Announcing our Spring 2014 Graduating Class

24 Apr, 2014

Announcing our Spring 2014 Graduating Class

We are proud to announce our latest cohort of graduating BCNM Designated Emphasis and Masters Certificate students. We'll miss their energy and their intellectual curiosity around the Center, but wish them all the best in the thrilling new endeavors they are undertaking and look forward to the amazing intellectual, artistic, and technological contributions we know they will produce.

Designated Emphasis

Kate Chandler (Rhetoric) will be taking up a position as an Assistant Professor of Culture and Politics at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Kate's dissertation project, "Drone Flight and Failure: the United States' Secret Trials, Experiments and Operations in Unmanning, 1936-1973" is a genealogy of unmanned aircraft. She examines the system's history to interrogate political and ethical questions raised by the use of drones today. As part of her research, she completed an over 100 hour course at Ars-Jornada USDA research station in Las Cruces, New Mexico in the technical aspects of unmanned aircraft. Kate has presented her work at the University of Toronto for the American Comparative Literature Association's conference "Global Positioning Systems," and at Duke University's 3 day workshop, "Geo-Body Politics of Emancipation." She has also participated in artistic residences at the Banff Centre's "The Decapitated Museum" and Provision Library at George Mason University's "The Case for Space." She was also instrumental in helping the Center for New Media organize their recent Robots and New Media symposium.

Irene Chien (Film and Media) will be joining the Media and Communication Department at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania as a Postdoctoral Fellow through the Consortium for Faculty Diversity at Liberal Arts Colleges. Irene's dissertation "Programmed Moves: Fighting and Dancing Videogames, Embodiment, and Race" argues that fighting and dancing videogames point to a key dynamic in videogame play—the programming of the body into the algorithmic logic of the game. The body is invested with familiar racial, sexual, and national identifications, pointing to the connection between technological and social coding in videogames. Irene has presented her work the Society for Cinema and Media Studies' conference in Chicago, and at the Center for 21st Century Studies' "Dark Side of the Digital" conference in Milwaukee. As a Graduate Student Researcher on the steering committee for the new Global Urban Humanities program, she developed three new interdisciplinary courses, in addition to planning a colloquium series.

David Humphrey (East Asian Languages and Cultures) will join Middlebury College in Vermont as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture in Fall 2014. David researches the development of comedy in contemporary Japan, investigating the evolution of new comic genres alongside new media forms. His dissertation project focuses on nonsense comedy forms from the late 1970s onwards; it explores the affective histories these forms mobilize in response to social changes effected through the transition to a so-called ‘soft’ economy and information society. David has presented his work at the 2012 iConference in Toronto, and has conducted extensive research at the University of Tokyo.

Photo credit: Michael Pihulic

While Tiffany Ng (Music) will not file to graduate this May, she will be taking a one year position as a Visiting Professor of Musicology at Saint Olaf College, a small liberal arts college in Minnesota with a very strong music program, in Fall 2014. The department is seeking to expand the breadth and diversity of its offerings and to forge connections with disciplines across the campus. The combination of interdisciplinary collaborative scholarship and innovative artistic practice that BCNM made possible positioned Tiffany as the clear choice for the job. Tiffany recently performed the first interactive carillon concert, "Polartide," with Greg Niemeyer, Perrin Meyer, Rama Gottfried, and Chris Chafe. Not one month later, she performed at the Bok Towers' 22nd International Carillon Festival, and has since been invited to take Polartide on the road in Barcelona and Belgium. Tiffany has acted as a GSR for several core New Media classes, including NWMEDIA 201: Interrogating New Media, and NMWEDIA 290: Critical Making. She was this year's recipient of the Lyman Fellowship.

