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Mar 21, 2022

People experiencing homelessness are more often part of the background in movies than featured as the protagonists. But when they are the focus of a film, the ways that they and those who feel moved to help them are portrayed can have a big impact on how the public and policymakers think about homelessness and possible solutions.

In this episode, we talk with Dr. Whitney Gent about what she and her coauthor found in their analysis of films featuring homeless characters from 1983 to 2018, and in particular the concepts of visibility and agency. Gent is an assistant professor in the School of Communication at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She earned her doctorate in rhetoric, politics, and culture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was a graduate research fellow with IRP during her doctoral studies.