Dr. Braithwaite’s research focuses on gendered and affective discourses of self-management, the aspirational life, and sociability in gaming and pop culture.
Dr. Braithwaite’s research analyses how popular discourses of gender, sexuality and sociability become political—that is, how popular texts and the talk they inspire vivify North American public debate about gender and sexual equality. Her work pays special attention to the strategies popular and everyday texts identify for challenging the political cultures of neoliberalism, and how feminist and proto-feminist ideas circulate in popular forms often deemed apolitical or anti-feminist. Identifying and critiquing gendered discourses of self-management and the aspirational life, she tracks the traces and material practices of these affective discourses to representational and experiential spaces in pop culture and digital media. Her current work involves a closer look at what happens to these discourses when they stick to spots in digital culture, particularly multiplayer games and gaming communities.
Her work has appeared in journals including New Media & Society and Feminist Media Studies. She also has a chapter published in Teen Television: Essays in Programming and Fandom and in the forthcoming collection Screening Justice: Canadian Crime Films and Society. She has most recently been a contributing columnist for flowtv.org, and is also working on collaborative digital and database projects on Canadian crime films and on World of Warcraft with colleagues across Canada and the United States.
Her courses in Communication and Digital Media Studies draw on these research interests. An award-winning educator, her teaching is cross-textual and interdisciplinary, and examines how media and political discourses circulate, change and are changed in our everyday encounters with them. Her courses—from Game Studies and Pop Culture to Television and Canadian Media—help students pinpoint the spaces that emerge within popular and digital cultures for critical reflection and intervention. Prioritizing social justice and equality, Dr. Braithwaite encourages students to contribute their original insights to critical conversations about social change. Her research and teaching foreground the principle of praxis that guides Communication and Digital Media Studies: knowledge as the basis for action and change.
‘WoW-ing Alone: The Evolution of ‘Multiplayer’ in World of Warcraft.’ Games and Culture. Prepublished 8 Oct 2015. doi: 10.1177/1555412015610246
Seriously, get out: Feminists on the Forums and the War(craft) on Women. New Media & Society. 16:5 (2014). 703-718. Prepublished 12 June 2013. doi: 10.1177/1461444813489503
'It’s the beast thing': Victimization, Violence, and Popular Masculine Crises. Feminist Media Studies. 11:4 (2011). 417-432. doi: 10.1080/14680777.2011.555959
Bon Cop, Bad Cop: Fighting Crime Across the Two Solitudes. In Screening Justice: Canadian Crime Films and Society. Eds. Steven Kohn, Sonia Bookman, and Pauline Greenhill. Fernwood Publishing. Forthcoming 2016.
- COMM 2110: Foundations of Communication Theory
- COMM 2220: The Media in Canada
- COMM 2240: Television
- COMM 2410: History of Communication Technology
- COMM 3250: Pop Culture
- COMM 3740: Game Studies