Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Media, Art, and Text

First Advisor

Karen Rader


This dissertation interrogates the construction of digital bodies on Facebook and Instagram from 2010-2020. Digital life is often positioned as immaterial and free of both embodied and material impact. Although there is a significant amount of scholarship regarding United States social media identity construction, there is little literature linking these user profiles to human, nonhuman, nonliving actors within corporeal and digital environments. I argue that the biological concept of metabolism, a function of the body that regulates what processes happen, aptly outlines the many human, machinic, and nonhuman lives webbed together to make a digital body. Through an interdisciplinary analysis of literary texts, historical documents, and the deployment of creative writing, hungry metabolic gothic monsters of zombie and vampire historically specific constructions which do differentially impact and harm humans and nonhumans.


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Available for download on Tuesday, May 11, 2027