PhD Student Directory

Ksenia Fir
  • Title
    • PhD candidate
  • Division Graduate Studies Division
  • Department
    • Film and Digital Media Department
  • Affiliations Feminist Studies Department, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Office Location
    • Communications Building, 000
  • Mail Stop Film and Digital Media

Summary of Expertise



2021 M.A., Film and Digital Media, UC Santa Cruz

2018 B.A., Cinema, focus on screenwriting, summa cum laude, SFSU


Research Interests

Science Fiction Film and Television, Genres, Critical Prison and Legal Studies, Labor, Fan and Audience Studies, Media Studies, Popular Culture, Gender Studies, Platform Studies, Posthumanism, Futurism, Feminist STS, Worldbuilding, Transmedia, Critical Pedagogy


Biography, Education and Training

ksenia fir (they/she) is a Ph.D. candidate in Film & Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with designated emphases in Feminist Studies and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies. Their research and creative practice focus on science fiction, futurism, labor, and science and technology, in particular carceral and surveillant technologies. ksenia graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Cinema, concentration in screenwriting, from San Francisco State University, where they were a recipient of Achievement Awards for Special Recognition as Department Honoree and for Academic Excellence. They received their M.A. in Film and Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. Their dissertation, Robocops and Prison Spaceships: Carceral Futurism and Abolitionist Potentialities in Science Fiction Film and Television, focuses on the representation of carceral technologies, such as predictive policing, robotic law enforcement, and extraterrestrial prison colonies, in popular American film and television, and the impact of the normalization of carceral imaginaries on the public discourse around punishment, reforms, and abolition.


Graduate students at UC Santa Cruz face a severe rent burden, often spending over 50% of our income on housing. I am in solidarity with the COLA campaign.  

Honors, Awards and Grants

Selected Awards and Fellowships:


Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship, UC Santa Cruz, 2019-2024

PhD Qualifying Exam, Passed with Honors, 2022

The Humanities Institute NHC Fellowship, “Meaningful Teaching and Learning in the Humanities Classroom,” 2022

Social Science Research Council Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (SSRC-DPD), UC Santa Cruz, 2021

Publishing Workshop Fellowship, Los Angeles Review of Books, 2020

Achievement Award for Special Recognition as Department Honoree, School of Cinema, San Francisco State University, 2018

Achievement Award for Academic Excellence, School of Cinema, San Francisco State University, 2018

Selected Publications

“‘Harvested by Machine’: Science Fiction and Labor in Outer Space” in Vector, Issue 294, Autumn 2021, special issue on SFF and Class. Peer-Reviewed. 


“Clean Slates, Marked Bodies: Dollhouse, the [Re-]Programming of the Mind, and the Gendered Labor of a Cyborg” in Studies in the Fantastic, Issue 10, Winter/Spring 2021. Peer-Reviewed. DOI: 10.1353/sif.2020.0012.


Teaching Interests

Genre Cinema and Television (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Noir, Procedural), Screenwriting, Worldbuilding, History of Television, Fan and Audience Studies, Gender and/in Film, Film Theory, Media Theory, New Media and Platform Activism, Feminist STS