My scholarship tendencies have always been a mixture of “geek” and “gay,” as such my research interests include LGBT and Queer Studies, culture studies, and media studies. I gravitate towards a cultural studies approach using ethnographic methods; and I tend to study televisual and new media objects like web series, transmedia storytelling, video games, and social media.
My dissertation project is an exploration into collaborative storytelling in transmedia objects that normalize LGBT representation while queering the text through audience participation and remediation. I’m calling this give and take the millennial queer dialectic. Millennial queerness focuses on the societal binaries of sexuality, gender, and normativity/deviance. However, millennial queerness utilizes a dialectical model that positions representation of LGBT and other groups traditional considered deviant and normalizes them within the text, while simultaneously othering the aesthetics, world building, and the commodification of the object. The second tenant of millennial queerness incorporates participatory and communal authorship of a queer identity through the collaborative creation of the text, and the boundaries and othering of commodification.
It’s important to note that the term millennial is used here not as a demarcation of audience age particularly, but of participatory culture and behaviors associated with that ongoing cultural phenomenon, extensively outlined by Henry Jenkins (2009 xi). Though the target audiences for many new media texts in which I would argue embody millennial queerness are considered to be of the “millennial generation,” that is individuals born between 1981 and 1996. However, millennial queerness is by no means narrowed by this age distinction, and participatory audiences and creators are often outside these parameters (Pew Research Center).
Some of the objects that I believe fall into this conceptualization are: Carmilla a transmedia web series; Welcome to Night Vale a podcast with fan-created official merchandise; Undertale a video game; and Check Please! a transmedia webcomic. I am always looking for additional objects, and if you have any recommendations, I would love to hear from you.
1. Jenkins, Henry et al. Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Education. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009. Print.
2. Pew Research Center, March, 2014, “Millennials in Adulthood: Detached from Institutions, Networked with Friends.” Web. 22 April 2016.