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Hilde Van den Bulck

Hilde Van den Bulck

Professor of Communication
Department Head
Department of Communication
Office: 3201 Arch Street, Suite 100, Room 152


  • PhD in Social Sciences from KU Leuven (B) (2000)
  • MA in Mass Communication from the University of Leicester (UK) (1991)
  • MA in Communication Studies from KU Leuven (B) (1989)

Curriculum Vitae:

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Research Interests:

  • Political economy of media structures
  • Media policies for digitized media ecologies
  • Stakeholders and coalitions in media policies
  • Digitization, convergence and legacy media
  • Public (service) media
  • Methods of media policy analysis
  • Media culture in a digitized media ecosystem
  • Media and (collective) identities
  • Celebrity culture and industry
  • Celebrity philanthropy and activism
  • Celebrity and populism
  • Fandom and anti-fandom


Hilde Van den Bulck combines expertise in media structure and policies with expertise in media culture. Her work on media structures and policies focuses on the impact of technological, political, economic and cultural processes, especially how digitization and convergence affect legacy media. She specializes in public (service) media in that regard, recently analyzing how personalization strategies based on algorithms affect the core public media value of universality. Her most recent project focuses on American public media, especially on the potential of PBS as most trusted US institution in a post-truth era.

With regards to media culture, next to analyzing the relationships between media culture(s) and collective (national, ethnic, gender and age-related) identities, she focuses on the role of mediated communication in celebrity culture and the celebrity apparatus. Always linking media culture to media industry, she analyzes how celebrities’ ideas, words, and actions provoke mediated debates amongst fans, wider audiences and, in the case of celebrity activism, politicians and policy makers. Topics range from celebrity and health, over celebrity and BLM to celebrity and populism. As a corollary, she analyzes celebrity fandom and anti-fandom.

In 2018, Routledge published her book Celebrity Philanthropy and Activism: Mediated Interventions in the Global Public Sphere. The core content of this book is presented in this animated video:

Beyond that, for many years she had a monthly column in Belgian newspaper De Standaard and, later, on the news site of main Flemish public media institution VRT. For 12 years, she was vice chair of the Sectorial Media Council that provides policy advice to the Flemish Media Minister.

Before coming to Drexel, Hilde was a Professor of Communication Studies, Head of Department of Communication, then Associate Dean of Research and later Dean of the Social Sciences at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

Selected Publications:


  • Van den Bulck, H.; Puppis, M.; Donders, K. & Van Audenhove, L. (Eds.) (forthcoming) Palgrave Handbook of Methods for Media Policy Analysis. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave.
  • Van den Bulck, H. (2018) Celebrity Philanthropy and Activism: Mediated Interventions in the Global Public Sphere. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.


  • Griffin, M. & Van den Bulck, H. (2022) ‘Of Superheroes and SJWs: Media and Fans Framing the Impact of “Diversity” in 2010s Comic Books’, The Journal of Popular Culture
  • Hyzen, A. & Van den Bulck, H. (2021) Conspiracy theory and popular culture. Media and Communication, 9(3), 179-188
  • Van den Bulck, H. & Hyzen, A (2020) ‘Of Lizards and Ideological Entrepreneurs: Alex Jones and Infowars in the Relationship between Populist Nationalism and the Post-Global Media Ecology’, International Communication Gazette, 82 (1): 42-59.
  • Lundy, J. Jenkins, A. & Van den Bulck, H. (2020) ‘Fandom’, International Encyclopedia of Media Psychology. London; Wiley.
  • Sørensen, J.K.; Van den Bulck, H. & Sokol, K. (2020). Stop Spreading the Data: PSM, Trust and Third Party Service. Journal of Information Policy, 10: 474-513.
  • Robeers, T. & Van den Bulck, H. (2019) ‘’Hypocritical investor’ or Hollywood ‘do-gooder’? A framing analysis of media and audiences negotiating Leonardo DiCaprio’s “green’ persona” through his involvement in Formula E’, Celebrity Studies, 12 (3): 444-459.
  • Donders, K.; Van den Bulck, H. & Raats, T. (2018) 'The Politics of Pleasing: A Critical Analysis of Multistakeholderism in Public Service Media Policies in Flanders', Media, Culture and Society, online first.
  • Van den Bulck, H. & Moe, M. (2018) ‘Universality and Personalisation Through Algorithms: Mapping Strategies and Exploring Dilemmas’, Media Culture and Society, 40(6): 875-892 (open access:
  • Van den Bulck, H. (2017) ‘”She Died of a Mother’s Broken Heart”: Media and Audiences’ Framing of Health Narratives of Heart-Related Celebrity Deaths’, International Journal of Communication, 11: 4965-4987. DOI: 1932–8036/20170005.
  • Van den Bulck, H.; Claessens, N.; Mast, J. & Kuppens, A. (2015) ‘Representation of Fandom in Mainstream Media: Analysis of Production and Content of Flemish Television’s Superfans’, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 19(6): 513-528. DOI: 10.1177/1367549415597924
  • Panis, K. & Van den Bulck, H. (2014) ‘In the Footsteps of Bob and Angelina: Celebrities’ Diverse Societal Engagement and Its Ability to Attract Media Coverage’, Communications, 39 (1): 23–42. DOI: 10.1080/19392397.2015.1062655

