I’m Rikk Mulligan and I’m an Aca-Fan, an academic-who-is-a-fan, to borrow the term coined by Dr. Henry Jenkins, now of USC.
I study popular culture, more specifically speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy as a megatext across literature and media), and SF fandoms as subcultures. I’m drawn to stories that blur the edges of genre forumas and tropes. Those that most interest me filter social reactions to new scientific discoveries and technological innovation, depict alternative communities, or show the ongoing fight for individual autonomy and agency, particularly along the borders of ethnicity, race, gender, and sexuality.
I am also the very model of a modern #AltAc (alternative academic career). My experience in desktop publishing and web design lead first to the digital humanities and later, digital publishing. I became the Digital Scholarship Strategist in the University Libraries of Carnegie Mellon University in July 2016. I develop Digital Humanities projects with Humanities faculty in the Dietrich College and teach an interdisciplinary course on digital research and publishing using science fiction texts.
I have previously taught American literature at Longwood University and American Studies at Mary Washington University. Whenever possible I use science fiction, fantasy, and other genre literature and media in my courses with an American studies approach that considers these texts as discourses on and social responses to new technology, including anxieties involving artificial intelligence, surveillance culture, and energy scarcity. I draw from these genre to analyze the diversity of American experiences and to explore issues of power and identity including the marginalization of ethnicities, sexuality, and subcultures in dystopian and apocalyptic settings.