What I Do
I’m a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, getting my master’s in communication studies (critical media studies). I teach Introduction to Public Speaking (COMM 1101) and sometimes also work as a teaching assistant for classes like COMM 1681, Rhetorical Fictions and 20th Century Conflicts, and COMM 3431: Persuasion Theories. My research interests include game studies, manga studies, virtual communities, Japanese popular culture, queer studies, child sexuality, pornography, and laws regarding freedom of speech and expression.
Why I Am Who I Am as a Researcher and a Teacher
Both my research and my teaching methods are unconventional and controversial. I rarely censor my speech, whether in my writing or in the classroom. I believe my students are better learners and more eager to participate in class when I treat them as comrades and as human beings who are intelligent, caring, and funny. Though I write as an academic “should” for journal submissions and class work, when I am away from the academy, such as when I’m on Twitter, I write as I speak: I curse, rage about things that upset me, and reference or discuss relatively taboo topics like sex and substances. I believe in an all-encompassing First Amendment that protects even “speech we hate:”: Minors expressing sexual agency, video games and movies depicting extreme violence, and music containing curse words and slurs. As a critical media studies scholar who spends much of her time researching media effects and censorship’s effects on us as individuals and as a “democratic” society, I believe that controlling thought, speech, or any other form of non-explicitly harmful expression is a definitive evil.
And yet, that is not the only framework from which I operate. I am also a scholar and a woman desperate to see our culture treat women and queers fairly. I do not believe in censorship, but I do believe in shaming people, organizations, corporations, and governments, for their primitive, patriarchal, and hypocritical views of women, queers, feminism, and non-traditionally-male/masculine media. Thus, while I will almost never call for something to be censored, I will almost always call for a less asshole-y depiction of girls, women, queers, and the products they produce, in our society.