• Faculty

  • Dawnja Burris

    Emeritus Professor


    Office Location
    A - 66 West 12th Street

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    Dawnja Burris


    Dawnja Burris is a practicing conceptual photographer and media studies scholar.  Her photographic works have been exhibited in various gallery settings and her work produced during a 2019 artist's residency at Chaco Culture National Historical Park continues to be developed for additional exhibition.  Her research, teaching and creative production have consistently explored cultural practice as expressed through media representation, focused upon philosophies and politics of virtual identity construction and the predominance of animals in - and as - media.  

    Throughout her time at The New School (since 1997), she taught graduate and undergraduate courses, including Understanding Media Studies, Media Theory, Media Design, Digial Video Production, Research Methods, Media Ethics, Social Media Mash-Up, Senior Project Planning, MA Thesis Tutorial,  and her signature course, Animals as Media.  In addition to advising and mentoring students in the research, design, writing, editing and media production phases of independent and thesis works, she created several experiential learning roles (of researcher, archivist, producer) for students on academic projects and public event productions.

    From 2016 - 2021 she was Associate Dean of the School of Media Studies; Associate Chair from 2001 - 2011; Director of the MA in Media Studies program, 2015 - 2016, and a member of the full-time faculty from 2007 - 2021. She founded and co-founded several of the the school's student-staffed programs and media showcases, including RUFF and FINE CUTS, Red Dog Productions, The Video Lab, and the United Nations University production team.  Prior to her 25+ years at The New School, she was adjunct faculty with NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies, teaching multi-camera live studio and location video producion.

    Her degrees and ongoing inquiry/practice are in the areas of communication, advertising, media studies, media philosophy, photography and related media.  Her professional training is in photography, video, film and multimedia production.  Prior to concentating exclusively on her academic career, she worked creatively and professionally with these media formats in the roles of producer, director and editor for a series of corporate and independent clients.

    Degrees Held

    M.F.A. Photography and Related Media, Parsons School of Design  

    Ph.D. (ABD) Communication Philosophy, The European Graduate School

    M.A. Media Studies, The New School for Social Research

    B.A. Communication/Advertising, The University of Texas at El Paso  

    Professional Affiliation

    Animals & Society

    Society for Photographic Education

    College Art Association

    American Association of University Women

    Recent Publications

    Photograph from the series Chaco Reimagined: online group exhibition, Altered Images, Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO, Feb 1 - Jun 29, 2023

    Photograph from the Plastic Animals series: group exhibition, Wildlife Art, Life in the West Gallery, Broomfiled, CO, Mar 18 - 20, 2022

    Photograph from the Plastic Animals series: group exhibition, EXTINCTION: Save the Planet, Gallerium Art Online, Dec 31, 2021- Jan 31, 2022

    Photograph from the series Encounter: group exhibition, A Generous Kingdom 6, Vernum Ultimum Art Gallery Online  Dec 15, 2021- Jan 31, 2022

    360 photography of select restricted rooms supporting visual evidence in archaeological MA thesis publication by Oliva Thomsen, National Park Service Photographic Archives, June, 2021

    Canis Lapis (Coyote), Text and photographic entries: Becoming Feral, Objet-a, 2021

    Photograph from the series Chaco Reimagined: online group exhibition, Landscapes, Las Laguna Gallery, Las Lagunas, CA, Feb 4-27, 2021

    Article, When Filming On-Location is Filming At-Home: Student Filmmakers Magazine and Public Seminar, July, 2020

    Photograph triptych from the series Chaco Reimagined: Chaco Culture National Historical Park visitor center archives, 2021

    Photographic object form the series Chaco Reimagined: Sangre de Christo Art Center archives, Pueblo, CO, 2020

    Photographs and video from the series Rosemarie's Lane: group exhibition, Textures and Layers: A Walk in the Woods, View Arts Center, Old Forge, NY, Feb - Jun, 2020

    Photograph from the series Chaco Reimagined: group exhibition, Representing the West, Sangre de Christo Arts Center, Pueblo, CO, Feb - May, 2020

    Essay and photograph from the series EncounterParsons School of Design Promotional Feature, 2019

    Essay and photographic selections from the series Look Alive!: Imprint: Parsons School of Design Promotional Feature, 2018

    Photograph from the series Encounter: group exhibition, In Relation, Photoville, Brooklyn Bridge Park, 2018

    Photograph from the series Animals Inhabit Fashion Ads: group exhibition, Aparatus of Discomfort, Photoville, Brooklyn Bridge Park, 2017

    Performances and Appearances

    Artist residency and public talks on the photographic series Chaco Reimagined: Chaco Culture National Historical Park, 2019

    “Animal Instances: Relationship to the Non-Human Animal through its Image,” Human/Animal Boundary: Exploring the Line in Philosophy and Fiction, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, 2015

    “Animal Instances: Representation of and Relationship with the Non-Human Animal,” Institute for Critical Animal Studies, North America, annual conference, Rice University, 2014

    Research Interests

    conceptual photography and video

    media technology and production practices

    animal representation in media

    communication philosophies

    cultural documentary

    media ethics



    Personal Website

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