Joan Miller

  • Doctoral Student in Communication Wellness Advocate, Office for Health Promotion Strategy
  • Keck School of Medicine of USC

Expertise Summary

Expert in fan and geek culture, empathy as communication, media history, emotional behavior, and empathy.


  • Empathy
  • Affect
  • Empathic Communication
  • Interspecies communication
  • Human-animal interaction
  • Emotions
  • Emotional behavior
  • Comic-cons
  • Cosplay
  • Fandom
  • Fan Culture
  • Geek Culture
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Politics and empathy
  • Afrofuturism
  • Media history

Additional Information

Joan miller is a doctoral student at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism whose work focuses primarily on empathy as communication.

Joan approaches her work through an interdisciplinary lens that incorporates perspectives from her previous education; a BA in Theatre Arts from Kalamazoo College, MFA in Dramatic Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and an MA in Performance Studies from NYU Tisch.

Her dissertation will explore how fandom and popular culture can reshape arts education and facilitate greater interpersonal empathy and socio-emotional intelligence.

Joan’s work at the intersection of fandom and critical cultural studies will be published as chapters in two forthcoming books; a chapter on the affective components of #Gamergate, in the Civic Imagination casebook (title tbd) with advisor Henry Jenkins and the Civic Paths research group (e. 2019) and a chapter based on her MA thesis, “Raceplay: cross-racial cosplay as political speech” in a collection on race and fandom edited by Rukmini Pande (release date tbd).

​Currently Joan’s work includes an ongoing collaboration with the Office for Wellness and Health Promotion as both a Wellness Advocate and a voluntary research assistant analyzing the impact of the campus facility dog, Beauregard Tirebiter, and the Pause for Paws visiting therapy dog program.