Media Studies After Watson

opb-office1The School of Arts and Humanities announces Olivia Banner, PhD a candidate for Assistant Professor in Emerging Media and Communication.

Dr. Banner will give a lecture on Monday, March 3 Thursday, March 6 at 11 a.m. in ATC 2.811 titled Media Studies after Watson. 

Medicine is undergoing rapid transformations due to networked technologies, ubiquitous computing, mobile biosensors, and the automated diagnostics augured by IBM’s Watson.

Media studies, with its methods for examining interfaces, mediated bodies, participatory publics, and online identities, has much to contribute to understanding emerging digital health practices and technologies; it can also aid in developing social-justice–oriented designs for digital health futures. This talk will address these issues through the example of digital health publics, with a focus on the gendering of digital health knowledge production.

Dr. Olivia Banner’s research focuses on the uptake of new media technologies of the body. Her book, Biomediations: Identities after the Genome Projects (forthcoming, University of Michigan Press), considers the formation of biodigital identities, how they refract late-twentieth–century notions of race and gender identities, and the challenges they pose to current practices in medical humanities and narrative medicine.

She is co-editing a special issue of Discourse on medicine, science, and animation, and her work has appeared in Signs, Discourse, and the collection Identity Technologies. While completing her graduate work in UCLA’s Department of English, she was a fellow at UCLA’s Center for Society and Genetics; after receiving her Ph.D., she held an Andrew Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at Rice University’s Humanities Research Center.

She currently teaches on media, literature, science, and medicine in Rice University’s English department and is a member of the Medical Futures Lab in Houston (, which brings scholars, makers, students, and designers together to develop innovative tools for the problems that healthcare and patients face today.