Carrie Rentschler

Associate Professor and
William Dawson Scholar of Feminist Media Studies

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Professor Rentschler’s research examines the relationship between media making, social movement activism, and the construction of new political subjectivities.  She studies this relationship in the context of movements against gender and racial violence, experiences of victimization and social trauma, and structures of feminist organizing online and via social media. Her current book project analyzes the 60-year cultural history of the bystander as an agent of change, with a particular focus on the media practices that have come to define bystander intervention. Her other current research examines the shape and practice of contemporary feminisms in social media networks and hashtag publics, the role of humour in feminist organizing and media making, and feminist uses of social media to disrupt rape culture. She is a member of FemTechNet and FemBot, two feminist collectives whose members collaboratively teach, research and develop new models of open-access teaching and scholarly publication, respectively.  She is also a lead researcher on a major SSHRC Partnership Grant about responses to rape culture on university campuses.

Her research is supported by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fonds Québécoise de la Recherche sur la Société et Culture, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Media@McGill, the William Dawson Scholar fund and seed grants from McGill University.


Prof. Rentschler teaches undergraduate courses on feminist media studies, affect theory, and media activism.  The subjects of her graduate seminars include: emergent media and practices of social dissent, media and the politics of emotion and affect, spectatorship and mediated witnessing, emergent forms of social collectivity, feminist media studies, feminist theories and methods, and cultural studies approaches to media research. She supervises graduate students across a range of research areas, including: media activism, emergent and social media, new social movement formations, mediated affects, communication in social collectives, feminism, gender and sexuality studies, and qualitative approaches in media studies, Cultural Studies, and feminist theory.   

Select Publications


Girlhood and the Politics of Place, with co-editor Claudia Mitchell (New York: Berghahn Press), 2016.

Second Wounds: Victims’ Rights and the Media in the U.S. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press), 2011.

Journal Issues

“Doing Feminism: Event, Archive, Techné.” Co-editor with Samantha Thrift, Feminist Theory, 16:3 (2015).

“Cultural Studies and the Re-Description of Girlhood in Crisis.” Co-editor with Claudia Mitchell, Girlhood Studies 7:1 (2014).


“#MeToo and Student Activism against Sexual Violence,” Communication, Culture & Critique Special Forum “#MeToo: Sexual Harassment in Academe,” 11 (2018): 503-507.

“Bystander Intervention, Social Media Testimony and the Anti-Carceral Politics of Care,” Feminist Media Studies, special issue “Affective Encounters” 17:4 (2017): 565-584. 

“Filmic Witness to the 1964 Kitty Genovese Murder," Urban History 43:4 (2016) special issue “Visual Culture and Urban History."

“Doing Feminism in the Network: Networked Laughter and the Binders Full of Women Meme,” co-authored with Samantha Thrift, Feminist Theory 16(3), 2015, 329-359.

“Rape Culture and the Feminist Politics of Social Media," Girlhood Studies 7:1 (2014), 65-82.

“Distributed Activism: Domestic Violence and Feminist Media Infrastructure in the Fax Age,” Communication, Culture & Critique 8:2 (2014), 182-198.

“#safetytipsforladies: Feminist Twitter Takedowns of Victim Blaming,” Feminist Media Studies 15:2 (2014), 353-356.

“On S’En Câlisse, La Loi Speciale: The Music Festival that Wasn’t,” Wi: Journal of Mobile Media, (2012).

“An Urban Physiognomy of the 1964 Kitty Genovese Murder,” Space & Culture 14:3 (2011), 310-329.

“The Physiognomic Turn,” International Journal of Communication 4 (2010), 1-6.

“Trauma Training and the Reparative Work of Journalism,” Cultural Studies 24:4 (2010), 447-477.

Book Chapters

“Making Culture and Doing Feminism.” Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Feminism, Routledge, co-edited by Tasha Oren and Andrea Press (2019).

“Culture is a Weapon: The Digital Media Activism of Third World Majority.” In Thenmozhi Soundararajan and Kara Keeling, eds. From Third Cinema to Media Justice: Third World Majority and the Promise of Third Cinema. Scalar book and digital archive (2019).

“Hollaback: Harassment Prevention Apps and Networked Witnessing.” In Appified, co-edited by Jeremy Morris and Sarah Murray, University of Michigan Press (2018), 136-146.

“Affect.” In Keywords in Media Studies, New York University Press, co-edited by Jonathan Gray and Laurie Ouelette (2017), 12-14. 

“The Significance of Place in Girlhood Studies” (co-authored with Claudia Mitchell). In Girlhood and the Politics of Place, ed. Claudia Mitchell and Carrie Rentschler. Berghahn Press (2016), 1-18.

“Technologies of Bystanding: Learning to See Like a Bystander.” In Shaping Inquiry in Culture, Communication and Media Studies, ed. Sharrona Pearl. Routledge (2015), 15-40.

​“From Danger to Trauma: Affective Labor and the Journalistic Discourse of Witness.” In Media Witnessing: Testimony in the Age of Mass Communication, ed. Paul Frosh and Amit Pinchevski.  Palgrave Macmillan (2009), 152-175.