Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Jessica Ruth Austin

Associate Lecturer
Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Cambridge School of Creative Industries
Areas of Expertise:
Cultural Studies

Jessica’s thesis explores how users create their online identities and then perform these in different ways online, examining whether there are major differences in offline behaviour. Jessica teaches a range of subjects including semiotics and youth subcultures.

Jessica's Wordpress site


Jessica looks at fandoms and how fans use different identities depending on the online context. She looks at how these identities are constructed, whether they are hierarchical, whether they deviate from offline social norms and whether online and offline identities are intertextual. She has an interest in ethical narratives in video games and film and has published works on Train to Busan, Horizon Zero Dawn and the Star Wars franchise.

Spoken Languages
  • English
  • Romanian
Research interests
  • Fandom studies
  • Post human theory
  • Research Ethics and Online Research Methods
  • Film Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • PhD English and Media, Anglia Ruskin University
  • MA Media and Cultural Politics, University of East Anglia
  • BA Politics, University of East Anglia
Selected recent publications

Austin, J. (2019), Lies for the “Greater Good” – The Story of Horizon Zero Dawn, Messengers from the Stars: On Science Fiction and Fantasy, No.4, ISSN 2183-7465.

Austin, J. (2018), “Fan Girls Going Rogue” – The Reception of The Force Awakens and Rogue One with female fans, Kinephanos, 8(1), pp. 46-66.

Austin, J. (2017), Online Hate and Hurt: Ethical considerations when online research takes an ugly turn, Nordic Journal of Information Science and Cultural Mediation: Nordisk Tideskrift for Informationsvidenskab og Kulturformidling, 6(1), pp. 1-16.

Recent presentations and conferences

“The Furry Fandom: Moving Transgender into the Posthuman” – South Atlantic Modern Language Association – Birmingham, Alabama' 2018

"'I hate Selena Gomez cus she is dating my man': Towards a Theory of Toxic Femininity" - Fan Studies Network Conference, 2017.

"Fur and Loathing: Identity, Stigma and Online Furry Fandom” - Fan Studies Network Conference, 2016.