Graduate Program

Communication Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion

Fall 2020

Thesis Director

Marita Gronnvoll

Thesis Committee Member

Richard G. Jones, Jr.

Thesis Committee Member

Carrie A. Wilson-Brown


The Western media has often been criticized for biased coverage of happenings in and around Africa. The 2014 Ebola outbreak created a lot of media attention for West Africa, and by extension, the entire continent. This study examined to what extent postcolonial discourses were infused in two films from the HBO Trilogy: Ebola: The Doctor’s Story (2015) and Body Team 12 (2015). To analyze these texts, I took a semiotic approach by identifying, describing and interpreting the signs in both films, to discuss the postcolonial discourses in three broad themes. Ebola: The Doctor’s Story (2015) was analyzed in the following themes: foreign versus local intervention efforts, biohazard, relational signs while the themes in Body Team 12 (2015) were local intervention efforts, gender and biohazard. This study expands on existing research on the postcolonial representation of Africa in Western media, especially in the area of film.