Virginia McKendry is an historian and interdisciplinary scholar, specializing in the area of visual culture and communication. From 2001-2005, Dr. McKendry served as a core faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University and its Laurier Brantford campus. A core faculty member in the School of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University since 2010, her teaching is situated primarily in the fields of cultural studies, media studies and the history of communication. Her non-academic work has included applied communications roles in website development, public relations and community development work. Her academic research, grounded firmly in poststructuralist feminist and decolonization theoretical paradigms, has focused primarily on how language and images transmit and constitute culture and identity.
Her overall academic purpose is to discover, document and question the foundational assumptions and values that structure Western cultures in order to provoke awareness of why democratic movements and positive change initiatives meet with so many challenges. As the Program Head for the BA in Professional Communication at RRU, she is an advocate for educating professional communicators to be able to provide their clients, employers and communities with the critical thinking and communication tools needed for cultural self-awareness, enabling people to mutually participate in the design of positive futures and solutions to thorny problems. Dr. McKendry holds a Bachelor of General Studies (’91) and an M.A. in Women’s Studies from Simon Fraser University (‘93), and a Ph.D. in History from York University (’98).
Three publications stemming from her Master’s thesis focus on how images of the royal family in Britain’s earliest illustrated magazines aimed at a mass audience had the effect of normalizing unequal class relations, gender relations and race relations. Her doctoral dissertation focused on a century of political cartoons and how these both reflected and contributed to a cultural process she has characterized as the ‘feminization’ of the British monarchy, a process that is emblematic of how non-democratic cultural models of power are sustained and re-normalized even during periods of intense democratic reform.
Currently, she is embarking on a new line of action research projects that draw on decolonizing methodologies and uses performances, theatre, dialogue, storytelling and image-work as tools for surfacing world-views and enabling forms of interpersonal, intercultural and organizational communication that lead to positive social change.
- McKendry, V. (2002). Mother Knows Best: The Ironic Use of Visual Satire in Regency Political Culture. Binghamton: SUNY.
- McKendry, V. (1997). The Queen, the Press and the Rhetoric of Familial Love. Nineteenth Century Prose, vol. XXIV, no.1.
- McKendry, V. (1994). The Illustrated London News and the Invention of Tradition. Victorian Periodicals Review, vol. XXVIII, no.1.