Curriculum Vitae<!-- --> | <!-- -->Ben Pettis
Ben Pettis

Curriculum Vitae

You can also take a look at my ORCID or Google Scholar profiles to find links to much of my work. If there is something I've written that you are unable to access, please don't hesitate to reach out to me; I'm more than happy to share copies if I'm able to!

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This page last updated: January 4, 2024


Ph.D. - University of Wisconsin-Madison - expected 2024 (ABD August 2022)

Media and Cultural Studies, Department of Communication Arts

M.A. - Colorado State University - May 2020

Department of Communication Studies
Thesis: The Tumblr Porn Ban: The Platform Triad and the Shaping of Online Spaces

B.A. - University of Oregon - June 2018

Robert D. Clark Honors College; School of Journalism and Communication; Department of Cinema Studies

Concurrent B.A. degrees in Media Studies and Cinema Studies


Project Assistant

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Communication Arts
Summer 2021-Spring 2023
Assistant to Dr. Eric Hoyt and the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.

Teaching Assistant

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Communication Arts
Fall 2020-Fall 2022

Research Assistant

Colorado State University, Department of Communication Studies
Summer 2019
Assistant to Dr. Evan Elkins.

Teaching Assistant

Colorado State University, Department of Communication Studies
Fall 2018-Spring 2020


Journal Articles

Pettis, Ben T. "reCAPTCHA Challenges and the Production of the Ideal Web User." Convergence. December 2022. (Download Postprint)

Pettis, Ben T. "Know Your Meme and the Homogenization of Web History." Internet Histories. August 2021. (Download Postprint)

Book Reviews

Pettis, Ben T., 2022. The New Laws of Love: Online Dating and the Privatization of Intimacy by Marie Bergström. Internet Histories.

Pettis, Ben T., 2020. The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating It for Capitalism by Nick Couldry and Ulises Ali Mejias. Critical Studies in Media Communication.

Book Chapters

Hoyt, Eric, Ben T. Pettis, Lesley Stevenson, and Samuel Hansen. "Searching for Similarity: Computational Analysis and the U.S. Film Industry Trade Press of the Early 1920s. In Global Movie Magazine Networks, edited by Kelley Conway and Eric Hoyt. University of California Press. (forthcoming)


Papers Presented

"'fuck /u/spez' - The Reddit Blackout as User Protest Under Digital Feudalism." Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference. Boston, MA. March 2024.

"Who Watches the Birdwatchers? Creating a Rogue Archive of Twitter's Ongoing Collapse." Association of Internet Researchers Annual Conference. Philadelphia, PA. October 2023.

“HTTP 451 - Unavailable for Legal Reasons: A Full Stack Analysis of Online Geoblocking.” International Communication Association Conference. Toronto, ON. May 2023.

[‘dateStart’], [‘dateString’], and dateKludge(): A Critical Code Studies Analysis of the Media History Digital Library.” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference. Denver, CO. April 2023.

“The Next Generation of Podcasting Has [Not] Arrived: The Potential and Failure of the Video Podcast.” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference. March 2022.

“Know your Meme and the Homogenization of Web History.” Association of Internet Researchers Annual Conference. October 2021.

“From Deep-Fried Memes to ‘It Needs more JPEG’: Image Degradation and the Material Traces of Copying.” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference. March 2021.

“‘A Better, More Positive Tumblr:’ Regulating Obscenity and Defining Community Standards on Social Media Platforms.” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference. Denver, CO. April 2020. (Conference cancelled due to COVID-19)

“Finstas, Young Adults, and Stardom: The Construction and Presentation of Identities on Instagram.” National Communication Association Annual Convention. Baltimore, MA. November 2019. Top Paper Award, Master’s Education Section

“Pepe the Frog and Drake Approves: Variances in the Exploitability of Meme Genres.” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference. Seattle, WA. March 2019.

“Pepe the Frog: A Case Study in ‘Meme Magic.’” What is Universe? Communication, Complexity, Coherence. University of Oregon, Portland, OR. April 2018.

Panels Organized

"Resisting Platformization: User Communities Working Within and Against Platform Constraints." (With Sarah Edwards, Zoë Glatt, and Kira Marshall-McKelvey). Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference. Boston, MA. March 2024.


"Capturing reCAPTCHA: Preserving Ephemeral Web Interactions." DH Unbound. May 2022.

“The Tumblr Porn Ban: Power Imbalances of Corporate Personhood.” Poster presented at: 2019 CSU Graduate Student Showcase. Fort Collins, CO. November 2019.

Other Invited Talks

Hoyt, Eric, Ben Pettis, Sam Hansen, Kat Pan, and Lesley Stevenson. "Inside the New Media History Digital Library." Online Workshop. January 2023.


