Assistant Professor of Media and Society Leah Shafer will present multi-media work at three conferences this fall.
On Oct. 26, Shafer will present at the Northeast Popular Culture Association Conference in the area of visual culture and digital media. Shafer’s paper “I Can Haz an Internet Aesthetic?!? LOLCats and the Digital Marketplace” discusses the popularity of cat videos on the Internet. Shafer will present preliminary research on LOLcats and viral cat videos: their global popularity, their invocation and reconfiguration of key analytical categories in film television and new media aesthetics, the ways that their circulation does and does not engender community within a fragmented media landscape and the appeal of their silly furry goodness.
Emma Pierce-Schell ’12 will also present at the Northeast Popular Culture Association Conference. Her paper, “Constructing Communities: Non-Native Korean Drama Fans Online,” will examine the websites of U.S. fans of Korean dramas. Pierce- Schell spent 10 weeks immersed in South Korean culture while studying Korean at an intensive language institute. As a student, she received the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship and completed her honors project under the guidance of Shafer.
In November, Shafer will present at the FLOW television studies conference, a series of roundtable discussions organized around the future of television, media culture and scholarship, hosted by the University of Texas Austin. Shafer’s position paper argues that any reading of the formal issues of the television title sequence must take into account the way that the sequences function as branding devices. Her work focuses on title sequences from the programs “Two and a Half Men” and “Friends,” as well as programs produced by Aaron Spelling Productions and the USA Network.
Earlier this month, Shafer presented a digital video and her plans for an open space documentary website called “Sentiments and Usurpations” at the 2012 Seneca Falls Dialogues Conference, in Seneca Falls, N.Y. The video shot by Shafer and Assistant Professor of Art Christine Chin, documents participants at the 2010 Seneca Falls Dialogues Conference reciting lines from the Declaration of Sentiments, the foundational document of Women Suffrage. The video is meant to be an invitation to collaborate in sharing facts and information about women’s history via a webspace, which will host video uploads, testimonials, lesson plans, historical information, as well and links to social media sites.
A member of the HWS faculty since 2008, Shafer received her A.B. and M.A. from Cornell University. She earned a Ph.D. from the department of theatre, film and dance at Cornell, with her dissertation “Brand Name Vision: Comedy and Props in the Films of John Hughes.”
Shafer has served as an instructor in the department of cinema, photography and media arts at Ithaca College and as an instructor and campus coordinator at Bard Prison Initiative. Shafer’s areas of interest include visual culture, new media, television history, celebrity culture, digital humanities and media literacy. She has also served as co-curator of a local film festival, and assisted in the direction of several Cornell theater department plays.
Shafer has been published in several journals including Women and Performance: a Journal of Feminist Theory, Transnational Cinemas, and Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture.