Lauren Berliner

Assistant Professor

B.A., Wesleyan University, English Literature and Anthropology
M.A., Emerson College, Visual & Media Art
Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, Communication

Office:  UW2-322
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011


My primary goal in teaching is to help my students feel energized and equipped to do difficult and important work in the world. And I wish for them to leave my classes with more questions than they started with. I am always pleased when students tell me that my classes have made them consider multiple sides of issues and debates. Is the Internet inherently empowering? How do we learn to see difference?

I am interested in developing new frameworks for critical pedagogy and encourage students to take a praxis-oriented approach to scholarship as well as a scholarly approach to multiple forms of cultural practices. I see pedagogy as a form of critical engagement and community building through collaboration with on-campus and local resources, and believe my role is to enhance these connections for students even after our coursework together has ended. I typically incorporate diverse learning styles and uses of new media forms in the classroom, and enjoy tailoring activities to students’ particular backgrounds, interests, and concerns.

Recent Courses Taught

BCULST 500: Formations of Cultural Studies
BCULST 501: Cultural Studies as Collaboration
BIS 233: Participatory Media Culture
BIS 300: Interdisciplinary Inquiry
BIS 473: Visual Culture Studies in a Digital World 
BISMCS 333: Media and Communication Studies
Summer Institute of Arts & Humanities: Seattle’s Upside Down: Unearthing the City’s Deeper Histories


I am a scholar and media maker working in the area of critical media practice. My research engages ongoing transformations in everyday and amateur media production, intervening in academic, intrapersonal, community, commercial, and activist contexts. In my community-based research and teaching I seek to blur distinctions between theory and practice, using collaboration as a way to understand the contemporary use of digital audiovisual technologies in pedagogical and social contexts. I am particularly interested in studying discourses of media empowerment in relation to the institutional structures and intersubjective dynamics that are shaping the contemporary media production of people at the margins.

My book, Producing Queer Youth: The Paradox of Digital Media Empowerment combines participatory action research with queer youth media makers in San Diego along with textual analysis of youth-produced videos to examine how queer youth media producers negotiate the structural conditions of funding and publicity and incorporate digital self-representations into practices of identity management. This research emerges out of my involvement with teen video producers in two programs that I have directed: Girls Empowered to Make Movies (sponsored by The Girl Scouts of America) and Changing Reels, a media workshop for San Diego queer youth. I am also developing a co-edited volume with Ron Krabill called Feminist Interventions in Participatory Media: Pedagogy, Publics, Practice, which will provide theoretical, creative, and practical strategies for integrating technology, social change, media activism, and/or praxis into teaching or community work.

My latest project is a collaboration with medical anthropologist Nora Kenworthy on a project that has been funded by the Simpson Center for the Humanities and the Royalty Research Fund called Producing a Worthy Illness: The Visual, Moral, and Financial Economies of Crowdfunding for Health Crises. This research brings health studies, visual culture studies, and the digital humanities into closer conversation in an innovative, interdisciplinary, multi-staged research study that investigates how in the face of a broken healthcare system, Americans are engaging with participatory media in order to solicit new forms of care and support. 

An important facet of my public scholarship is my role as co-curator of Los Angeles Filmforum's Festival of (In)Appropriation, an international traveling showcase of contemporary, short audiovisual works that appropriate existing film, video, or other media and repurpose it in “inappropriate” and inventive ways. I continue to screen my own work in classrooms and festivals and have been enjoying creating programs for the classroom and the community through Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum.

Selected Publications



Selected Articles & Chapters