Patricia G. Lange

Patricia G. Lange profile image

Patricia G. Lange is an Anthropologist studying digital media. She is an Associate Professor of Critical Studies (undergraduate program) and Visual & Critical Studies (graduate program). Her work focuses on technical identity performance, mediated communication, and use of digital video to express the self and accomplish civic engagement. Her book, Kids on YouTube: Technical Identities and Digital Literacies (Routledge, 2014) analyzes how kids are negotiating technical forms of identity and developing crucial media skills by participating on YouTube. More information about the book may be found on Facebook and in a four-part interview series conducted by renowned media scholar Henry Jenkins. 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. Her current work focuses on how vernacular video genres such as rant videos stimulate and facilitate civic engagement.

Lange released an ethnographic film entitled, Hey Watch This! Sharing the Self Through Media  (2013), which represents a two-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, Philadelphia, Marietta, Georgia and Toronto. Her film was screened in Paris at Ethnografilm, an international film festival showcasing ethnographic and academic films that visually depict social worlds. The trailer is available for viewing on Vimeo and YouTube.

Lange also co-founded and served as the Inaugural Editor-in-Chief (2012-2014) of Platypus: The CASTAC Blog, which is the official blog of the Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing, a division of the American Anthropological Association. The CASTAC Blog aims to promote dialogue on theories, tools, and social interactions that explore questions at the intersection of anthropology and science and technology studies. An internationally recognized source for information on research, pedagogy, and activities beyond the academy, the blog is being called a favored "go-to read" for scholars interested in the anthropology and sociology of science and technology.

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 (2010), and 2) Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project (2009), which were both published by The MIT Press.

Her work has been widely published in numerous journals including: Pragmatics; Journal of Pragmatics; Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication; Visual Communication; Anthropology of Work Review;  Games & Culture; Discourse Studies; Biography; Enculturation; and Human Organization. She was an invited panelist at the Face It symposium on selfies at the San Francisco Art Institute, and was an invited participant in the Knight Foundation’s Technology for Civic Engagement Summit.

CCA Teaching Schedule

Fall: Digital Cultures; Ethnography for Design

Spring: Sound Worlds; Anthropology of Technology; New Media & Civic Action; Foundations in Critical Studies (Space, Place & Time)

Graduate classes (Visual & Critical Studies): New Media Seminar; Visual Anthropology  

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:

Associate Professor, Critical Studies
Associate Professor, Visual and Critical Studies

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