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Lauren Herold


About Me

I'm a PhD Candidate in the Radio/TV/Film department at Northwestern University. I study queer media: my research focuses on LGBTQ television, media history, and media activism in relation to the politics of race, gender, and sexuality. My dissertation project chronicles the rise of public access programming made by and for LGBTQ people and considers this programming as a televisual archive that offers insight into the structures of feelings circulating in queer communities in the 1970s-1990s. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, my work combines gender and sexuality studies with film, television, and media studies.

As a scholar-activist, I prioritize leadership, service, and community involvement as well as research, writing, and teaching. I am a board member of the Women's Center at Northwestern University and served on the board of Northwestern's Queer Pride Graduate Student Association and LGBTQ Advisory Board for two years. I also co-founded my department's Graduate Student Association. Throughout my graduate career, I have organized multiple events and conferences, including my department's media and historiography conference Backward Glances and Northwestern's LGBTQ graduate student conference Queertopia, to help build scholarly community at Northwestern and beyond. Advocating on behalf of and with marginalized students, staff, and scholars is crucial to me; I care deeply about cultivating equitable community in academia.


Teaching Experience

I believe the classroom is a place where students have the opportunity to reconsider and rethink the world around them. My teaching philosophy is grounded in the belief that professors can actively engage students by facilitating conversations that help them reimagine the status quo. In the classroom, I practice this philosophy by encouraging students to think critically about the ways in which media help shape their understanding of social norms.  

I have three years of experience teaching at the undergraduate level. I was granted an Interdisciplinary Graduate Teaching Assistantship in Gender & Sexuality Studies for 2018-2019, which provided me with the opportunity to design and teach my own courses. As I result, I have experience teaching in both film and media studies and gender & sexuality studies at Northwestern University. I created and taught these classes:

I served as a teaching assistant for the following classes:​

  • Feminism as Cultural Critique: The Second Wave

  • Traditions of Feminist Thought

  • Understanding Media Contexts

  • Television History

  • Acts of Passing in Film & Media


Research & Publications


Starting in New York City in the 1970s, gay men and lesbians created public access television programs to shine a spotlight on their experiences, communities, issues, and businesses. My dissertation chronicles the rise of public access programming made by and for LGBTQ people, tracing the production, distribution, and reception and analyzing the content and textual features of a number of shows that aired on Manhattan cable access channels. As I address the significance of these shows, I ask: How did public access programming provide an emerging televisual forum for LGBTQ people to circulate queer community affects, experiences, issues, and activism? I combine archival research with interviews, textual analysis, content analysis, and historical analysis as I analyze these programs. To see a list of these programs nationwide, click here.

Select Online Publications

"'Reach Out to One Person a Day': Feminist AIDS Activists Reflect on COVID-19." Autostraddle.com, May 18, 2020. https://www.autostraddle.com/reach-out-to-one-person-a-day-feminist-aids-activists-reflect-on-covid-19/

“The Birth of a Nation and Cinematic Controversy: D.W. Griffith and Nate Parker’s Notorious Films.” Flavorwire.com, August 31, 2016. https://www.flavorwire.com/588185/the-birth-of-a-nation-and-cinematic-controversy-griffith-and-parkers-notorious-films.


For a CV that lists my conference presentations, fellowships, grants, service experience, and community involvement, click here.

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