About Dr. bird
My name is Dr. Bernadette “bird” Bowen (She/they/Dr.) and I’m an award- and grant-winning published poet and academic and currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Media, Journalism, and Film at Miami University. I have a bachelors in sociology, masters in communication, a PhD in media & communication, and a graduate-level Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies certification, and going on nine years college teaching experience.
My lifelong research interests intersect the broad fields of critical and feminist theories, with an eye towards the ideological struggle between institutions, identities, intimacies, and our increasingly algorithmic U.S. ecologies.
I am a millennial who was born and raised in Chicagoland, living and seeing the first-hand consequences of environmental injustice, racisms, and other ways a colonially-founded capitalist-funded way of being poisons people to death for profit, including my own mother who, before she died, sued companies for her lung cancer.
Over the course of this pandemic, and after years of research about the young white cismale Dx criteria failing the bulk of us, I have begun reprocessing my entire life and coming to terms with the fact I am an unrealized autistic non-binary person. I made my final decision to not seek a formal diagnosis because, years before COVID-19 began, my therapist told me that because the system is so ableist, it would only hurt me at this point.
Like the 9 out of every 10 autistic AFAB folks, I am also a lifelong sexual violence survivor. These dehumanizing and enlightening lived experiences, and more, inspired me to become an expert on identity, sexuality, intimacy, and norms in the digital and increasingly algorithmic age. Theoretically, I focus my sights in a framework called media ecology, and a belief that any theories and models can be used to reveal evidence.
For those of you unfamiliar, media ecologists study the influence technologies have on entire environments once they’re introduced into societies. The first year of my PhD, in the 5 days I attended my first Media Ecology Association convention, I won their Top Convention Paper award and was sexually harassed by the oldest living man to work with M. McLuhan, catalyzing their board’s creation of a Misconduct Committee.
During the remainder of my unusually short and underpaid four year PhD program, despite the loss of my mother in August 2020, I presented around 25 conference presentations, attended nearly 60 professional workshops / seminars, organized two virtual art exhibits, published 80 poems and 4 solo-authored academic manuscripts, served as a McNair Faculty Mentor to a previous student, and (alongside my more established critical colleagues) was the sole femme-presenting PhD student to co-pave a critical wave of media ecology.
A couple years into my program, I began writing my dissertation called “From the Boardroom to the Bedroom: Sexual Ecologies in the Algorithmic Age,” debuting my critical media ecology framework, and comprehensively documenting what I’ve call the pre- / present-COVID-19 sexually violent U.S. ecology. My dissertation anticipated both “the rise of lonely single men” and mass neuroqueer self-realizations happening platforms like on TikTok in the ongoing COVID-19 envirusment. My project both granted me a position in the 2021 National Communication Association's Doctoral Honor's Seminar, and (once it was completed in Feb. 2021) my department nominated it for the Bowling Green State University Distinguished Dissertation award.
More specifically, in my project, I analyzed the language used in biomimetic sex tech advertisements, that I then contextualized in 428 present-COVID-19 TikTok videos, arguing that, incrementally, we have grown to believe the human body is a machine, and how techno-evangelists and neoliberal capitalists capitalize on the consequences of this inhumane map. For instance, at the very end of my PhD program I won the MEA / Urban Communication Foundation graduate student research grant for my paper exploring present-COVID-19 human implications of having a car in a nation founded upon colonially-founded capitalist-funded devastations.
Since finishing my PhD, I designed and launched the first critical media ecology informed public speaking course for the increasingly algorithmic age as a part of Miami University's STC 135: Principles of Public Speaking course. Additionally, I started the first ever “critical media ecology” club on the all-audio app Clubhouse, to share texts related to my framework and providing critical media ecological commentary to recontextualize the often decontextualized information within them. In November 2022, I created experiential-based autism quizzes to destigmatize / raise awareness about self Dx autism for the lost generation(s) of autists that have now received over 20,000 responses. This inspired me to become a regular content creator on TikTok.
From doing so, I have gained followers rapidly on TikTok, and continue sharing my experiences, serving as a human-centric resource on applied critical media ecology for (especially, autistic and trans, victim and/or survivor, millennials / Gen Z) folks who continue struggling to exist in a colonial capitalist system, hellbent on sickening, disabling, and killing (especially the immunocompromised among) us for profit.
Although I was not able to benefit from R1 privileges like attending a more than 4 year long, fully-funded, PhD program with top-of-the-line resources, I have (on the way) 8 academic publications to show for since 2019. My work has never been motivated by publishing in alleged "top journals" or achieving an Ivy League status. My motivation for doing research is to share information with the public in the most connected era in history.
I also have a podcast in the works (when my PDA profile autistic brain allows me to!) called Dr. bird’s eye view, that utilizes what I call the triple A (art, activism, academia) of the present-COVID-19 era envirusment.
Their two-part memoir series "Neuroqueer Self-Realizations in the Algorithmic Envirusment" includes 1) I have been the bad guy & 2) On being "the bad guy". Audiobook (of the first volume) now available on Spotify.
eBook, paperback, and hardcover Amazon / Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and many more retailers.
Below are a collection of my various coursework writings and conference presentation videos.
To learn more, and keep up with my most recent work, follow me on Substack: https://bbirdbphd.substack.com/
@bbirdbPhD on Twitter, Clubhouse, and Mastodon
@bbiiirdbPhD on TikTok, YouTube, Twitch, and Instagram
I make copies of all of my published academic journal articles and poetry (besides my eight micro-chapbooks of poetry available on Kindle) on my Academia.edu profile. You can find this profile within my link tree🔗🌳