about:

Hi! My name is Josef Nguyen (he/him/his), and I am an assistant professor of critical media studies at The University of Texas at Dallas. I received my Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Davis (2016) and my M.S. in Information and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine (2009). My research and teaching focus on investigating technological labor and design in digital culture, with particular attention to:

  • creative labor and the creative economy
  • consent and digital technological design
  • feminist and queer game studies
  • DIY, craft, and maker cultures
  • fan media and fandom practices

My first book The Digital Is Kid Stuff: Making Creative Laborers for a Precarious Economy (University of Minnesota Press, Dec 2021) argues that contemporary U.S. culture negotiates the meanings of emerging digital media technologies and economic precarity under neoliberalism through images of creative digital youth. By investigating Minecraft, Make magazine, Instagram, and design fiction, this book explores how youth are instrumental to the creative economy not solely as the future labor force but also as cultural sites for negotiating the political, economic, and ideological meanings of a precarious creative economy itself. The Digital Is Kid Stuff received the 2022 First Book Prize from the Cultural Studies Association.

I am working on a new book, tentatively titled Technologies of Consenting Subjects in Contemporary American Digital Culture, which investigates how approaches to consent in digital technological design—including consent recording apps, dating simulator games, and robotic sex dolls—construct and differentiate subjects in an increasingly informatic world.

I also co-direct The Studio for Mediating Play with my UT Dallas colleague Dr. Hong-An Wu. The Studio for Mediating Play foregrounds engagements with and about play that integrate critical research and creative practice with intersectional feminist theory to explore how play both mediates and is mediated by cultural and material forces.