Babe, Robert E.

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BABE, Robert E.
(Robert Elwood Babe)


Male. Education: University of Western Ontario, B.A., 1966, M.A., 1968; Michigan State University, Ph.D., 1972.


Office—Faculty of Media and Information Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5B7, Canada. E-mail[email protected].


Michigan State University, East Lansing, instructor, 1972, assistant professor in department of television and radio, 1972-73; Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, assistant professor of economics, 1973-74; chief of telecommunications economic policy for the Canadian Department of Communications, 1974-75; Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, associate professor of communication, 1976-79; University of Ottawa, Ottawa, associate professor, 1983-88, professor of communication, 1988-2000; University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, professor of communication studies, 1999-2002; University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, currently professor, Jean Monty/BCE Chair in Media Studies, 2002-07. Concordia University, adjunct professor of communication studies, 1995-2002; Carleton University, adjunct professor of journalism and communication, 1998-2001. Has also lectured at Michigan State University, 1971, Carleton University, 1973, 1982, University of Ottawa, 1980, 1983, McGill University, 1989, and Concordia University, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1997. Consultant to universities, government organizations, and businesses, including City of East Lansing, 1972, Consumers' Association of Canada, 1973-76, Canadian Department of Communications, 1973-86, Manitoba Department of Consumer and Corporate and Internal Relations, 1973-74, 1975-76, Michigan State University, 1975, Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communication, 1976, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, 1976, 1982-83, Economic Council of Canada, 1977, Canadian Department of State, 1977-80, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., 1977-80, Gowling and Henderson (law firm), 1978-81, Science Council of Canada, 1980, Canadian Broadcasting League, 1980-82, National Film Board of Canada, 1983, British Columbia Attorney General's office, 1983-84, Canadian Unity Information Office, 1984, Canadian Conference of Arts, 1985, Carleton University Centre for Communication, Culture and Society, 1985, Ontario Management Board of Cabinet, 1986, Broadcasters' Rights Agency, 1995, City of Nepean, Ontario, 1999, and St. Boniface College, 2001. Director of investigation and research, Combines Investigation Act (Canada), 1977-79.


Best professor award, Communication Students' Association of the University of Ottawa, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99; excellence in teaching award, OCUFA, 1998.


Cable Television and Telecommunications in Canada: An Economic Analysis, Division of Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI), 1975.

Canadian Television Broadcasting Structure, Performance and Regulation, Economic Council of Canada (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1979.

(Coauthor) Broadcasting Policy and Copyright Law: An Analysis of a Cable Rediffusion Right, Federal Department of Communications (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1984.

Telecommunications in Canada: Technology, Industry, and Government, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.

(Editor) Information and Communication in Economics, Kluwer Academic Publishers (Boston, MA), 1994.

Communication and the Transformation of Economics: Essays in Information, Public Policy, and Political Economy, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1995.

Canadian Communication Thought: Ten Foundational Writers, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Culture of Ecology: Communication, Environment and Development, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Proceedings from the Tenth Annual Telecommunications Policy Research Conference, edited by Oscar Gandy and others, Ablex Publishing (Norwood, NJ), 1983; Cultures in Collision, Praeger (New York, NY), 1984; Canadian Broadcasting: The Challenge of Change, edited by Colin Hoskins and Stuart McFadyen, University of Alberta Press (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 1986; The Strategy of Canadian Culture in the 21st Century, edited by Ian Parker and others, Innis Foundation (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1988; Communication Canada, edited by Rowland Lorimer and Donald Wilson, Kagan and Wood (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1988; Illuminating the Blindspots, edited by V. Mosco, J. Wasko, and M. Pendakur, Ablex Publishing, 1993; Mediating Culture: The Politics of Representation, edited by Kosta Gouliamos and William Anselmi, Guernica (New York, NY), 1994; Information and Communication in Economics, edited by Robert E. Babe, Kluwer Academic Publishers (Boston, MA), 1994; Media Ownership in an Age of Convergence, International Institute of Communications, 1996; Cultural Industries in Canada, edited by Michael Dorland, Lorimer (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1996; Cultural Ecology, edited by Danielle Cliche, International Institute of Communications, 1997; Understanding Telecommunications and Public Policy: A Guide for Libraries, Canadian Library Association/School of Library and Information Studies, Dalhousie University (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 1998; Networking Knowledge for Information Societies: Institutions and Interventions, edited by Robin Mansell, Rohan Samarajiva, and Amy Mahan, Delft University Press, 2002; An Institutional Approach to Public Utilities Regulation, by Warren J. Samuels and Edythe Miller, Michigan State University Press (East Lansing, MI), 2002; At the Speed of Light There Is Only Illumination: A Reappraisal of Marshall McLuhan, University of Ottawa Press, 2004; and Seeking Convergence in Policy and Practice: Communications in the Public Interest, Volume 2, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), 2004.

