Photo credit: Josh Yang (Nov. 2018)

Hi! Thanks for checking out my website. My name is Dr. Cheryl Thompson. I was born in Toronto and raised in Scarborough, a suburb just east of the city. During my undergraduate studies, I spent two years in the United States playing NCAA Div. I and III soccer. While at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, I also threw the Javelin. In 1998, our women’s team won the NCAA-Div. I Southern Conference. When I returned to Canada, I attended the University of Windsor, earning an Honours B.A. in Criminology. I then worked professionally as an insurance claims adjuster, as a conference producer, and for several years as a financial news journalist. I have also been a freelance writer since the early 2000s, writing live show reviews, book and film reviews, album reviews, interviews and editorials for such sites as ViveleCanada (2003), Exclaim! (2004-2006), and Chart Attack (2005-2009). From 2008 to 2015, I created a music website, Soulmattersmag.com that became a source for music reviews, interviews, poetry, DJ spotlights, and up-to-the-minute music news. Along with a small team of writers, the site contained reviews of house music, hip-hop, R&B, funk/soul, jazz, reggae, rock, pop, and blues. I had to give up the website to focus on my academic writing, but it was truly a passion project that I hope to revisit in the future. Today, I am a frequent contributor to Spacing.ca.

In 2015, I won the CJH/ACH’s Graduate Essay Prize! I wrote a short piece to encourage other graduate students to apply for the award, and to also share my story about winning a Canadian History award, even though I am a Communication Studies scholar. Read my essay here: http://blog.utpjournals.com/2015/08/10/reflection-from-cjhach-2015-graduate-essay-prize-winner/. After earning my PhD in Communication Studies from McGill University in 2015, I was a sessional instructor at Sheridan College, and the University of Toronto (University College (UC), St. Michael’s College, UTSC, and UTM). Specifically, I taught Black Canadian Studies in the Canadian Studies Program at UC for four years, and North American Consumer Culture, Visual Culture and the Politics of Identity, and Celebrity and Promotional Culture at UTM in the Department of Visual Studies for three years. In 2016, I won a Banting post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto and UTM working with Dr. Stephen Johnson in the Centre for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies and the Department of English & Drama.

I began my tenure as Assistant Professor in the School of Creative Industries, Faculty of Communication & Design at Ryerson University in Toronto in July, 2018. I am also a faculty member in Ryerson’s Yeates School of Graduate Studies. My first book, Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture can be purchased online at Amazon.ca and Indigo.ca. It is also available a local bookstores, like A Different Booklist and Cultural Centre in Toronto.

I am so excited to share this book with the world. It represents 10 years of hard work, dedication and perseverance. The book began as my dissertation, but through several rounds of edits, revisions, and challenges (and there have been many!!), once published, it truly reflects my desire to bring to light a story, a history that has never been told. Moral of the story is: never give up on your dreams, even when there are obstacles (events or people) put in front of you who do not care about your dreams. As you can see, I’m an academic. But I’m also a researcher, writer, author, music enthusiast, a friend, sister and colleague. I am still looking for Mr. Right (hehehe), but loving life in the meantime!


Ph.D. Communication Studies, McGill University, 2015 | Supervisors: Dr. Will Straw and Dr. Charmaine Nelson | Dissertation: “Race and beauty in Canada: print culture, retail, and the transnational flow of products, images and ideologies, 1700s to present.

M.A. Communication and Culture, Ryerson University & York University, 2007 | Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Brayton | Thesis: “Situating hybridity and searching for authenticity in Canadian hip-hop : how do we ‘keep it real’?

B.A. (Honours), Criminology, University of Windsor, 2001


Research Interests

Media studies; memory and nostalgia; critical advertising and branding; visual culture; cultural studies; gender and feminist studies; critical race studies; historical studies; television and film studies; Black Canadian studies; African American history; transnational studies


Academic Employment

2018 - present

Assistant Professor, School of Creative Industries, Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD), Ryerson University, Toronto

2016 – 2018

CIHR Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and the Department of English and Drama, University of Toronto and University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM).

2015 – 2018

Instructor, Department of Visual Studies, UTM and Canadian Studies Program, University College, University of Toronto.

Undergraduate Courses Taught

Ryerson University

CRI 630: Advertising Theory and Practice

CRI 810: Studies in Creative Collaboration

CRI 100: Creative Industries Overview

CRI 710: Research Methodology

University of Toronto, UTM, UTSC

VCC236: North American Consumer Culture, 1890 to Present

VCC304: Visual Culture and the Politics of Identity

VCC390: Topics in Visual Culture: Celebrity and Promotional Culture

CDN335: Black Canadian Studies

SMC387: Advertising and Media

MDSC03: Topics in Media, Identities and Politics

McGill University

COMS310: Media and Feminist Studies

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