School of Arts

Dr Susan Yell

Position: Senior Lecturer
Study area: Humanities and Social Sciences
Location: Gippsland Campus, Bldg 1E, Rm 229
Phone: 5122 6442


Doctor of Philosophy - University of Sydney - 1994
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) - University of Sydney - 1983



Bachelor of Arts


  • Media & Screen Texts (FLMES1001)
  • Media & Screen Contexts (FLMES1002)
  • Media Audiences (FLMES2454/FLMES3454)
  • English Literature & Text (LITCI2772/LITCI3772)
  • Introduction to Creative Writing (LITCR1001)


Susan is a communications and media scholar working in the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Susan gained her PhD (in systemic-functional linguistics and social semiotics) from the University of Sydney in 1994. Her teaching career has spanned four institutions. She began her career at the University of Sydney, where she held a tutorship from 1986-1989, then was appointed to a lectureship at Central Queensland University in 1991. She took up a position at Monash University in late 1999, before joining Federation University in 2014 as a result of the merger with Monash’s Gippsland Campus.

Areas of expertise

Susan brings a background in linguistics, social semiotics and discourse analysis to a range of research topics including the relationships between discourse and affect; communication technologies and literacies; and media and the public sphere. She is interested in the role of communication technologies in enabling (or hindering) social connection. She has published a co-authored book (Communication and Cultural Literacies, Allen & Unwin/Sage, 2000) and a number of research articles on these topics. From 1997 to 2007 she edited the annual special issue of the A-ranked media and cultural studies journal Southern Review: Communication, Politics, Culture. Her current research interests centre on the media, emotions and disasters. Recent publications have focused on the reporting of the 2009 Black Saturday bush-fires, mediated emotion in the construction of local and global communities/publics, historical shifts in the emotional response to disasters, and emotions in the online world (Yell 2010, 2012, Yell & Duffy 2014, Duffy et al 2016, Morrissey & Yell 2016). In her current research as an investigator within the Community Wellbeing stream of the Hazelwood Health Study, she is investigating the role of media and social media in community resilience and recovery.

Research interests

  • Affect theory and emotions, the relation between discourse and affect
  • Systemic-functional linguistics and social semiotics (especially interpersonal meaning and evaluation)
  • Communication technologies and social connection
  • Media and the public sphere
  • Disasters and news reporting
  • Disaster communication
  • Social media use during and after disasters
  • Online teaching and learning


Susan has supervised a number of PhD students to successful completion and is currently supervising 3 students (as principal or associate supervisor). PhD topics supervised include:

  • learning styles in online learning
  • a deconstructive approach to youth
  • a governmental analysis of film censorship and classification
  • a reception study of net-radio audiences
  • a study of creativity in advertising
  • risk as an organising concept in public relations
  • a remediation theory approach to online news consumption.

Current doctoral students:

Philippa Brear (Monash), ‘Making waves: a study of activism in relation to asbestos and asbestos-related diseases in Australia’ (Principal supervisor)

Lorraine Bullock (Monash), ‘Authors, reader communities and popular fiction: Georgette Heyer, Anne McCaffrey and J.K. Rowling’ (Principal supervisor)

Meghan Hopper (Monash), ‘“Here we are now, represent us”: Women, policy and process in Australian political journalism, 1972-2010’ (Associate supervisor)



Schirato, T. & Yell, S. (1996) Communication and Cultural Literacy: An Introduction, Allen & Unwin, Sydney.

Schirato, T. & Yell, S. (2000) Communication and Cultural Literacy: An Introduction, 2nd edition, Allen & Unwin, Sydney/Sage, London

Book chapters

Yell, S. (1990) ‘Text, process and product/ion: Gender and Power in Strindberg's Miss Julie’ in Feminine/Masculine and Representation, ed. Terry Threadgold and Anne Cranny-Francis, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, pp.190-210.

Yell, S. (2005) ‘Critical discourse analysis and social semiotics: Re-thinking text and discourse in media and communication research’, in Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo (ed.), Topical Issues in Communication and Media Research, Nova Science Press, New York, pp.9-23.

Duffy, M. & Yell, S. (2014) ‘Collective grief and Australian natural disasters’, in David Lemmings and Ann Brooks (eds), Emotions and Social Change: Historical and Sociological Perspectives, Routledge (New York), pp. 159-184

Duffy, M., Wood, P., Yell, S., Carroll, M. & Whyte, S. (2016) ‘Why isn’t there a plan? Community vulnerability and resilience in the Latrobe Valley’s open cut coal mine town’, in Michele Companion & Miriam Chaiken (eds), Understanding Vulnerability, Building Resilience: Responses to Disaster and Climate Change, Taylor & Francis

Refereed journal articles

Yell, S. (1990) ‘Control and conflict: dialogue in prose fiction’, Narrative Issues, AUMLA 74 pp.136-153.

Wallace, A. & Yell, S. (1997) ‘New literacies in the virtual classroom’, Southern Review 30.3, pp.333-344.

Yell, S. (1998) ‘Implicature’, Encyclopedia of Semiotics, ed. P. Bouissac, Garland, London & New York, pp. 302-304.

Schirato, T. & Yell, S. (1999) ‘The “New” Men's Magazines and the Performance of Masculinity’, Media International Australia Incorporating Cultural Policy No. 92 (August 1999) pp.81-90.

Schirato, T. & Yell, S. (1999) ‘Contemporary Discourses and the Politics of Childhood’, Southern Review 32.3, pp.282-291.

Bright, P., Schirato, T. & Yell, S. (2000) ‘Communication Meta-Literacies and Tertiary Graduates’, Australian Journal of Communication 27.2 pp.99-110.

Yell, S. (2001) ‘Email and Public Debate in Universities’, Southern Review 34.1, pp.22-31.

Yell, S. (2003) ‘New for Old? Converging Media and Email Practices in the Workplace’, Australian Journal of Communication 30.1, pp.93-108.

Yell, S. (2003) ‘The Unruly Space of Email’, Southern Review 36.2, pp.52-67.

Atkinson, P. & Yell, S. (2006) ‘Affect, Time and the Enunciative Body’, Southern Review 38.2, pp.40-57

Yell, S. (2007) ‘Theorising Text as Practice in the New Media Age’, New Zealand Journal of Media Studies, 10.1, pp.14-23.

Yell, S. (2010) ‘“Breakfast is now tea, toast and tissues”: affect and the media coverage of bushfires’, Media International Australia 137, (November), pp. 109-119.

Fletcher, M. & Yell, S. (2011) ‘Airgraphs and an airman: the role of airgraphs in World War II family correspondence’, History Australia 8.3, pp.117-138.

Yell, S. (2012) ‘Natural disaster news and communities of feeling: the affective interpellation of local and global publics’, Social Semiotics 22.4, pp.409-428.

Morrissey, B. & Yell, S. (2016) ‘Performative trolling: Szubanski, Gillard, Dawson and the nature of the utterance’, Persona Studies (April 2016).


ANZCA (Australian & New Zealand Communication Association)