Geek Studies, Archived

I started Geek Studies in 2007 as a way to keep interviewees and informants posted on the status of my dissertation in progress. The blog ended up being not just a way to document the research, but a central component of that research, and a path to some lasting friendships. The dissertation itself—Geek Cultures: Media and Identity in the Digital Age—went on to be hosted as a free download on Penn Scholarly Commons. I thought I might maintain Geek Studies as a professional blog after finishing the dissertation, but ended up letting it fall by the wayside as I transitioned away from an academic career. Unfortunately, hosting your own WordPress site and then leaving it dormant for too long is effectively an invitation to be hacked—and it was—so I’m moving the site to to be archived.

There’s a lot I would change about the actual content of these posts if I were still in the business of academic blogging. There’s a lot more to say—and thankfully, that’s being said by others more qualified than I—about the intersection of race, gender, and class with geek identities. Still, I hope that these archives might be useful to readers and researchers going forward.

The Rumors of My Defense Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

It’s more than a little embarrassing to note that my most recent post before this one was the second part of a three-part series begun in early August. There is a reason, of course: I started the series in the window of time between turning in my dissertation to my committee and going to defend it in Philadelphia.

On August 12th, I defended my dissertation, Geek Cultures: Media and Identity in the Digital Age, and passed with only a few minor requests for revisions. I’m currently looking into options for publication, but in the meantime, feel free to email me directly (jason @ this domain) if you’d like a copy.

So, finishing the dissertation probably means I’ve had plenty of time to blog, right? Well, not so much, but I aim to remedy that now. Shortly after the defense, I started my new job as an assistant professor in the Communication department at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts (not too far from where I grew up, in Newton Upper Falls).

It turns out that designing and teaching three entirely new classes (plus committees and advising) is something of a handful, though certainly an improvement on the Morlock lifestyle that dissertation writing encourages. Now, in November, I’m finally getting to know the ins and outs of the new campus, figuring out what motivates and interests my students best, and carving out some time to do things other than course prep.

My new (academic) year’s resolution, then, is to get back to blogging. I’ll soon finish that three-part series, and I’m going to try to get back into the blogging routine at least once a week. I may not be doing new research on geekdom itself for the time being, but I suspect I’ll still have things to share for a while. Plus, I think you’ll find that my other research interests are plenty geeky in their own right. After all, someone has to babble on about the theories and usage of video games, web design, and science-fiction. I wouldn’t want there to be a shortage of voices opining on these topics in the blogosphere, so I now solemnly return to perform my duties.

A Temporary Suspension

The site has received about half a dozen spam comments in a few hours, so I’m suspending anonymous commenting functionality for a bit. I’m hoping that this is the equivalent of playing dead when pursued by a bear.

I’ll be back with a real post sometime, too. Lots of good links lately—just very busy.

Update: The storm seems to have passed, and anonymous commenting is going back on. I’m thinking I’ll set up one of them “what does this image say?” verification tools to screen out evil robots, when I have a few more free moments. (Thanks, Denise!)

The Geekstudies Flickr Feed

I just created a photo site for the photos I’ve been (and will continue to be) taking at the geeky events I attend. It is at

I’m in Massachusetts now, so I won’t be able to post updates from past travels until sometime after I return to my desktop computer in Philadelphia. Very shortly, though, I will be posting 70 photos from an unexpected event I stumbled into yesterday, thanks to Jordan.

Breaking Down Academia

I’m in the process of revising the categories on the site a bit. Before, I was lumping a bunch of things under the “Academia” category that really didn’t belong there. Now I’m dividing that category up into three different categories:

Research: For academic research and conferences related to geek culture and various traditionally geeky media. (I’ll also tag posts about my own research with this because I still can’t bring myself to make a category titled “Me me me,” though I admit I’m especially interested in getting feedback on my papers.)

School Culture: For items pertaining to school culture as lived by students, such as clubs and social hierarchies.

Education: For issues pertaining to teaching and education at all levels.

Honestly, this is mostly for my own convenience as I go back through old posts and collect thoughts for papers and such, but I figured I might as well let everyone know.

Update: Going through my bloated “Miscellaneous” category to categorize them more specifically, I noticed a definite thread of posts tallying up people’s ways of defining the boundaries of geekdom—geek vs. nerd, art geek vs. science geek, and so on. And so I figured I might as well go ahead and also add a category for Defining Geekdom. Sorry if this brings up a bunch of old posts on people’s RSS readers (the way I believe it does with mine).


If you sent me an email to my address recently and you’re still wondering why I haven’t replied, it’s because I set up a convoluted email forwarding scheme that turned out not to work after all. Hopefully I got everyone who fell through the cracks, but if I missed you, feel free to try me again.

Because Every Site Needs a FAQ

I went ahead and added a very short “Frequently Asked Questions” section to the end of the About page. For now, it’s just to direct people to the post answering the question I still get every time I’m in a sufficiently large social situation: What’s the difference between a nerd and a geek? I have added a few new examples to that post since I first wrote it.

Also, just to give fair warning: I’m working hard to finish my proposal this week and get some articles sent out to journals before the proposal defense on August 20th, so site updates might continue to be short and sparse for a little while. Please feel free, though, to continue leaving comments and sending tips for relevant articles, and thanks to everyone who has done so lately.

Minor Site Updates

I tried changing the links around a bit to add just a wee bit of color to the site, though I remain stubbornly minimalist with the overall design. Also, I hear that my posts were getting cut off at the “read more” tag in people’s RSS readers, which I think I fixed. If you read by RSS and have been thinking that I am a man of few words, this may come as a rude awakening for you.

Site Design More Or Less Complete

Well, here it is: I designed the logo yesterday afternoon in Adobe Illustrator, and have spent all my time since then scraping at the White As Milk WordPress theme until the colors, sizes, and layout were closer to what I had in mind. I was a computer science major once upon a time, but it’s been a very long while since I had to muck with any code, so please let me know if I mangled the theme so badly that something actually stopped functioning.

The title above says “More or Less Complete” because some odd CSS inconsistency is making the text on Archive pages start lower down, and I have to manually add the title. It’s six in the morning, though, so perhaps this is something that can be revisited tomorrow. I welcome you to send suggestions if you have any. (Update: Now that I have two posts I realize that there was extra space left at the top for links to adjacent posts. I still wonder how the Archive page is supposed to line up with the others, though.)