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Liana is a Postdoctoral Research Associate working on the Media Activism and Participatory Politics (MAPP) Project at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC. She also facilitates the Civic Paths graduate research group and the Civics and Social Media research cluster at Annenberg. Her fields of interest include popular culture, identity and authenticity, and gender and feminism. Her recent research has been focused on how youth engagement in participatory cultures, online networks, and new media leads to civic engagement. Liana earned her PhD in Sociology and Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2010. There, her research focused on teenage girls’ social and affective uses of popular music and the transgressive nature of fandom. She has also taught courses on popular music and cultural politics, community and social justice, the sociology of emotions, and new media and technology.


University of Southern California



The truth will set you free.

It’s a maxim that shows up in all kinds of places, from university mottos to Oprah’s Life Class. Its meanings are often hazy and applications varied, but my religious Southern parents will be pleased to know that I remember its origins are biblical in nature, a derivation of John 8:32, a verse that links discipleship to spiritual freedom.

These days, though, like my own evolution toward humanism, the phrase has become well situated in more secular usage, having become common parlance, not only among theologians, but artists, therapists, and politicians as well.

on Oct 31, 2014
by Liana Gamber-Thompson