I am a PhD Candidate in Communication and Culture with a focus on Rhetoric and Public Culture at Indiana University Bloomington. My research is centered on identity, whiteness, and coloniality, with a focus on the ways that tropes and narratives work rhetorically in contemporary media.
My dissertation project, titled “The Rhetoric of Benevolence: Whiteness, Philanthropy, and Doing Good” is focused on the way racial formations of whiteness circulate culturally through primarily digital and socially mediated means in the modern media environment. The project explores the ways in which narratives of “white saviors” are developed and distributed—particularly online through YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter—and the way those narratives shape, reinforce, and challenge existing constructions of whiteness. By drawing on cultural myths of whiteness, organizations like Invisible Children and viral videos like KONY2012 become persuasive artifacts both for and against whiteness: KONY2012 both perpetuates and promotes the model of the white savior, at the same time as it opens a cultural space that fractures the inherency and presumed neutrality of benevolent whiteness.
My research concentrates on the contexts of online circulation, digital distribution, and social media networks. Within these contexts, my work is interdisciplinary, grounded in rhetorical theory and drawing from scholarship in visuality, whiteness, critical and cultural studies, and colonial studies.
My December 2017 Reading The Pictures Analysis