Christina Dunbar-Hester
Assistant Professor
Journalism and Media Studies
Contact Info
SDW 101
christdh [AT] rutgers [DOT] edu
Office Hours:
Fall 2015: W 2:30-4 or by appointment.

Prof. Dunbar-Hester is an ethnographer who studies the intersection of technical practice and political engagement.  She is the author of Low Power to the People: Pirates, Protest, and Low-Power Radio Activism (MIT Press, 2014), which examines activism to promote local community radio even in a "digital" age.  Her recent research centers on advocacy to raise awareness about "diversity" issues in hackerspace and free software communities.


She joined Journalism & Media Studies at SC&I in 2010 and Women's & Gender Studies as an affiliated faculty member in 2011. Prior to Rutgers, she was a fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and at the Virtual Knowledge Studio for the Humanities and Social Sciences in Amsterdam.  Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Andrew J. Mellon Humanities Project, and the Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology & Society. 

Ph.D., Science & Technology Studies
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Scholarly Articles and Chapters (reverse chronological order):

“Being A Consistent Pain in the Ass:” Politics and Epistemics in Media Democracy Work.  Journal of Information Policy, volume 4 (2014), pg. 547-569.

Radical Inclusion? Locating Accountability in Technical DIY. In DIY Citizenship, Matt Ratto and Megan Boler, eds., MIT Press, 2014.

Producing “Participation”?  The Pleasures and Perils of Technical Engagement in Radio Activism. Public Culture 26.1 (2014): 25-50.

What’s Local? Localism as a Discursive Boundary Object in Low-Power Radio Policymaking. Communication, Culture & Critique 6.4 (2013): 502-524.  Special issue on discursive approaches to policy. 

Soldering Towards Media Democracy: Technical Practice as Symbolic Value in Radio Activism.  Journal of Communication Inquiry 36 (2012): 149-169.

Drawing and Effacing Boundaries in Contemporary Media Democracy Work. In Media and Social Justice, Sue Curry Jansen, Jefferson Pooley and Lora Taub-Pervizpour, eds., Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Beyond “Dudecore”? Challenging Gendered and “Raced” Technologies through Media Activism.  Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 54 (2010): 121–135.  Special issue on race, class, and gender. 

Listening to Cybernetics:  Music, Machines, and Nervous Systems, 1950-1980Science, Technology & Human Values 35 (2010): 113-139. 

“Free the Spectrum!” Activist Encounters with Old and New Media Technology
.  New Media & Society 11 (2009): 221-240.  Special issue on the long history of new media.

Geeks, Meta-Geeks, and Gender Trouble: Activism, Identity, and Low-Power FM Radio.  Social Studies of Science 38 (2008): 201-232.


Other scholarship and miscellany:

Click here to see the "Gender, Media, and Social Change" Comparative Perspectives Symposium that I edited in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, summer 2014.

TRANS TECHNOLOGY art-technology exhibition catalog (.pdf) (co-authored with Bryce Renninger).  Curated for Institute for Women and Art, Rutgers University, 2013.

Publications and Presentations

Click "Research" (immediately above) for links to many of my publications. 

Watch Prof. Dunbar-Hester talk about her book Low Power to the People: Pirates, Protest, and Politics in FM Radio Activism (MIT Press, 2014) at the University of North Carolina's Mary Junck Colloquium Series (November 2014).

Listen to Prof. Dunbar-Hester talk about FM radio activism on WGXC, creative community radio (November 2014).

Check out this write-up of my doctoral-level course, Studying Media Technologies, on The Atlantic's Technology Channel: "Beyond McLuhan: Your New Media Studies Syllabus."