Personhood is a complex philosophical, legal, and anthropological category of being. It can also be considered to be an aesthetic practice; that is, it has formal and material conventions established through sensuous encounters between bodies and things and the power relations that condition these encounters. If personhood is aesthetic, then the arts have much to offer a study of the social, cultural, historical, and psychological constitution of personhood. Tools developed for the analysis of works of art can also be used to understand personhood as a sensuously appealing but contested and often hegemonic creation.
My scholarship pays particular attention to popular media and media art as practices that reinforce and contest, reflect and produce the aesthetics of personhood. More specifically, since my graduate coursework in the fields of performance studies and film studies at UC Berkeley, I have repeatedly returned to two areas of inquiry: a) the media aesthetics of girlhood (and youth more generally) in American, Japanese, and European contexts, and b) animation as a techno-discursive apparatus for constructing personhood as a racialized, gendered, and aged property. More recently, as my creative practice has dovetailed with my scholarship, I have become interested in the vocal aesthetics of music, sound art, and everyday life, especially in relation to issues of disability and labor.
Interdisciplinary in nature, my publications have engaged with the fields of digital culture studies, media studies, animation studies, girlhood studies, disability studies, art history, and performance studies, among others. My scholarly research has led me to racism and the history of mo-cap, the costume designs of queer artist-provocateur Leigh Bowery, the groundbreaking Internet art of Martine Neddam, the interactive architecture of Kas Oosterhuis, the infamous parked domain girl, and the writings of computer science visionary J.C.R. Licklider. My first book, Girlhood and the Plastic Image (Dartmouth College Press, 2014), contributes to the surge of academic interest in girlhood while "troubl[ing] hierarchies at the heart of new media studies and question[ing] some of girls studies’ central identity claims” (Catherine Driscoll, Associate Professor of gender and cultural studies, University of Sydney). My second book, Young-Girls in Echoland: #Theorizing Tiqqun (co-written with French studies scholar Andrea Jonsson, University of Minnesota Press, 2021), addresses a wide range of responses to Tiqqun's self-described "trash theory" Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl (1999, translated into English in 2012). Provoked by this audacious and arguably misogynist tract, feminist theorists, men's rights activists, musicians, and memesters have all contributed to a multimodal conversation about the relationship between youth, femininity, and hegemony under communicative capitalism. I am currently under contract for Shakespeare and Nonhuman Intelligence, an experimental monograph putting the phenomenon of the Shakespeare bot into conversation with high humanism's Bardolatry.