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Expert Centre

Biography

Today’s virtual and gaming environments are predominantly geared towards males, leaving female gamers out of their realm. As a pop culture aficionado and gaming expert, Andrea Braithwaite, PhD, has a personal stake in understanding the situation and determining the steps needed to level the playing field. A Senior Lecturer in Communication Studies and Digital Media, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Dr. Braithwaite explores how Canadian media and popular culture texts about gender, sexuality, and sociability spark North American public debates about gender and sexual equality. She joined UOIT in 2011 and received a 2014 UOIT Teaching Excellence Award for her engaging philosophies and innovative teaching methods. In 2015, she held a summer research fellowship The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, where she looked at the early years of Nancy Drew video games. A continuation of her doctoral work on young female detective figures, she examined feminism and pop culture in gaming. Internationally, she is collaborating on research to study the virtual community and culture of World of Warcraft players. Dr. Braithwaite’s research also explores the history of Canadian crime films, and aims to create a comprehensive, accessible database for scholars, film students and industry. In collaboration with a multidisciplinary research team, she also intends to broaden the national scope and discussion of crime films to include their distinctive qualities, the ways in which they are part of cultural conversations about crime, and their impact on crime in Canada. Turning her passion into her life’s work, Dr. Braithwaite earned her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Communication Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa, her Master of Arts in Popular Culture from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, and her Doctorate of Philosophy in Communication Studies from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. She continued as an instructor in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill from 2006 to 2010. Fascinated by the influence of media and pop culture on societal values, Dr. Braithwaite’s teaching reflects on the shifting patterns in industry. Prioritizing social justice and equality, she encourages students to contribute their original insights to critical conversations about social change. Her work has been featured in journals such as Feminist Media Studies, and she has been a contributing columnist with flowtv.org.

Expertise


The Strong Museum of Play Research Fellowship

July 1, 2015

She was awarded the summer fellowship in Rochester, New York to explore the early years of Nancy Drew video games. Building on her doctoral work on young female detective figures, her research focused on feminism and women in gaming.

UOIT Teaching Excellence Award

June 1, 2014

Dr. Braithwaite received this honour for her cross-textual and interdisciplinary approach to examining how societal values are influenced by media, popular culture and political texts; and encouraging insightful conversations among her students.

McGill University

2009
PhD - Communication Studies

Brock University

2003
MA - Popular Culture

Carleton University

2001
BA (Honours) - Communication Studies
  • Frozen Justice: A Century of Canadian Crime Film

    $202800  | April 1, 2016

    Awarded by: SSHRC Insight Grant
    Dr. Braithwaite is a co-investigator in this four-year, multidisciplinary research project to investigate the history of Canadian crime films. A key objective is the development of a comprehensive, accessible database of these films for scholars, film students and industry. The project also aims to establish a national conference to evoke broad cultural conversations about the impact of crime films in Canada.

  • Canadian Communication Association

Involvement


  • Media appearances

    Epic Win: The Guild and Communities of Play
    Flowtv.org online

    January 1, 2015

    Comedy web series The Guild follows a group of gamers who spend much of their time playing The Game – a thinly veiled version of the hugely successful massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) World of Warcraft.1 Created by and starring Felicia Day, The Guild has won numerous awards for excellence in web television, and a nod from Rolling Stone as one of the best web serials.2

    "Buckle Up, Bitches. Nothing is as it Seems": Gothic Conventions in Pretty Little Liars
    Flowtv.org online

    January 1, 2015

    The town of Rosewood is full of secrets. Its sleepy, bucolic streets and charming old homes hide scandal, treachery — and murderers. The setting for ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars (PLL; 2010-present), Rosewood is simultaneously peaceful and frightening; we are more likely to hear crows cawing than children playing.

    Streets Behind: Nostalgia in Community
    Flowtv.org online

    January 1, 2014

    Shortly after NBC announced it wouldn’t be renewing its cult sitcom Community for a sixth season, I sat down to re- (re- re-) watch the series. I already miss the show – an apt reaction to a series that encourages nostalgia for a shared pop culture past. Through allusion and parody, Community chronicles how seven students at Greendale Community College evolved from study group to close-knit circle of friends. The show has even been called “perfectly postmodern television” for how it jumps playfully from genre to genre, self-consciously referencing cultural texts and trends along the way.

  • Past speaking engagements
    • Nancy Drew and the Case of the Girl Gamers

      University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
      May 30, 2016

      Canadian Communication Association at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

    • MMO Gaming and Virtual Worlds Ethnography

      Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario
      May 12, 2016

      Qualitative Analysis Conference

    • Bon Cop, Bad Cop: Canadianizing the Buddy Cop Film

      University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba
      September 25, 2015

      Criminal Justice Speaker Series

    • Spreading the Message – The Art of Communicating

      McGill University, Montréal, Québec
      July 24, 2014

      International Baccalaureate World Student Conference on Human Rights

    • Industrial-Strength Celebrity: Glee, A Case Study

      McGill University, Montréal, Québec
      March 2, 2011

      Media Stardom & Celebrity Cultures

  • Links

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