Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award

Fall 12-11-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Moving Image Studies

First Advisor

Ethan Tussey

Second Advisor

Greg Smith

Third Advisor

Jade Petermon

Fourth Advisor

Suzanne Scott


This dissertation will explore the role of brand culture, digital platforms, and fan play in the development of a reactionary fan identity that I call the white masculine crusader (WMC). By interrogating the playful affordances of digital platforms and how people adopt fan practices in reaction to contemporary politics, I reveal three distinct (yet interconnected) fannish and playful embodied expressions of reactionary politics and white supremacy conspiracy theories (the tactical body, the fit body, and the spiritual body). The following chapters highlight how fan communities not only seek and spread reactionary content but often poach brands to play out fantasies of fighting back against a world corrupted by secularism, multi-culturalism, and progressive politics. This dissertation is designed to show how our current media environment, through playful and preparatory practices, enables the persistence of white supremacy and the growth of far-right extremism.


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