Benjamin Woo researches popular media industries and audiences with a focus on those oriented to the contemporary “geek” or “nerd” subculture. Once relegated to the margins of the media system, these communities have pioneered consumption practices that increasingly characterize our cultural landscape as a whole. Current projects examine creative labour in the English-language comic book industry and the comic-con and festival sector in Canada.
He is the author (with Bart Beaty) of The Greatest Comic Book of All Time: Symbolic Capital and the Field of American Comic Books and editor (with Stuart R. Poyntz and Jamie Rennie) of Scene Thinking: Cultural Studies from the Scenes Perspective. With Bart Beaty and Nick Sousanis, he is also a co-investigator on the What Were Comics? project, a large-scale content analysis of American comic books published between 1934 and 2014.
Dr. Woo is available to supervise students working in the areas of popular culture and media industries, audience and reception studies, comics studies, and subculture theory.
Beaty, Bart, and Benjamin Woo. 2016. The Greatest Comic Book of All Time: Symbolic Capital and the Field of American Comic Books. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. http://greatestcomicbook.com
Woo, Benjamin, Stuart R. Poyntz, and Jamie Rennie (eds.). 2016. Scene Thinking: Cultural Studies from the Scenes Perspective. First published as Cultural Studies 29(3).
Woo, Benjamin. 2015. “Erasing the Lines between Leisure and Labor: Creative Work in the Comics World.” In “Performing Labor in the Media Industries,” edited by Kate Fortmueller. Special issue, Spectator 35 (2): 57–64.
Kenneth Huynh and Benjamin Woo. 2015. “‘Asian Fail’: Chinese Canadian Men Talk about Race, Masculinity, and the Nerd Stereotype.” Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture 20 (4–5): 363–78. doi:10.1080/13504630.2014.1003205.
Woo, Benjamin. 2014. “A Pragmatics of Things: Materiality and Constraint in Fan Practices.” In “Material Fan Culture,” edited by Bob Rehak, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 16. journal.transformativeworks.org/index.php/twc/article/view/495/437.
Woo, Benjamin. 2012. “Understanding Understandings of Comics: Reading and Collecting as Media-Oriented Practices.” Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies 9, no. 2: 180–99. participations.org/Volume%209/Issue%202/12%20Woo.pdf
Woo, Benjamin. 2012. “Alpha Nerds: Cultural Intermediaries in a Subcultural Scene.” In “Cultural Intermediaries in Context,” edited by Jennifer Smith Maguire and Julian Matthews, special issue, European Journal of Cultural Studies 15, no. 5: 659–76. doi:10.1177/1367549412445758.
Woo, Benjamin. 2011. “The Android’s Dungeon: Comic-Bookstores, Cultural Spaces, and the Social Practices of Audiences.” Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 2, no. 2: 125–36. doi:10.1080/21504857.2011.602699.
Woo, Benjamin. 2016. “To the Studio! Comic Book Artists: The Next Generation and the Occupational Imaginary of Comics Work.” In Cultures of Comics Work, edited by Casey Brienza and Paddy Johnston, 189–202. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Woo, Benjamin. 2015. “Nerds, Geeks, Gamers, and Fans: Doing Subculture on the Edge of the Mainstream.” In The Borders of Subculture: Resistance and the Mainstream, edited by Alexander Dhoest, Steven Malliet, Jacques Haers, and Barbara Segaerts, 17–36. London: Routledge.