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Carrie Rentschler

Associate Professor 
William Dawson Scholar of Feminist Media Studies





Professor Rentschler studies feminist media making, social movement activism, and political subjectivity. Her research examines movements against gender and racial violence, experiences of victimization and social trauma, and structures of feminist organizing online and via social media. Her book project, currently titled Proximate Agency: Feminist Activism and the Redefinition of the Bystander, analyzes how the bystander has become an agent of feminist social change. Her other current research examines feminist social media activism, student activism against rape culture, and the quantified self in relation to diabetes technology. She is a member of the feminist collectives FemTechNet and FemBot that focus on new models of open-access teaching and scholarly publication, respectively. She is a lead researcher on a major SSHRC Partnership Grant about responses to rape culture on university campuses.

Her research has been generously 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, new 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 that include – feminism and other social movements, new models of media activism, gender and social media, affective politics, new forms of social collectivity, Cultural Studies of media and technology 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).


“Feminist Protocols: Auditing Urban Infrastructures and Reporting Gender Violence in the City,” Roundtable contribution on urban porosity in Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture, 5:1 (2020). Special section edited by Sabine Haenni. 

“Activist Media and Distributional Aesthetics in the City,” Roundtable contribution on urban porosity in Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture, 5:1 (2020). Special section edited by Sabine Haenni. 

“Historicizing Student Activism against Rape Culture on Campus: A Case Study of McGill University” (with Arianne Kent and Ayesha Vemuri), Proceedings for the Canadian Symposium on Sexual Violence in Post-Secondary Education Institutions (2019): 78-82.

“#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.

Other Publications

Creating Media Tools to Address Campus Rape Culture: A Curriculum Guide. (2020), with co-authors Shanly Dixon, Eric Craven, and Jennifer Drummond. A handbook for teaching developed for CEGEP courses. Funded through SSHRC PDG “Bridging with STEAM/M” and adopted for use at Vanier College and Dawson College, Montreal.

“Creating Media Tools to Address Campus Rape Culture” (2020). Podcast with Eric Craven, Director of Digital Literacy Programs, Atwater Library, Montreal. Forthcoming at

“Some Guidelines and Principles of Survivor-Centred Research: A Toolkit” (2020), with co-authors Arianne Kent, Ayesha Vemuri, and Benjamin Nothwehr. Published with the support of SSHRC-funded IMPACTS: Collaborations to Address Rape Culture on Campus.

“Toolkit: Principles and Tips for Achieving Ethical Relationships of Collaboration in Researching Sexual Violence” (2020), primary author Ayesha Vemuri. Published with the support of SSHRC-funded IMPACTS: Collaborations to Address Rape Culture on Campus.

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