Faculty and Staff

Lauren Berliner

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Assistant Professor

BA, English/Anthropology, Wesleyan University
MA, Visual and Media Art, Emerson College
PhD, Communication, University of California, San Diego

Office:  UW2-331
Email: lsb26@uw.edu
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011


I am dedicated to creating meaningful work with my students. I want them to leave my classes with more questions than they started with. And I want them to feel energized and equipped to do hard and important work in the world. 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 300: Interdisciplinary Inquiry
BIS 233: Participatory Media Culture
BISMCS 333: Media and Communication Studies


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.

I am currently developing my first book manuscript, Bootstrappers, Bullies, and Broadcasters: LGBTQ Youth and The Paradox of Digital Media Empowerment, which combines participatory action research with LGBTQ youth media makers in San Diego along with textual analysis of youth-produced videos to examine how LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ youth.

My latest research is a collaboration with medical anthropologist Nora Kenworthy on a project that is funded by the Simpson Center for the Humanities, called Producing a Worthy Illness: The Visual, Moral, and Financial Economies of Crowdfunding for Health CrisesThis 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 patients and families engage 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-curater 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


Bootstrappers, Bullies, and Broadcasters: LGBTQ Youth and The Paradox of Digital Media Empowerment. In progress.


Co-Producer, 5-DVD Compilation and travelling international program, the Festival of (In)Appropriation, 2012-2015. 

Director and Producer, All in One Basket (2006), distributed by Fanlight Productions/Icarus Films


The Paradox of Ubiquitous Production.” Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier, Vol (4)1, 2016.

Producing Knowledge in the Media Studies Classroom: Working with Wikis.” Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier, Vol (3)3, 2016.

“’This is About Way More than Bullies’: User-generated Video, Narrative Multiplicity, and LGBTQ Youth Identity.” Documenting Gendered Violence: Representations, Collaborations, and Movements. Heather McIntosh and Lisa Cuklanz, eds. Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.

“Shooting for Profit: The Monetary Logic of the YouTube Home Movie.” Amateur Filmmaking: The Home Movie, the Archive, the Web. Laura Rascaroli, Gwenda Young and Barry Monahan, eds. Bloomsbury Academic, 2013.

"Where Your Curriculum Shuts a Door, Open a (YouTube) Window: What Queer Youth Video Bloggers Can Teach Us About Necessary Shifts in Media Pedagogy." The New Everyday: A Media Commons Project. 2011.