Emma specializes in humanistic research. Her master’s thesis, entitled “Situating Genre on YouTube: We Rant, We Laugh, We Conquer?” examined emotive oral traditions recorded in video blog format and uploaded to YouTube. More specifically, this research developed a typology of 'the rant,' analyzing how YouTubers perform rants online, both as modes of identity construction and as potentially powerful acts that build countercultural publics. Her current research interrogates how platform interface design enables and constrains identity construction. Combining critical-cultural studies, media (production) studies, digital humanities and platform studies, she attends to the phenomenological experiences of digital media users. Her aim is to reveal some ways that the material components of digital technologies work in conjunction with software applications to shape user experience on Social Network Sites (SNSs).
Concurrent projects interrogate transnational co-productions on both Netflix and Facebook/Instagram. Through textual analysis, she analyzes fictional crime dramas co-produced by Netflix alongside Netflix Original docuseries, comparing and contrasting narrative plotlines to interrogate how the aural components of various programs create a similar viewer experience. Another research endeavor studies the distribution patterns of SKAM, asking how modes of distribution influence viewer interest and engagement.
As a scholar-activist committed to public facing scholarship, Emma hopes to better understand how educators, researchers, and concerned citizens might organize and encourage all people to think critically about their relationships with technological tools in order to enable greater user agency, and greater equity among agents. She believes an increasingly interconnected world powered by international trade among corporate monopolies creates a dangerous global environment. She remains hopeful that humanities disciplines will continue to work together in the name of public good.