Contributor to encyclopedias and dictionaries, including Canadian Encyclopedia, Hurtig Publishers (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), 1985, 1988, 1996, 2000; Encyclopedia of Television, edited by Horace Newcombe, 1996; Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Volume 14, University of Toronto Press, 1998; and The Oxford Companion to Canadian History, Oxford University Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2004. Contributor to journals, including Topia: The Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, Canadian Journal of Communication, Journal of Communication, Queen's Quarterly, Canadian Patent Reporter, Telecommunications Policy, Canadian Public Administration, and Journal of Economic Issues. Also author of conference papers, reports, and distance learning modules. Advisor to the Canadian Encyclopedia, 1984, and consultant, 1996-97, 1997-98, and 1999-2000. Board of directors, Canadian Journal of Communication, 1987-90; member of editorial board, Canadian Journal of Communication, 1996—, Topia, 2002—, and Canadian Journal of Media Studies, 2004—.


Robert E. Babe is a Canadian academic primarily interested in the connections between communications and economics. Babe's peers and critics have praised his writings for illuminating Canadian contributions to these fields in a scholarly atmosphere more predominantly dominated by American and British texts. Writing in Labour/Le Travail, Evelyn Ellerman commented that liberal arts scholars have been having more of an impact on "the global experiment in social engineering. Robert Babe now adds himself to that growing chorus."

Ellerman was reviewing Babe's Canadian Communication Thought: Ten Foundational Writers when she made the above observation. This 2000 work was lauded by reviewers for illustrating the unique evolution of Canadian communication thinking through an evaluation of pundits such as Northrop Frye, Graham Spry, Gertrude Robinson, and others. The author shows how the influences of religion on their childhoods, as well as the unique history of Canada, helped evolve the ideal of community as being more important in Canadian thought than individualism, which is a hallmark of American philosophy. Although Ellerman felt Babe's generalizations sometimes put his arguments "on thin ice," overall she asserted that "his discussion may seem defensible, even insightful." Among other aspects of the work, Ellerman praised the "lucid prose" and "excellent reference section." American Review of Canadian Studies contributor Jonathan Rose similarly praised the writing in the book, adding that "Babe has done an enormous service" in writing Canadian Communication Thought. The critic also felt that the book is not only valuable to those interested in communications science in general, but also "for anyone who wishes to explore the ontological foundations of communications. This is where it truly shines."

Among Babe's many other works is Communication and the Transformation of Economics: Essays in Information, Public Policy, and Political Economy, a collection of sixteen papers in which "the author seeks to integrate informational and ecological theory into the setting of evolutionary/institutional economics," according to Ken Dennis in the Journal of Economic Issues. The overall message of the book, though, is gloomy. Babe sees problems looming ahead as international corporations gain power while nations lose it and the gap between wealthy people and the poor continues to grow. "This book should have wide readership," Dennis concluded. "Granted, some will object to Babe's tendency to preach the gospel of doom, but the message is delivered concisely and vigorously."



American Review of Canadian Studies, autumn, 2002, Jonathan Rose, review of Canadian Communication Thought: Ten Foundational Writers, p. 483.

Journal of Economic Issues, March, 1997, Ken Dennis, review of Communication and the Transformation of Economics: Essays in Information, Public Policy, and Political Economy, p. 274.

Labour/Le Travail, fall, 2001, Evelyn Ellerman, review of Canadian Communication Thought, p. 342.


Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario Web site, (October 30, 2006), curriculum vitae for Robert E. Babe.