Grant Bollmer

is a theorist and historian of digital culture.

I am a Senior Lecturer in Digital Media at the School of Communication and Arts at the University of Queensland. My research investigates a wide range of topics related to digital media, including emotion recognition, selfies, memes, influencers, terrible videogames, motion capture, virtual reality and empathy, among many other topics. 

I am the author or coauthor of five books. Inhuman Networks: Social Media and the Archaeology of Connection (2016),  examines the history of connectivity in Western culture as it crosses the development of technological, biological, financial, and social networks. Theorizing Digital Cultures (2018),  provides a model for the study of digital media that synthesizes British and German approaches to media and culture. Materialist Media Theory: An Introduction (2019), attempts to update and revise the claims of Marshall McLuhan and Harold Innis in relation to a variety of recent theoretical innovations, especially New and Feminist Materialisms. The Affect Lab: The History and Limits of Measuring Emotion (2023) is a history of the American psychology of emotions through the lens of specific tools used to identify and produce emotion, using this history as a critique of any neurological or biological foundations of “affect theory.” A book coauthored with Katherine Guinness, The Influencer Factory: A Marxist Theory of Corporate Personhood on YouTube, will be published in 2024, which uses the backgrounds of YouTube influencer videos to examine the infrastructures of contemporary capitalism.

Among other awards, I’ve been the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, a residency at the Media Archaeology Lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and was a contributor to an issue of the magazine esse: Arts + Opinions on “Empathy,” which received an honorable mention for “Best Editorial Package” from the Canadian National Magazine Awards/Les Prix du Magazine Canadien. Formerly, while I was employed at NC State, I was an NC State University Faculty Scholar, a recipient of the NC State CHASS Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in the Humanities, and recipient of the Robert M. Entman Award for Excellence in Communication Research.

This, however, is perhaps my proudest achievement. The above image is a meme by @cyborg.asm on Instagram, referencing the article “Do You Really Want to Live Forever,” which I coauthored with Katherine Guinness. The original meme can be found here and the article can be found here.


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Journal Articles

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Below is a list of academic journal articles I’ve written, along with links to digital copies of these articles, where available.

Yiğit Soncul and Grant Bollmer. 2020. “Networked Liminality,” parallax 26:1, 1–8. [link]

Grant Bollmer and Katherine Guinness. 2020. “Empathy and Nausea: Virtual Reality and Jordan Wolfson’s Real Violence,” Journal of Visual Culture 19:1, 28 – 46. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2019 “Networks Before the Internet,” Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 59:1, 142 – 148. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2019. “Books of Faces: Cultural Techniques of Basic Emotions,” NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies 8:1, 125 – 150. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2019. “The Kinesthetic Index: Videogames and the Body of Motion Capture,” InVisible Culture 30. [link]

Grant Bollmer and Katherine Guinness. 2018. “‘Do You Really Want to Live Forever?’ Animism, Death, and Digital Images,” Cultural Studies Review 24:2, 79 – 96. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2018. “The Feeling of Connection, or, Complex Narratives and the Aesthetics of Truth,” Frame: Journal of Literary Studies 31:2, 53–70. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2017. “Empathy Machines,” Media International Australia 165, 63 – 76. [link]

Grant Bollmer and Katherine Guinness. 2017. “Phenomenology for the Selfie,” Cultural Politics 13:2, 156 – 176. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2016. “Infrastructural Temporalities: Facebook and The Differential Time of Data Management,” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 30:1, 20 – 31. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2015. “Technological Materiality and Assumptions About ‘Active’ Human Agency,” Digital Culture & Society 1:1, 95 – 110. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2015. “Fragile Storage, Digital Futures,” Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 2:1, 66 – 72. [link]

Katherine Guinness and Grant Bollmer. 2015. “Marina Abramović Doesn’t Feel Like You,” Feral Feminisms 3, 40 – 55. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2014. “Pathologies of Affect: The ‘New Wounded’ and the Politics of Ontology,” Cultural Studies 28:2, 298 – 326. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2013. “Millions Now Living Will Never Die: Cultural Anxieties About the Afterlife of Information,” The Information Society 29:3, 142 – 151. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2012. “Demanding Connectivity: The Performance of ‘True’ Identity and the Politics of Social Media,” JOMEC Journal 1. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2011. “Community as a Financial Network: Mortgages, Citizenship, and Connectivity,” Democratic Communiqué 24, 39 – 56. [link]

Grant Bollmer. 2011. “Virtuality in Systems of Memory: Toward an Ontology of Collective Memory, Ritual, and the Technological,” Memory Studies 4:4, 450 – 464. [link]