Book Chapters

  • Donders, K., & Van den Bulck, H. (2020). Universality of public service media and preschool audiences: The choice against a dedicated television channel in Flanders. In P. Savage, M. Medina, & G. F. Lowe (Eds.), Universalism in Public Service Media (pp. 49-68). Gothenburg: Nordicom, University of Gothenburg.
  • De Backer, C.; Van den Bulck, H.; Fisher, M.L. & Ouvrien, G. (2019) Gossip and Reputation in the Media: How Celebrities Emerge and Evolve by Means of Mass-Mediated Gossip. In F. Giardini & R. Wittek (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Gossip and Reputation. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Bels, A. & Van den Bulck, H. (2019) ‘Social Media Celebrities as Salient Resource for Preteens' Identity Work’. In S.S Duvall (Ed.) Celebrity and Youth: Mediated Audiences, Fame Aspirations and Identity Formation. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Puppis, M. & Van den Bulck, H. (2019) ‘Doing Media Policy Research’, pp. 23-50 in H. Van den Bulck, M. Puppis, K.
  • Donders & L. Van Audenhove (Eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Methods for Media Policy Research. New York, N.Y.: Palgrave.
  • Van den Bulck, H. (2019) ‘Analysing Policy Making: Stakeholder and Advocacy Coalition Framework Analysis’, pp. 451-470 in H. Van den Bulck, M. Puppis, K. Donders & L. Van Audenhove (Eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Methods for Media Policy Research. New York, N.Y.: Palgrave.
  • Van den Bulck, H. Donders, K. & Lowe, G.F. (2018) Public Service Media in the Networked Society.  What Society? What Network? What Role? 11’, pp 11-28 in G.F. Lowe, H. Van den Bulck & K. Donders (Eds.) Public Service Media in the Networked Society. Gothenburg: NORDICOM.
  • Van den Bulck, H. (2017) ‘Is Convergence the “Killer Bug” in the Media Ecosystem? The Case of Flemish Media Policymaking 2010–2015’, pp. 241-260 in S.Sparviero; C. Peil & G. Balbi (Eds.) Media Convergence and Deconvergence. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Van den Bulck, J. & Van den Bulck H. (2017) Communication Sciences in Flanders: A History. in S. Averbeck-Lietz (Ed.) Kommunikationswissenschaft im internationalen Vergleich. Transationale Perspektiven. NY, NY: Springer.
  • Claessens, N. & Van den Bulck, H. (2014) ‘A Severe Case of Disliking Bimbo Heidi, Scumbag Jesse and Bastard Tiger: Analysing Celebrities’ Online Anti-fans’, pp. 63-75 in L. Duits, K. Zwaan & S. Reijnders (eds.) The Ashgate Research Companion to Fan Cultures. London: Ashgate.