Dr Anne Graefer

Lecturer in Media Theory

Birmingham School of Media

Anne Graefer a is Lecturer in Media Theory. She joined the School of Media and the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research in 2015, after having taught at the University of Leicester for two years. Prior to this she was based in the School of Arts and Cultures at Newcastle University, where she obtained her PhD and taught on a range of modules in Media and Cultural Studies. Before embarking on her MSc in Gender and the Media at LSE, she had worked for online publishers such as Condé Nast and editorial agencies such as Wunder Media. In her position as a full-time online editor for Condé Nast Publishing she provided content for Glamour.de, Vogue.de, GQ.de and Myself.de. Through this professional working experience she gained insider knowledge about online media production, journalism and labour in creative industries.


Anne's key concerns are with the affective ways in which media representations generate and circulate ideas about gender, class and race. She is on the editorial board for ‘Celebrity Studies’ and contributing member to the Body Genres Research Group and the Women’s Research Network at Birmingham City University.

Her current research project explores the affective fabric of German mainstream media in times of austerity. It considers how affect travels across different media sites and texts to install a neoliberal common sense that enables and sustains austerity regimes. Based on this work, she have recently launched a joint research project with Ranjana Das from the University of Leicester. Through interviews with audiences from three generations and different class backgrounds, they consider how feelings of offense might be produced and mobilised through televised texts. This project is funded by the College of Social Sciences and the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Leicester and aims to contribute to public policy and media/cultural studies by interrogating the social functions of British and German television.

Her doctoral research investigated the affective and embodied ways in which representations of celebrity on gossip blogs generate ideas about femininity, queerness and whiteness. Celebrity studies to date has largely focused on how celebrity representations shape cultural ideas about proper and improper forms of subjectivity through discursive or semiotic approaches. She extended these readings by drawing attention to the technological and affective specificities of celebrity representations on such gossip blogs as Dlisted.com, Jezebel.com and Perezhilton.com. She did so by bringing feminist work on the politics of emotions into dialogue with key new materialist and phenomenologist thinkers. Using the concept of skin as a heuristic device to read these representations of celebrity allowed her to think through the relations of affect, embodiment and technology that shape our meaning-making processes. Her thesis placed these gossip websites within the context of neoliberal consumer culture in which the production and modulation of affect is vital for the creation of profit. Far from locating these online productions as mere products of market forces, however, she argued that they can move the reader in new critical directions, thereby challenging dominant ideas about femininity, queerness and whiteness. This potentiality lies in the complex ways in which the humour and the affective force of these online representations move and touch the offline reading body.

Postgraduate Supervision

Anne would be interested in receiving supervision inquiries from PhD and Postdoctoral Researchers in the areas of media and cultural studies; feminist, critical race and queer theory; political economy of the media; emotion and affect; the body and embodiment; celebrity studies; and feminist media and popular culture.


Graefer, A. (2014) ‘From White Stars to Orange Celebrities: The Affective Production of Whiteness in Celebrity Gossip Blogs,’ Celebrity Studies, 5 (1-2)

Graefer, A. (2015). ‘‘Charlotte makes me lafe [sic] sooo much’: Affect, Online Laughter, and Femininity in Geordie Shore.’ Journal of European Popular Culture, 5 (2).

Graefer, A. (2016). “Reading” through the Skin: Lady Gaga’s Online Representation and Affective Meaning-Making. The Journal of Popular Culture. 49 (3), pp. 522-540.
Graefer, Anne (2016)
The work of humour in affective capitalism: A case study of celebrity gossip blogs. Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organisation, 16 (4). pp. 143-162. ISSN 1473-2866
Graefer, A. (2016) “We dream within the limits of the system”: Neoliberalism & Austerity in NEON. In: Popular Culture and the Austerity Myth. Hard Times Today. Eds. Pete Bennett and Julian McDougall, London: Routledge.

Book Chapters

Graefer, A. (forthcoming) “Actually we should be growing up”: Neoliberalism & Austerity in Germany’s lifestyle magazine NEON. In: Hard Times Today: Austerity, Myth and Popular Culture. Eds. Bennett P. and McDougall J., London: Routledge.

Book Reviews

Graefer, A. (2012). Debates in Transgender, Queer, and Feminist Theory. Review of: Debates in Transgender, Queer, and Feminist Theory by Patricia Elliot, Feminist Theory 13 (1).

Graefer, A. (2013). Jokes and Targets. Review of: Jokes and Targets by Christie Davies, Ethnic and Racial Studies 36 (1).

Graefer, A. (2013). Working with Affect in Feminist Readings. Review of: Working with Affect in Feminist Readings edited by Marianne Liljeström and Susanna Paasonen, Feminist Theory 14 (2).

Graefer, A. (2014) Gender and Sexuality in Online Game Cultures. Passionate Play. Review of: Gender and Sexuality in Online Game Cultures. Passionate Play by Jenny Sundén and Malin Sveningsson, Participations. Journal for Audience and Reception Studies  11 (2).

Graefer, A. (forthcoming) Understanding Celebrity. 2nd Edition. Review of: Understanding Celebrity by Graeme Turner, Journal of American Studies of Turkey.

Selected conference papers and presentations

"Everyone follows Mama to Mallorca” – Gender, Class and Nationality in the Reality Television Series Goodbye Germany’, Console-ing Passions, University College Dublin, June 2015

'Producing laughable femininities: celebrity gossip blogs, ridicule, & affect,' Consuming/Culture: women and girls in print and pixels, Oxford Brookes University, June 2015

‘The labour of being funny: Affect and Humour on Celebrity Gossip Blogs,’ Affective Capitalism, University of Turku, June 2014

'Humor, Affekt & Celebrity Gossip Blogs: Wie Emotionen unsere Konzepte von Gender und Sexualität formen', Gender Salon, LMU University of Munich, January 2014

‘Producing the “Other” Online: Skin, Affect and Humorous Celebrity Gossip Blogs,’ Console-ing Passions, De Montfort University, June 2013

‘Touchy Encounters: Reading Celebrity Online Representations Through Skin,’ Celebrity Studies, Deakin University, Dec 2012

‘“Improper” Whiteness Online: The Affective Power of ‘Orange’ Celebrities,’ Images of Whiteness, Oxford University, July 2012

‘Digital Celebrities, Humour and the (De)Construction of Whiteness,’ Postcolonialism Undisciplined, Newcastle University, October 2011

‘Queering Skin: Re-reading Sexuality through the Skin of Online Representations in Dlisted.com,’ Bodies in Movement, University of Edinburgh, May 2011