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Graduate Program in Communication & Culture

Faculty Profiles

Amin Alhassan

Politics & Policy

University   York University
E-Mail Address
Phone Number   (416)736-2100 ext. 77872
Office Location   3029 TEL
Office Hours   Tues. 12-3pm or by appointment


MA. (Tampere); PhD Communication (Concordia)


Professor Alhassan joined the Communication Studies Program in the Division of Social Science at York University in July 2004. He previously taught in the Graduate Program in Communication at McGill University and also at Concordia University's Communication Studies Department. In addition, he has taught undergraduate courses in Communication Theory at the International School of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Finland. Professor Alhassan previously worked as journalist for five years first with the Ghana News Agency and subsequently with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in Accra.

Research Interests

Professor Alhassan’s research interest intersects with Development Communication Theory, Global Media Studies, Postcolonial Theory and Cultural Studies. He is the principal investigator in a SSHRC funded study on African policy discourse on information and communication technologies in national development with a focus on Uganda and Ghana. He is also a Research Associate at the Tubman Institute where he is collaborating with several other scholars on a seven-year SSHRC funded Major Collaborative Research Initiative on “Slavery, Memory and Citizenship”.

Professor Alhassan is currently working on a book project on “Telescopic philanthropy, emancipation and the epistemic economy of development communication theory.” The project, investigates the relationship between charity, development and profit in the communicative economy of the sign. In the last decade there has been a remarkable increase in the involvement of celebrities in the work of development and poverty alleviation in the Global South. Arguably these laudable efforts are considered to be motivated by altruism and that celebrity altruistic acts benefit the poor. Aside of celebrity acts is the new framing of charity as a profitable venture leading to the coinage of a “philanthropreneurs” – to designate the reinvention of the relationship between capitalism and development. The project questions the limits of altruism, and lays out the relationship between the economy of image circulation that is the foundation of celebrity valuation and the specular economy of poverty. At the heart of this project is the interrogation of what comes after giving, and the cost of receiving help. Theorizing development as charity then situates this research project within the confluence of theological discourse of Caritas, the political economy of Adam Smith, especially his theory of moral sentiments, and literature on the gift economy. Contemporary academic and activist/NGO literature have tended to focus on how to fix the problem of “phantom aid” that masquerades as development assistance. This project departs from such a focus and combines a critical approach to the entire paradigm of framing development within the language of gift and caritas. Of interest to this investigation is a 2007 Senate (Ottawa) report on CIDA’s abysmal record of 40 years in Africa..

Selected Publications

2008 [In press] “The Twelve Cartoons: A Discursive Inquiry” in Eide, E, Risto Kunelius and Angela Phillips, (eds.) Transnational Media Events: the Mohammed Cartoons and the Imagined Clash of Civilizations. Goteborg, Sweden: Nordicom.
2008 [In press] Co-authored with Risto Kunelius “Complexities of an Ideology in Action Liberalism and the Cartoons Affair” in Eide, E, Risto Kunelius and Angela Phillips, (eds.) Transnational Media Events: the Mohammed Cartoons and the Imagined Clash of Civilizations. Goteborg, Sweden: Nordicom.
2007 “Canada: Liberal Fundamentalism vs. Multicultural Relativism” in R. Kunelius, E. Eide, O. Han & R. Schroeder (eds.) Reading the Mohammed Cartoons Controversy: An International Analysis of Press Discourses on Free Speech and Political Spin. Working Papers in International Journalism 2007/1 Bochum, Germany: Erich-Brost Institut (pp. 105 – 117).
2007 “The Canonic Economy of Communication and Culture: The Centrality of the Postcolonial Margins,” Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol. 32(1): pp. 103 – 118.
2007 “Broken Promises in Ghana’s Telecom Sector” Media Development Vol. LIV 3/2007: pp. 45 – 49.
2005 “Market Valorization of Broadcasting Policy in Ghana: Abandoning the Quest for Media Democratization,” Media, Culture & Society, Vol. 27(2): pp. 211 – 228.
2004 “Communication, the Postcolonial Nation-State and Development: A New Political Economic Research Agenda” in Mehdi Semati (ed.) New Frontiers in International Communication Theory. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004 (pp. 55 – 70).
2004 Development Communication Policy and Economic Fundamentalism in Ghana Tampere, Finland: Tampere University Press, 2004 (235 pages).
2003 “Telecom Regulation, the Postcolonial State and Big Business: The Ghanaian Experience” West Africa Review Vol. 4(1): pp. 1 – 17.



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Harold [Innis] taught us how to use the bias of culture and communication as an instrument of research. By directing attention to the bias, or distorting power of the dominant imagery and technology of any culture, he showed us how to understand cultures.
~ Marshall McLuhan