Photo of Woo, Benjamin

Benjamin Woo

Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Equity and Inclusion

Expertise:Audience Studies, Cultural Studies, Popular Culture, Race, Visual Culture
Phone:613-520-2600, ext. 1770
Department:School of Journalism and Communication


Benjamin Woo researches popular media industries and audiences with a focus on those oriented to the contemporary “geek” or “nerd” subculture. He is the author of Getting a Life: The Social Worlds of Geek Culture, co-author (with Bart Beaty) of The Greatest Comic Book of All Time: Symbolic Capital and the Field of American Comic Books, and co-editor (with Stuart R. Poyntz and Jamie Rennie) of Scene Thinking: Cultural Studies from the Scenes Perspective.

He is the director of the Comic Cons Research Project, a SSHRC-supported research partnership, and 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 also currently president of the Canadian Society for the Study of Comics / Société canadienne pour l’étude de la bande dessinée, Canada’s national scholarly association in the field of comics studies.

Dr. Woo is available to supervise students working in the areas of popular culture and media industries, fan and audience studies, comics studies, and subculture theory. In the 2019–20 academic year, he will be teaching courses on children’s media (COMS 4602), media fandom (COMS 4800B), and media and racialization (COMS 5207).

Selected Publications


Woo, Benjamin. 2018. Getting a Life: The Social Worlds of Geek Culture. Kingston & Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.–9780773552845.php?page_id=46&

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.

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).

Journal Articles

Woo, Benjamin. 2018. “Is There a Comic Book Industry?” Media Industries 5 (1): 27–46.–is-there-a-comic-book-industry?rgn=main;view=fulltext

Davis, Blair, Bart Beaty, Scott Bukatman, Henry Jenkins, and Benjamin Woo. 2017. “Roundtable: Comics and Methodology.” Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society 1 (1): 56–74.

Woo, Benjamin. 2015. “Erasing the Lines between Leisure and Labor: Creative Work in the Comics World.” 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.” Transformative Works and Cultures 16.

Woo, Benjamin. 2012. “Understanding Understandings of Comics: Reading and Collecting as Media-Oriented Practices.” Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies 9 (2): 180–99.

Woo, Benjamin. 2012. “Alpha Nerds: Cultural Intermediaries in a Subcultural Scene.” European Journal of Cultural Studies 15 (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 (2): 125–36. doi:10.1080/21504857.2011.602699.

Book Chapters

Woo, Benjamin. 2019. “What Kind of Studies Are ‘Comics Studies’?” In The Oxford Handbook of Comics Book Studies, edited by Frederick Luis Aldama. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Beaty, Bart, Nick Sousanis, and Benjamin Woo. 2017. “Two Percent of What? Constructing a Corpus of Typical American Comic Books.” In Empirical Comics Research: Digital, Multimodal, and Cognitive Methods, edited by Alexander Dunst, Jochen Laubrock, and Janina Wildfeuer, 27–42. New York: Routledge.

Woo, Benjamin. 2017. “The Invisible Bag of Holding: Whiteness and Media Fandom.” In The Routledge Companion to Media Fandom, edited by Melissa Click and Suzanne Scott, 245–52. New York: Routledge.

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.