J. Perry Howell

Senior Lecturer
WMS 113
Rhetoric of science and technology, media and anxiety, negotiation processes, surveillance.

Perry Howell received his Ph.D. in Communication Studies from The University of Iowa in 2010.  His dissertation explored how surveillance technologies and practices have influenced the modern experience of parenting.  Perry also has a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology (from the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology) and has been a licensed psychologist since 1989.

Perry’s research and professional life has reflected his ongoing interest in anxiety as a powerful motive force.  He has published two studies of the intimate interrelationship between media, children, and cultural anxieties, one looking at the phenomenon of missing children notices on milk cartons and another on radio news coverage of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.

Perry’s classes reflect his ongoing fascination with how best to communicate within different media, for different audiences, and within situations with special social demands, such as negotiations and apologies.


  • Howell, P. (2012). Early radio news and the origins of the risk society. Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media, 10(2), 131-143.
  • Howell, P. (2010). Got worry? Missing children notices on milk cartons in the United States. Interactions: Studies in Communication and Culture, 2(1), 35-46.

Awards and Fellowships

  • Ballard/Seashore Dissertation Year Fellowship, University of Iowa, for “Parents, Watching: Introducing Surveillance Into Modern American Parenting”, 2009
  • University Housing Academic Excellence Award (undergraduate teaching) University Housing, Office of Residence Life, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 2009
  • Samuel L. Becker Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship in Media Studies (University of Iowa, Department of Communication Studies) for “Cries & Whispers: The Baby Monitor and Anxiety Technologies”, 2007