Kathleen P.J. Brennan


Kathleen received her PhD from the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her research stems from the intersection of political theory, media studies, popular culture, and international relations, with a focus on the ways in which the interactions of online and offline worlds impact events and individuals. Her dissertation examined online and offline worlds as horizontal spaces separated by porous borders. Both her doctoral and postdoctoral work focuses on digital nonhuman actors like memes, hashtags, and algorithms.

Her research takes advantage of a wide variety of texts: science fiction novels, short stories, Medieval Welsh tales (in the original Welsh and in translation), blogs, web forums, and traditional philosophical and theoretical pieces. These texts all grapple with the porosity of multiple, overlapping worlds, and so allow her to theorize the ways in which issues not only become viral online, but are also affective offline.

Upcoming Conferences


Previous Conferences

“What’s in a face? Examining historical trends through the faces of a mass media publication.” Poster Session, 7/24

Co-authored with Ana Jofre, Vincent Berardi, Aisha Cornejo, Carl Bennett, and Michael Reale

Association for Computers and the Humanities

July 23-26, 2019

Pittsburgh, PA

“Nonhuman Aunties: Understanding the Agency of Algorithms through William Gibson’s The Peripheral.” 4/19, 1:15-3:00pm

Western Political Science Association

April 18-20, 2019

San Diego, CA

Workshop Panel Participant, "Political Theory and the Temple of Code: Media Archaeology
and Algorithmic Agency."

Panel: Interpreting New Technologies; Saturday (10/20), 9:00 - 10:30am, VCAM 102

Association for Political Theory

October 18-20, 2018

Bryn Mawr and Haverford, PA

Roundtable Participant, “Social Media
Bots, Trolls, and Cyborgs Round Table: Implications for Research”

Association of Internet Researchers

October 10-13, 2018

Montreal, Canada

"High Speed Trading Algorithms and Human Manipulations: Agency and Accountability in Complex Financial Markets"


Speed Conference

Cornell Tech

September 28-29, 2018

New York City, NY

Invited Participant, Popular Culture Matters! Exploring the Links between Popular Culture and World Politics, 4/3, all day.

"Political Theory and the Temple of Code: Media Archaeology and Algorithmic Agency," 4/4 8:15-10:00 am.

"Algorithmic Agency: Understanding the Impact of Algorithms through William Gibson's The Peripheral," 4/4 1:45-3:30 pm.

International Studies Association

April 4-6, 2018

San Francisco, CA

"Digital Nonhuman Actors: Hashtags, Memes, and Bots in the work of Michel Serres and William Gibson," 11/24, 10:00-11:30 am.

Popular Culture and World Politics, 10

November 23-25, 2017

Newcastle, UK

"Hashtags as Weavers: Complexity, Attention, and Spacetimes," 11/4, 10:45 am - 12:30 pm.

International Studies Association, Northeast Region

November 3-4, 2017

Providence, RI

"Ghost in the Machine: Algorithms as Political Agents," Time and Date TBA

Western Political Science Association

April 13-15, 2017

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Participant, "Understanding Science Diplomacy and its Global Challenge: Mediating the Social and the Natural," 2/22 8:15-10:00 am.

"Algorithmic Agency: Twitter-bots, Attention, and Politics," Paper, 2/24 8:15-10:00 am. 

International Studies Association

58th Annual Convention

February 22-25, 2017

Baltimore, MD

My paper:

“High Speed Trading Algorithms and Human Manipulations—Agency and Accountability in Complex Financial Markets,” 10/17,  2:00-3:30 pm.

Association of Internet Researchers

Internet Rules!

October 5-8, 2016

Berlin, Germany

My paper:

“The Political Life of Twitter-Bots: Campaigns, Conversations, and Comedy,” 9/2, 12:00-1:30 pm 

American Political Science Association

112th Annual Meeting

September 1-4, 2016

Philadelphia, PA

My Activity:

“Memes and Hashtags—Visualizing Politics through Humor on Social Media,” Roundtable Presentation, 3/25, 10:00-11:45 am 

Western Political Science Association

March 24-26, 2016

San Diego, CA

My Papers and Activities:

"High Speed Trading Algorithms and Human Manipulations--Agency and Accountability in Complex Financial Markets," 3/16, 10:30 am-12:30 pm

"Algorithms as Actors: Aesthetic Subjects and Aunties in William Gibson's The Peripheral," 3/19, 8:15-10:00 am

Chair, "Interfacing the International: Games, Crowds, and the New Politics of Participation," 3/19, 4:00-5:45 pm

International Studies Association

57th Annual Convention

March 16-19, 2016

Atlanta, GA


My Paper:

"Hashtags as Weavers: #BlackLivesMatter, Attention, and Spacetimes in the work of Michel Serres and William Gibson."

Popular Culture and World Politics 8.0

November 20-21, 2015

London, UK

My Paper:

"Internet Memes and Complexity Theory: I can haz your attenshun plz?"

Association for Political Theory

Annual Meeting

October 22-24, 2015

Boulder, CO

My Papers:

"Why does the caged aglorithm sing?"

"Popular Culture and Language: #BlackLivesMatter"

European International Studies Association

9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations

September 23-26, 2015

Giardini-Naxos, Sicily, Italy

International Studies Association

56th Annual Convention

February 18-21, 2015

New Orleans, Louisiana

My Papers and Activities:

Working Group: "Worldviews in Science, Technology, and Art in International Relations" (by invitation only), 2/17, 9:00am-5:00pm

"Internet Memes and Visibility: I Can Haz Your Attention Plz?," 2/21, 1:45-3:30pm

Popular Culture and World Politics 7.0

November 21-22, 2014

Ottawa, CA

My Papers:

"William Gibson's Footage:Fetish:Forum as Precursor: Twitter, Facebook, and the Role of Online Communities"

American Political Science Association

110th Annual Meeting

August 28-31, 2014

Washington, DC

My Papers:

“Post-Arab Spring Countries and the Harlem Shake: Internet Memes and the Authoritarian Responses They Provoke”

Western Political Science Association

"The Power of Information"

April 17-19, 2014

Sheraton Seattle Hotel

My Paper:

"Signals in the Noise?: Hashtags and Memes on Twitter," 4/17, 1:15-3:00pm

International Congress on Medieval Studies

49th International Congress

May 8-11, 2014

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo

My Paper:

"The Mound and the Fountain: The Role of Human/Nonhuman Assemblages in Medieval Welsh Stories," 5/10, 10:00am, Session 367, Schneider 1350