Email Address: email@example.com
- Ph.D. in Communication and Science Studies Defending December, 2012
- Undergrad: University of California Berkeley 2004 English Major & Creative Writing Minor
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Science and Technology Studies
- The Military-Entertainment Complex
- Science Fiction and Popular Culture
- Biomedical Identity and Subjectivity
- Ethnographic and Historical Methods
War, Trauma, and Technologies of the Self: The Making of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy
My dissertation follows the development of Virtual Iraq, a virtual reality system designed to assist clinicians conducting a specific therapy for treating military service members suffering from post- traumatic stress disorder. As the first large-scale clinical trial of VR exposure therapy began in April 2011, my project charts a moment in media development that may fundamentally change psychotherapeutic practice.
Rather than see Virtual Iraq as merely the extension of video game technology to therapy, I see it as a site wherein issues of medical legitimacy, militarized masculinity, and technological innovation are being negotiated. My work provides historical, ethnographic, and critical media studies insight into a relatively new field that has the potential to affect how thousands of people receive mental health care, as well as the kind of care they come to expect.
To investigate the development of this new form of therapeutic mediation I have employed both textual analysis and multi-sited ethnography, following Virtual Iraq from designers' computer screens to therapists' offices and other sites. My primary field site for this work is the Medical Virtual Reality research group at the Institute for Creative Technologies at USC. I spent over a year as a participant observer, attending design meetings, media interviews, and project demos for diverse groups including military leaders, clinicians, and technologist.
Since 2002, Zapatista communities in the southern Mexican region of Chiapas working with a San Diego-based nonprofit have been banking corn seeds and testing their fields for the presence of genetically modified organism DNA (GMOs). This ethnographic study explains how the anti-neoliberal political organization worked together with a San Diego-based nonprofit to develop The Mother Seeds in Resistance Project. I show the translation work through which the groups articulated GMOs as a problem that could be addressed by high-tech scientific practices developed in the North while maintaining a commitment to anti-neoliberal values.
Politicization of Health News
I have been working with Dr. Daniel C. Hallin and Dr. Charles Briggs (UC Berkeley, Anthropology) using content analysis methods to study the politicization of health journalism in the United States from the 1960s through the first decade of the 2000s.
- "From the Ultimate Display to the Ultimate Skinner Box: Virtual Reality and the Future of Psychotherapy." In Kelly Gates (ed) Media Futures, London: Blackwell, 2012. (in press)
- "Not a Game: The Boundary-Work of Making Virtual Iraq the Right Tool for Treating Combat-Related PTSD." Paper presented at the Society for the Society Studies of Science annual meeting, Cleveland, OH, Nov. 5, 2011.
- "Militarized Therapy for the Digital Warrior? Virtual Technologies for Addressing Combat-Related PTSD." Paper presented at Mediating War and Technology, a pre-conference workshop held by the Communication History Division at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Associate, Boston, MA, May 21, 2011.
- "Militarized Therapy? A Comparison of Virtual Technologies for Addressing Combat-Related PTSD" Soldiering, the Afterlife a of Modern Experience, a graduate student workshop at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Apr. 23, 2011.
- "Ender's Game Revisited: PTSD, UAVs, and simulation." Paper presented on a panel on mental illness in popular culture at the Annual Meeting of the Popular Culture Assoc./American Culture Assoc., St. Louis, MO, Apr. 2, 2010.
- "Zapatista Corn: Creating an indigenous anti-GMO social movement in the Chiapas highlands." Panel on transborder communication issues at Binacom 16th Encuentro: Communication in Action, Building Community Across Borders, San Diego, Apr. 17, 2009.
- With Evan Moreno-Davis. "Making Science Real: The role of scientific authority in the comics of Jim Ottaviani" Paper presented on a panel on authority in comics at The Comic Arts Conference, San Diego, Jul. 26, 2008.
- Andrew White Vincent and Florence Wales White Graduate Student Scholarship in Theoretical Social Sciences and Medicine 2012-13
- Communication Department Dissertation Writing Fellowship 2012
- Center for Teaching Development Summer Teaching Fellowship 2011
- Science Studies Dissertation Research and Writing Fellowships 2010-11
- Center for Global California Studies Summer Research Fellowship 2010
- Dean of Social Science Fellowship 2006
- COHI 100: Communication and the Individual (Summer 2011).
- Thinking about Our World Through Food and Culture, Summer Discovery (Summer 2008).
Curriculum Development and Administration:
- Administrative Liaison and Teaching Assistant Mentor for the Culture, Art and Technology Program, UCSD.
Teaching Assistantship in the Culture, Art, and Technology Program, UCSD:
- CAT 125: Public Rhetoric and Practical Communication: Demonstrating Expertise through Digital Media (Summer 2012). Instructor: Joe Bigham, Music.
- CAT 125: Public Rhetoric and Practical Communication Senior Research Seminar (Fall 2011). Instructor: Dr. Darrin McGraw, CAT Program Director. Also Head TA for the course.
- CAT 2: The Society of the Spectacle (Winter 2011) Instructor: Dr. Charles Thorpe, Sociology. Also Head TA.
- CAT 1: Origins of Culture, Art, and Technology (Fall 2009 and Fall 2010). Instructor: Dr. Guillermo Algaze, Anthropology.
- CAT 2: Medical Technology and Ethics (Winter 2010). Instructor: Dr. Gerald Doppelt, Philosophy.
- CAT 3: Sensory Perception and Social Experience (Spring 2010). Instructor: Dr. Jules Jaffe, Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
Teaching Assistantship in Communication:
- COCU 170: Advertising and Society (Spring 2009). Instructor: Dr. Chad Harris.
- COSF 100: Communication and Social Force (Winter 2008, Winter 2009). Instructor: Dr. Gary Fields.
- COHI 136: Gender and Science (Winter 2008). Instructor: Dr. Chandra Mukerji.
- COHI 100: Communication and the Person (Fall 2008). Instructor: Dr. Barry Brown.
- COGN 20: Introduction to Communication (Spring 2008). Instructor: Dr. Patrick Anderson. Required of all Communication majors.
- COHI 100: Communication and Human Information Processing (Fall 2007, Summer 2009).
Other Teaching Assistantships:
- SOC 136: Sociology of Mental Illness in Contemporary Society (Fall 2008). Instructor: Dr. Andrew Scull, Sociology.
- 90E: Neuroscience in Contemporary Literature (Spring 2004) Instructor: Dr. Walter J. Freeman, Molecular & Cell Biology, UC Berkeley.
Selected Academic Service
- Something from Nothing: Fearless Speculations in Art, Science and Activism, UCSD Center for the Humanities Research Group Member (Winter 2012)
- Science Studies Program Science & Society Lecture Series Committee Member. (Fall 2007- Spring 2009)
- Science, Technology & Human Values Journal Submissions Reader/Contributing Editor (2007-2008)
- Graduate Student Association Representative (2006-2007)