Project Assistant
Assessed current website design and functionality. Updated outdated website content and redesigned web interfaces for accessibility, mobile responsiveness, and overall functionality.
Broadcasting A/V Data
Project Assistant
Copyedited exhibit text, prepared images and other visualizations, and formatted materials for online publication.
Project Ballyhoo
Web Developer (Ruby on Rails)
Developed an online interface to interact with one of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research's databases, including options for staff and volunteers to edit and enter metadata, and functionality for users to search and browse items.
(In development, not yet public)
Birdwatch Archive
Web Developer (Ruby on Rails)
Designed a Web app to automatically retrieve public data from Twitter's crowdsourced fact-checking program and parse into a searchable database, including a public-facing website to browse user-submitted notes.
Media History Digital Library (MHDL)
Web Developer (PHP)
Created a new MHDL website with improved experience on mobile devices, designed scripts and workflows to automatically display new and updated scans as they are made available, developed new options for sorting and browsing curated collections.
Web Developer (Ruby on Rails)
Performed frontend and backend upgrades to the MHDL' full-text search platform, redesigned interfaces to improve experience on mobile devices, improved functionality of advanced search and filtering, enabled access to OCR text and other metadata via API.


Kepley Teaching Award
University of Wisconsin-Madison - Department of Communication Arts
Spring 2023
Graduate Student Support Competition Fellowship
University of Wisconsin-Madison - Graduate School
(Selected by the Media and Cultural Studies faculty of the Department of Communication Arts)
Spring 2023
Helen K. Herman Memorial Fund Scholarship
University of Wisconsin-Madison - Department of Communication Arts
Spring 2021
Top Paper Award
National Communication Association - Master's Education Section
November 2019
Gordon F. Hostettler Award
Colorado State University - Department of Communication Studies
Fall 2019
Outstanding Media Studies Student Award
University of Oregon - School of Journalism and Communication
2017, 2018


University of Wisconsin-Madison
Media Industries & Pop Culture (CA 313)
Spring 2024
  • Teaching Assistant
  • In-person Instruction
Critical Internet Studies (CA 346)
Fall 2023
  • Teaching Assistant
  • In-person Instruction
Intro to Digital Media Production (CA 155)
Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Organized separate lab sections and provided guidance and instruction on photography, print design, website coding, audio, and video projects.
Survey of Contemporary Media (CA 250)
Fall 2020, Spring 2021
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Taught as an online course with asynchronous lecture and synchronous discussion sections
Colorado State University
Public Speaking (SPCM 200)
Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020
  • Instructor of Record
  • In-person instruction, with part of the Spring 2020 semester taught as an online asynchronous discussion due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
INTO Pathways (SPCM 200)
Fall 2019, Spring 2020
  • Instructor of Record
  • Taught multiple sections of SPCM 200 with seats reserved for students enrolled in CSU’s INTO Pathways program. This program provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate level international students to improve their English and academic performance during their first semesters at an American university.


Screening Committee Member, Radio and Podcasting Category
George Foster Peabody Awards
  • Screened, assessed, and reported on radio and podcast entries as an initial phase of the awards ajudication process.
Graduate Student Organization Representative
University of Wisconsin-Madison - Department of Communication Arts
  • Served as liaison between graduate students and the faculty, providing regular updates and communication for department news and events.
ACT Human Rights Film Festival - Programming Committee
Colorado State University - Department of Communication Studies
Ad-Hoc Reviewer
  • First Monday: 2023 (x1)
Conference Reviewing
  • Association of Internet Researchers: 2023
  • International Communication Association
    • Popular Media & Culture Division: 2023


Professional Development
Fall 2022
  • Building Inclusive Communities and the Capacity to Create Change, University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Inclusion Education
Fall 2020
  • Trauma-informed Pedagogy, University of Wisconsin Delta Program
  • Inclusive Teaching in Online Environments, University of Wisconsin Delta Program
Fall 2019
  • Graduate Teaching Certificate, CSU Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT)
Fall 2018
  • Inclusive Pedagogy and Praxis Workshop, CSU College of Liberal Arts
Digital Media Skills
  • Digital Photography and Videography
  • Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Audition, and Premiere
  • HTML, CSS, and PHP
  • Ruby, Ruby on Rails
  • Python


Freelance Book Indexer
  • Wrote and prepared indexes for academic monographs and edited collections.
  • Worked on books from the fields of Literature, History, Art, Cinema Studies, Legal Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, and International Studies.
  • Produced indexes for numerous publishers, including: Routledge, Duke University Press, Princeton Univerity Press, Cambridge University Press, University of Wisconsin Press and MIT Press.
Sustainable Cities Year Program - Report Coordinator
University of Oregon - Sustainable Cities Institute
  • Organized the work of student report writers for the Sustainable Cities Year Program (SCYP)
  • Communicated with UO Faculty, Students, SCI Staff, and Partner Community representatives to organize and facilitate the SCYP report process.
  • Reviewed drafts of student reports, and performed edits for organization, clarity, and overall SCI style guidelines.
  • Ensured that student work was completed and delivered to the partner communities by appropriate deadlines.
Camp Director
Denver Area Council, Boy Scouts of America
  • Planned and developed a summer camp progam including hiring staff, communication with unit leaders, and coordination with other council employees.
  • Trained camp staff and provided resources and guidance to support the educational goals of the summer camp program.
  • Supervised daily operation of the camp, equipment safety, and facility usage.
  • Directed staff in enforcing camp and council policies and procedures.