about:

Hi! My name is Josef Nguyen (he/him/his), and I am an associate 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 work engages media studies, science and technology studies, and feminist and queer theory in order to investigate the contested meanings of 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 gaming
  • 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), 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. Investigating Minecraft, Make magazine, Instagram, and design fiction, this book argues that contemporary U.S. culture negotiates the meanings of emerging digital media technologies and increasing economic precarity under neoliberalism through images of creative digital youth. The Digital Is Kid Stuff received the 2022 First Book Prize from the Cultural Studies Association.

I'm writing a new book, tentatively titled Confounding Consent in Technological Design and Digital Culture, on the cultural politics of consent in emerging digital technologies—including consent-recording mobile applications, dating simulator games, and sex robots. In this book, I interrogate both ways in which consent is designed into and conceptualized through digital technologies as well as how consent itself comes to operate as a kind of digital technology.

Currently, I serve as Production Editor for JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies until October 2027.

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.