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Sparks, Anthony

Associate Professor of Cinema and Television Arts


Office: 657-278-3399

Department: 657-278-7883



Anthony Sparks, Ph.D., is an award-winning television writer-producer, screenwriter, playwright and essayist. He is also an emerging, cutting-edge scholar of media industry studies, performance studies, and African American politics and culture. Hailing from the South Side of Chicago, Sparks has written and produced on the staffs of several television drama series, including: "The District" (CBS), the groundbreaking "Lincoln Heights" (ABC Family), the J.J. Abrams spy series “Undercovers” (NBC) and the hit drama "The Blacklist," starring James Spader. He is currently a writer/supervising producer on the upcoming Ava Duvernay and Oprah Winfrey series, "Queen Sugar" (2016). Sparks has received or been nominated for several awards for his television work, including two NAACP Image Awards and two Sentinel Health Awards from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the Norman Lear Center. He is also an alum of competitive industry writing fellowships, including the Disney/ABC Writing Fellowship and the Warner Bros. Television Writing Workshop. As a playwright, Spark’s play “Ghetto Punch” has been presented at several off-Broadway venues. Prior to embracing his love for writing, Sparks was an actor and performer for over 10 years, where his credits included: the lead comedic role for five years in the hit theatre show "STOMP" in New York and on its Broadway tour. Other credits include roles at such prestigious theaters as: The Public Theater (in New York), Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Old Globe Theatre and Crossroads Theater. Sparks holds a B.F.A. in theatre and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American studies & ethnicity, all from USC. While there, he received one of the university’s highest honors for dramatic arts undergraduates, the Jack Nicholson Award. Later, he also received multiple doctoral fellowships and was a fellow at the Center for American Studies for several years. Sparks is also a consultant for Walt Disney Imagineering.

Areas of Knowledge:
  • Television Industry/Media Industry Studies
  • Television Writing/Screenwriting
  • Politics & Performance Studies
  • African American Culture & Politics

  • African American Studies
  • American Studies
  • Culture -- Diversity
  • Culture -- Popular
  • Film
  • Racial Issues
  • Television/Radio
  • Theatre

  • North America