Communication Studies

Dustin Tahmahkera

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies

Areas of expertise

American Indian and Indigenous Cultural Studies, Critical Media Studies, Sound Studies


PhD, American Culture Studies, Bowling Green State University, 2007
MA, English, Midwestern State University, 2002
BA, English, Midwestern State University, 1999


Assistant Professor of Communication Studies (2009- ) and Paideia Professor (2011- )
Southwestern University
August 01, 2009 - present

Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in the Native American House/American Indian Studies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
August 01, 2008 - August 01, 2009

Interim Director of American Indian Studies and Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies
Minnesota State University, Mankato
August 01, 2007 - June 01, 2008

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is an amalgam of what I have learned to do (and not to do) from relatives, friends, mentors, colleagues, and former instructors. Through a pedagogical framework of indigeneity--as informed by my Auntie LaDonna Harris (Comanche) and a Comanche-Anglo worldview--my critical pedagogy humbly enacts the philosophical tenets of relationship, reciprocity, redistribution, and responsibility. These four interconnected R's are prerequisites for the pedagogical practice of indigeneity, or the ability to stay true to one's principles and to be receptive to other people's ideas and approaches in and out of the classroom. As an educator, I wish to equip students with a diversity of views, to guide them toward having a broader understanding of topics, and not to enforce my beliefs as the way, as they work toward becoming stronger critical thinkers, readers, and communicators. Overall, like Paulo Freire's dedication to praxis, or to reflecting and acting upon the world in order to transform it, I want students to realize that they are producers, not just receivers, of knowledge and then to make effective use of that knowledge inside and outside of academia.

Previous Courses

American Indians in Media; Puha Tsaat, Kaheeka Tsaat: Contemporary Indigenous Leadership (First-Year Seminar); Indigeneity (Paideia Seminar); Capstone Senior Seminar; Sonic Communication; Media and Culture; Music and Identity; Pop Culture and Paratexts; The Many (On-/Off- Screen) Lives of Johnny Depp; Critical/Cultural Communication Studies

Professional Work


Selected Awards

Invited Participant for High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship (HiPSTAS), National Endowment for the Humanities-funded Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities, University of Texas, Austin, March 2013

Junior Sabbatical for Fall 2012, Southwestern University

Competitive Faculty Development Grants, 2010-2015, Southwestern University


Book Manuscripts

~Tribal Television: Viewing Native People in Sitcoms. The University of North Carolina Press, 2014.

~"The Lone Ranger: Captivating Comanches in Media Borderlands." Anticipated submission to the University of Nebraska Press "Indigenous Films" Series.

Refereed Articles

~"'An Indian in a White Man's Camp': Johnny Cash's Indian Country Music." In American QuarterlySpecial Issue: "Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies," ed. Kara Keeling and Josh Kun, September 2011, 63.3. 591-617.

~"Custer's Last Sitcom: Decolonized Viewing of the American Sitcom's "Indian.'" In American Indian Quarterly, Summer 2008, 32.3. 324-351.


Book Chapters

~"American Indians in Popular Culture." Handbook of American Indian History, ed. Frederick E. Hoxie, Oxford University Press. Accepted for publication. Forthcoming, 2015.

~"'Pale face 'fraid you crowd him out': Racializing "Indians" and Indianizing Chinese Immigrants." In Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of U.S. Citizenship, ed. Rachel Buff, New York UP, 2008. 142-155.

~"Representations of the Indigenous Intellectual: 'A Warrior of the Truth.'" In Battleground States: Scholarship in Contemporary America, ed. Stephen Swanson. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. 198-212.



~Reprint of "'An Indian in a White Man's Camp': Johnny Cash's Indian Country Music" as a chapter in the volume Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies, ed. Kara Keeling and Josh Kun, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.


Selected Book Reviews

~Imagining Geronimo: An Apache Icon in Popular Culture by William Clements (University of New Mexico Press, 2013). In The Chronicles of Oklahoma. Summer 2014.

~Native Features: Indigenous Films from Around the World by Houston Wood (Continuum, 2008). In Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas, V. 40, November 2009. 

~Wasasé: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom by Taiaiake Alfred (Broadview Press, 2005). In Indigenous Nations Journal, V. 6, Spring 2008.

~Putting a Song on Top of It: Expression and Identity on the San Carlos Apache Reservation by David Samuels (U of Arizona Press, 2004). In Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas, V. 37, November 2006.