Melissa Rogers is a PhD candidate in the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her dissertation tracks the movement of do-it-yourself (DIY) knowledge across cultural institutions such as universities, museums, and libraries. In order to examine the coarticulation of race, class, gender, and sexuality in the contemporary circulation of philosophies and practices of “making,” broadly conceived, the dissertation asks: how do some forms of making come to be valued as “innovative,” such that new spaces and forms of work are created within and on the edges of institutions to accommodate them? How might encounters between new media technologies and modes of craft production that are historically gendered, racialized, and classed map sometimes small, sometimes capacious social worlds—queerer worlds?
Rogers is particularly interested in the relationships between cultural production and knowledge production, their specific materialities and temporalities, and their affective dimensions. Her research and artwork investigate the practical application of new materialist, queer feminisms, enacting a critical-creative praxis that demonstrates what is theoretical about creativity and what is creative about theory. Her creative practice uses collage, fiber craft techniques, obsolete technological artifacts, and found objects to think through the uneven distribution of value among different forms of labor. Through zines and handmade assemblages, she explores the mediation of everyday life, the ephemeral, the mundane, the banal violence of class mobility, and the queerly feminine.