About Megan Boler

Megan Boler is Full Professor in the Department of Social Justice Education, at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. She is Affiliate Faculty of the Center for the Study of United States, the Knowledge Media Design Institute, Cinema Studies, and Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies also at UT. Her books include Feeling Power: Emotions and Education (Routledge 1999); Democratic Dialogue in Education: Troubling Speech, Disturbing Silences (M. Boler, ed., Peter Lang 2004); and Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics in Hard Times (MIT Press 2010). She is co-editor of two recent books, DIY Citizenship: Social Media and Critical Making (MIT Press 2013) and Discerning Critical Hope in Educational Practices (Routledge 2013) eds. Bozalek, Leibowitz, Carollissen and Boler.

Funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Dr. Boler recently completed a three-year study “Social Media in the Hands of Young Citizens: Evolving Forms of Participatory Democracy” (2011-14), a mixed-methods study of participants’ motivations for participating in the Occupy Wall Street Movement and experiences of collaborative and direct democracy, with particular focus on the gendered and racialized experiences of young activists.  Publications featuring these research findings include “Connective labor and social media: Women’s key roles in the ‘leaderless’ Occupy Movement,” in Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (2014). 

Her current research on affect and algorithms and the psychology of microtargeting displayed by computational propaganda. This work focuses on the ways in which social media modulates public affects and emotions,  and questions regarding the changing modes of the socio-economic logic of psyops (and how this military combination of behavioral science with big data) mirrors corporate practices as revealed in the agendas of Facebook and YouTube). Previous research projects include a three-year SSHRC funded research project, Rethinking Media, Democracy, and Citizenship: Digital Dissent after 9/11, a mixed-methods exploration of the motivations of producers of “digital dissent”–public, political expressions countering corporate-owned media. Her web-based productions include a study guide to accompany the documentary The Corporation (dirs. Achbar and Abbott 2003), and the multimedia website Critical Media Literacy in Times of War. Boler’s essays have been published in such journals as Educational Theory, Cultural Studies, and Women’s Studies Quarterly.

Professor Boler teaches graduate courses in philosophy, cultural studies, feminist theory, media studies at the University of Toronto.