Patricia G. Lange profile image

Patricia G. Lange is an anthropologist and assistant professor of critical studies. Her work focuses on technical identity performance, mediated communication, informal learning, and use of digital video to express the self and accomplish civic engagement. Lange is recognized as an expert on YouTube, technical identities, and new media interaction. She contributed to several of the earliest scholarly works on YouTube, including The YouTube Reader, and Video Vortex: Responses to YouTube. Lange’s research has focused on how YouTube participants used the site in its early years to express the self, accomplish sociality with amateur video makers, and to negotiate identities of technical competence. Her current work focuses on how vernacular video genres such as rant videos stimulate and facilitate civic engagement.

Recently, she released her ethnographic film entitled, Hey Watch This! Sharing the Self Through Media (2013), which represents a three-year diachronic investigation of the rise and fall of YouTube as a social media site. Recorded from a participatory, anthropological perspective, the film documents the excitement and challenges of the arrival of vernacular video to the web, and includes diverse and poignant conversations with YouTubers in several cities including Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Santa Monica, San Diego, Marietta, Philadelphia, and Toronto. Her film was selected for screening in Paris at Ethnografilm, an international film festival showcasing ethnographic and academic films that visually depict social worlds. See the trailer on Vimeo.

Prior to joining CCA, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She was a core member of the MacArthur-sponsored study called “Kids’ Informal Learning with Digital Media: An Ethnographic Investigation of Innovative Knowledge Cultures,” which remains one of the most comprehensive studies of kids’ use of digital media in the United States. She co-authored two books that emerged from the study: 1) Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media, and 2) Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project, which were both published by The MIT Press.

Her work has been widely published in numerous journals including: Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Visual Communication, Anthropology of Work Review, Games & Culture, Discourse Studies, Enculturation, and Human Organization. Recently she was a keynote speaker at the Transforming Audiences 3 conferences at the University of Westminster in London, and was an invited participant in the Knight Foundation’s Technology for Civic Engagement Summit.

Lange received her master’s and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. She received her master’s in international policy studies and her undergraduate degree in history from Stanford University.

A list of publications may be found at:

More information about her film may be found at:

Assistant Professor, Critical Studies

AB, AM, Stanford University; MA, PhD, University of Michigan