Hacking Popular Culture for Political Change

In this lively & provocative multi-media presentation, Jennifer K. Stuller, pop culture historian, geek feminist, and co-founder of Seattle’s GeekGirlCon, shares how geek culture is being hacked, modded, & maniped by activists - and how you can too!

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Jennifer K. Stuller

Jennifer K. Stuller

Even if Jennifer K. Stuller’s given name wasn’t an homage to Vanessa Redgrave’s Guenevere in 1967’s Camelot, she nevertheless would have been forged from the pop culture of the late twentieth century. Superhero television of the 1970s taught her compassion is the ultimate superpower. Adventure films in the 1980s demonstrated that possibility is the eternal fuel of human spirit. Gen X staples of the 1990s teenager kept her, to quote an icon, “strange and unusual.” When, in 1989, her father (who affectionately called her “Grasshopper”) gifted his first-born a copy of Ms. Magazine, it was Jennifer’s Excalibur. Pop culture and politics would be forever entwined in her quests. Today, Jennifer is a respected and sought-after feminist pop culture historian and media critic. As a professional writer she has contributed to web and print based publications including the BBC, Bitch Media, and Geek Monthly. As a public speaker, Jennifer brings her illuminating, insightful, and often playful voice to audiences in the United States and internationally. From coffee houses to Comic-Cons, libraries and classrooms to Town Halls, museums, and even the United Nations, she is a featured speaker, panel organizer and contributor, conversation moderator, and interviewer. In her book Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology, Jennifer presents an exploration of the journey of the female hero in comics, film, and television, as well as a call to action for creating stories with complex women at their center. As the editor of Fan Phenomena and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Jennifer embraces two of her passions: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the creative endeavors of fan communities. Jennifer is co-founder of GeekGirlCon—an organization that celebrates and honors the legacy of women and girls in the fields of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), comics, science-fiction, arts, and literature, game play and game design. Founded in 2010, GeekGirlCon has connected thousands of women and allies in geek culture in friendship, unapologetic nerdiness, and career and mentoring opportunities. Jennifer has been interviewed by numerous publications about geek culture and women in media including The Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, The Mary Sue, Legion of Leia, and Bitch Media. Her expert opinion and interviews extend across radio, documentaries, podcasts, and news media including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National Breakfast show; KUOW’s The Conversation and The Record; and WNYC’s The Takeaway. She was a featured talking head in the 2012 documentary, Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines. She can be seen in the forthcoming AMC documentary series Robert Kirkman’s Heroes and Villains of Comic Books. Jennifer’s passion for popular culture, geek culture, and feminist politics have led to collaborations with the Museum of Pop Culture, the Seattle International Film Festival, the Comics Arts Conference, Whedon Studies Association, Humanities Washington, and more. She is currently working on a book exploring the evolution of geek culture and how geeks are hacking popular culture for social change. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jennifer moved to Seattle in 1997. She is married to Ryan Wilkerson, Vice President, Experience Design at HBO Seattle. They live with their two Maltese, Giles and Wesley. Jennifer is a rebellion built on hope, and has vowed to use her powers only for good.