly Freeman Brown. 2015. “To Act in Concert: Environmental Communication from a Social Movement Lens.” Pp. 144-157 in Handbook of Environment and Communication, edited by A. Hansen and J. R. Cox. NY: Routledge.

Ryan, Charlotte, Karen Jeffreys, Jim Ryczek, and Janelle Diaz. 2014. “Building the Public Will: The Battle for Affordable—and Supportive—Housing.” Journal of Poverty 18:335–354.

Ryan, Charlotte. 2014. “A Bridge is not Just a Metaphor: Building Sustainable Community-university Partnerships through Service Learning Projects.” Pp. 164-80 in Service Sociology and Academic Engagement in Social Problems, edited by K. McCormack and J. Treviño. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Ryan, Charlotte, Karen Jeffreys, Jim Ryczek, and Tyler Ellowitz. 2013. “Walk, Talk, Fax, or Tweet: Reconstructing Media-Movement Interactions through Group Story-telling.” Pp. 133 – 158 in Mediation and Protest Movements, edited by B. Cammaerts, A. Mattoni, and P. McCurdy. Bristol, UK: Intellect. Distributed in U.S. by University of Chicago Press.

Ryan, Charlotte, Karen Jeffreys, Jim Ryczek, and Taylor Ellowitz. 2013. “I Mattered and It Mattered: Movements and Media Empowerment.” in Communication Interventions, edited by K. Howley. NY: Peter Lang.

Ryan, Charlotte. 2012. “Strategic Practices to Advance Communication for All.” Media Development 2:1-6.

Charlotte Ryan, Karen Jeffreys and Linda Blozie. (2012) “Raising Public Awareness of Domestic Violence: Strategic Communication and Movement-Building.” Chapter 7 in Strategy in Action, edited by G. Maney, R. Kutz-Flamenbaum, D. Rohlinger, and J. Goodwin. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Charlotte Ryan and Karen Jeffreys. 2012. “Challenging Domestic Violence: Trickle-up Theorizing about Participation and Power in Communication Activism Scholarship.” Pp. 179-222 in Communication Activism, Struggling for Social Justice Amidst Difference. Vol.3, edited by L. Frey and K. Carragee. NY: Hampton Press.

Ryan, Charlotte, Vanessa Salas, Michael Anastario and Gabriél Cámara. 2010. “Making Communication Research Matter: Matter to Whom?” International Journal of Communication, 4:1-10.