Theresa M. Senft’s work explores the impact of digital media technologies on cultural conceptions of the private, the public, the pornographic, and the pedagogic in global society. Her most recent book is Camgirls: Celebrity & Community in the Age of Social Networks (Lang: 2008.) She is currently co-editing The Routledge Handbook of Social Media (with Jeremy Hunsinger, Routledge: due 2013) and working on a book tentatively titled, Fame to Fifteen: Social Media and the Micro-Celebrity Moment.
Among her prior publications are the co-authored History of the Internet: A Chronology, 1843-Present (ABC Clio: 2000), which won an American Library Association award as one of the best reference books of the year, and a co-edited issue of the journal Women & Performance, devoted to the theme, “Sexuality & Cyberspace.” (NYU: 1997.) Sent’s introductory essay to that volume has been assigned in over fifty universities to date.
Currently, Senft is on faculty at the Global Liberal Studies Program at New York University, where she teaches classes on media, writing, and aesthetic theory. Prior to that, she was a Senior Lecturer at the University of East London’s Media Studies Program in the U.K.. She has also worked as Assistant Professor at the University of the VIrgin Island’s Department of Communications in St. Thomas, and as an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s departments of Theater and Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP.)
Senft appears frequently in the media. She has written essays and been interviewed for The New York Times, was profiled in Lingua Franca and the award-winning documentary Webcam Girls, and was invited to speak about her work with micro-celebrity at a recent TED Salon event in London.
When asked to casually describe my work, I say that I’m interested in global media, performance, gender, ethics, and the dead people in my life. I’ve tried to put most of my writing here, and my talks here. My CV is here, but academic path has been a bit unorthodox, and I think it makes sense read as a narrative, so I wrote it out here. Perhaps your path is a bit circuitous, as well?
As a researcher, I tend to favor auto-ethnographic methodologies. By this, I mean, I like to watch people do what they do over a significant period of time, talk with them directly about their behaviors, beliefs, and desires, and eschew the notion that I’m in any way an impartial observer of anything.I’ve detailed my general research interests and possible forthcoming collaborations here. If you think we might have things in common, do give a shout.
I also have a budding interest in micro-credit and technology initiatives in developing countries. A few years ago, I spent a small amount of time in Ghana working with the amazing people at WISE and BusyInternet, and I’m really eager to return there, as it’s a fascinating place with regard to women and technologies. If you have any experience in these matters, I’d love to talk more with you.
As teacher, I admire writing that attempts to (get ready to wince) “edutain.” Just think of me as Theory Spice. Or don’t. I’ve detailed my teaching here. When I was coming across dense texts in graduate school I appreciated people who put their reading notes online, gave tips on how to write cultural studies papers, and provided “easy reader” lectures on topics like poststructuralism. Now I try to return the favor. Take what you want and leave the rest, as they say.
Finally, I really love to travel, almost anywhere, really. If you’d like me to come visit your department, conference, workshop or whatnot, feel free to drop me some mail.