American Studies

Emma Pearl Gerson - American Intimacy and Individualism

Emma is currently an Executive Assistant at Interscope Records. In tandem, she pursues an independent career in the arts as a musician, visual artist, and writer.

Area of Concentration Courses

L&S 138: Art and Activism
Pbhlth 281: Public Health and Spirituality
History 125B: African American History and Race Relations (1860-2016)
English 125B: Dickens Through Conrad
Amerstd 110: Secret History of America
Pubpol C103: Wealth and Poverty


Click Here to Find God: Incels, Internet Individualism, and American Intimacy

American culture in the social-digital world has led to the creation of online communities born out of isolation, desire for intimacy, and a diminished sense of personal significance. Emma’s honors thesis attempts to unveil the ways in which modern American culture creates the incel subculture, its connections to a dominant shift in traditional masculinity towards what is now known as “Geek masculinity,” and the fantasies of the Geek’s new frontier: virtual reality. Incels, a subculture broadly known for their nihilistic and antifeminist tendencies, provide a case study to better understand the ways in which (1) American culture produces the isolated, depressed, self-victimized men that create the incel subculture, as well as the radicalized extremists linked to it, and (2) American culture provides “solutions” to counteract a loveless existence, only to strengthen the continuation of its operations of trauma production and individuation. The incel subculture is largely under researched by scholars and misrepresented by the American media; this project works to rectify this by portraying the most accurate representation of the incel subculture possible, hopefully informing potential solutions and guiding necessary future research. Further, examining intersections of the incel subculture, modern masculinity, and digital imaginations reveals the necessity for intimacy in American life.

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