Margaret Rhee will be taking a postdoctoral Visiting Research position with the UCLA Institute of American Cultures in the department of Asian American Studies for the 2014 - 2015 year. As part of her duties, she will take teach one seminar for the department of Asian American Studies, and work on revising her dissertation, "How We Became Human: Race, Technology, and the Asian American Body," into a book length manuscript. She will also begin her new research project, a comparative study of Black and Asian American actors and technologists in Los Angeles and the Silicon Valley. While at Berkeley, she served as a co-leader for From the Center, a feminist collective that aims to provide digital media education for women inside and outside the jail setting as authors, directors, and storytellers of their own lives. Their website can be found at:

Omar Ricks (Theater, Dance and Performance Studies) is interested in combining ideas from performance studies and African American studies to analyze the efforts of citizen journalists using mobile devices to record race crimes, such as occurred with Oscar Grant's shooting in 2009. His work traces the networks of distribution of antiblack racism and how this transmission is constitutive of specific knowledges that shape and circumscribe performances of blackness. He has written on Camille Utterback, questioning the effort of urban development advocates to gentrify San Francisco's poverty-stricken Tenderloin district by sponsoring a digital art installation that effectively operated as a kind of surveillance of the street bordering a shop window. He has also examined the question of whether black people are regarded as human today using the ideas of Slavoj Zizek. Omar previously received his MFA from the University of California, Irvine.

Reginold Royston (African American Studies) will begin a two year postdoctoral Mellon fellowship in African Studies at Williams College in Fall 2014. His dissertation "Trending Ghana: Homeland, Diaspora, and New Media Publics" describes hwo the rhetoric of diaspora is deployed in IT-driven development; in global news, social, and entertainment media; and in the social imaginary of Ghana. Reggie investigates how a diaspora identity is constructed in increasingly ambient environments such as Twitter, online radio, and mobile devices, using traditional ethnographic methods and digital forms of participant observation. Reggie has been a HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Fellow. He has presented at the 2013 African Studies Association conference, and has a paper forthcoming in the University of Illinois Press' New Black Studies series. He has also co-taught American Cybercultures, and is preparing a paper with Ashley Ferro-Murray related to this work.

Jen Schradie (Sociology) has received a post-doctoral position at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Toulouse, France. Jen's dissertation "The Myth of Digital Activism" addresses the argument made by many scholars that the Internet has created more participatory social movements that do not require organizations. She analyzes organizations on opposing sides of a single political issue in North Carolina and conducts ethnographic observations and interviews, in addition to social media data analysis, to investigate online participation. Jen has been published in the Columbia Journalism Review, Poetics, and in Information, Communication & Society in both 2012 and 2013. She has presented at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, and given invited talks at Oxford University and UNC Chapel Hill. She is a leading voice in academic criticism of the digital divide.

Masters Certificate

Divya Anand (Information) will work at as a Senior Product Manager upon graduating this Spring. She is currently studying Human Computer Interaction and working on a children's learning application called Wordcraft. Wordcraft is an interactive tablet application where children can learn to build more complete sentences and in the process develop comprehensive writing skills. The app provides the child with visual feedback as he or she structures sentences, to allow for constant refinement, without negatively impacting the child's creativity. Divya has interned for Deloitte, worked as a UX designer on an app featured by Lifehacker, and spent four years as a product manager for India's 2nd largest job website.

Helena Keeffe (Art Practice) will graduate in May. She will teach at UC Berkeley in June and July, before deciding where next to direct her attention. While at Berkeley, Helena has been at the forefront of the discussion on art and the value of labor. With the assistance of the Arts Research Center, she co-organized a workshop that interrogated the relationship between art, labor, and economics. She also received the Center for New Media's Data Literacy Award for her work "Standard Deviation." The project is a forum enabling artists to access resources and define personal standards related to the value of their labor. Helena collects cultural producers compensation data and presents it in a form that makes easily visible the landscape of support (both monetary and intangible) for artists. The award assisted her in the development of an online data collection and presentation platform that could be form a scalable framework for use by other arts communities.

Brandon Schneider (Italian Studies) will graduate in May. His dissertation "Berlusconi Between Politics and Popular Culture" compares the Italian politician/media magnate Silvio Berlusconi's performance across media with that of key protagonists of contemporary Italian popular culture, including stars of televised fiction, soccer players, and tabloid celebrities. He contextualizes these findings with respect to past and present interactions of the politics-popular culture-media relationship in Italy, including Garibaldi and Mussolini, and theorizes the signficance of results through Gramsci's concepts of hegemony and the national-popular. He has presented at the American Association of Italian Studies, and published a review in Italica. Brandon is now broadening his research into political spectacle through digital media and aims to demystify mediated narratives with his work.