Tyler Bickford joined us this year as an assistant professor in Twentieth Century Children’s Literature and Childhood Studies.
Tyler received his PhD with distinction from Columbia University in 2011. His research explored how schoolchildren use mobile communication technologies. He has studied the relationships between children’s expressive culture and new media, combining detailed ethnographic insight into children’s interactional and communicative practices around media with theoretical, historical, and social analysis. His research is grounded in the emerging literature on the internet, social media, and gaming, especially around core new media issues of privacy, peer-to-peer file sharing, amateur production, and media convergence. Tyler has intensive training in qualitative methods (especially ethnographic fieldwork and linguistic and discourse analysis), and he is familiar with emerging approaches to online research. He is also deeply influenced by the theoretical approach of childhood studies, which understands children and childhood to represent a culturally constructed field of social difference and inequality. He views Childhood Studies as building on, and making significant contributions to, recent work in feminist theory, disability studies, and queer theory.
He is currently working on a new research project about cultural, technological, and commercial changes that have led to the dramatic expansion in the “tween” music industry over the last generation. These developments represent a sea change in the status of children as media audiences and as a burgeoning and newly powerful counterpublic. Building on a recent article in the Journal Popular Music, Tyler is writing a book that will complement the ethnographic work in his dissertation with a broader historical and cultural perspective.
Tyler served as a full-time postdoctoral lecturer in Columbia’s Core Curriculum; he also taught media and childhood studies in the Media, Culture, and Communication department at NYU. In 2011 he received Columbia University’s Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching—its highest teaching honor for graduate students.