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Welcome to Dr. Kristi Brownfield’s homepage!

I received my PhD in Sociology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 2015 and joined the faculty of Northern State University in Fall 2015. I am a long-time gamer, education activist, science-fiction/fantasy/horror/mystery/comedy fan, lover of comics/manga/anime, self-proclaimed proud geek and nerd. My research interests focus on deviance, identity, social problems, intersectionality, popular culture, new media, and online phenomenon. I have done the majority of my academic work so far on gaming and online fan culture and am currently working on a paper looking at the use of sexualized violence in fanvids.

Page navigation is fairly simple and I hope the links are fairly self-explanatory! I’ve included my most recent CV, my MA thesis, and a copy of my dissertation. I’ve also written short blurbs about my current research, my past/present teaching syllabi and other resources I use when I teach. Feel free to browse around.

And “verstehen”? “Verstehen” is a German word that means ‘understanding’ or ‘comprehension.’ Max Weber and Georg Simmel used the term to describe the systematic interpretative process of a research/outside observer immerses themselves in another culture and relates to that culture from the culture’s own terms and frame of reference, rather than the researcher’s own. The idea of verstehen was brought to the U.S. by Talcott Parsons (really stodgy old dead white Harvard Ivy Tower sociologist) in the late 1930s and later reclaimed by Jürgen Habermas. As a sociologist, verstehen is the philosophy I try to use when doing my own research so the journal name is a constant reminder of my own ethics. Unfortunately, “verstehen.net” was already taken — so verstehen1.net it was!