-------- Weitergeleitete Nachricht --------
Betreff: Postdigital Intimacies Event: Intimate Digital Feminist Activism: 9th of June
Datum:  Mon, 23 May 2022 08:40:41 +0000
Von:    Cpc.icc <cpc....@coventry.ac.uk>

*Intimate Digital Feminist Activism*

Date: 9th June 2022
Time: 3:00-5:00pm (UK Time)
Venue: Online on Zoom
Language: English

Register here:


Postdigital intimacies perform a folding public and private, shaping new ways of collectivising. What are the activist potentials ofpostdigitalintimacies?

In the fourth seminar in the Postdigital Intimacies network, we explore the relationalities of digital feminist activism. Digital feminist activism is central to the struggles over feminism: hashtag, popular, and neoliberal, but also radical and creative, forming new lines of feminist inquiry and reprising old ones. Central to these new lines of feminist practice has been an intimate visibility of rape culture, sexual and racial harassment, and everyday misogyny.

This seminar will explore the merging of public and private in acts of feminist resistance. The speakers will reflect on how we can represent, experience and act in the world differently, through queer, critical race and feminist theory. Their work reflects the way creative practice also locates the blurring of public and private as both present, future and past, when the personal is (and always has been) political.

*“Digitized narratives of sexual violence”*

Kaitlynn Mendes, Associate Professor of Sociology and Canada Research Chair in Inequality and Gender, University of Western Ontario, Canada

This talk reflects on how narratives and disclosures of sexual violence are shaped both by rape culture and rape myths, but also by the digital platforms and conventions, affordances and restrictions of the platforms in which they appear. Drawing from theories such as affect and platform vernacular, this talk draws from empirical data from nearly 1000 disclosures across social media platforms and websites to show how digital platforms shape ‘digitized narratives’ of sexual violence not only around what is known about sexual violence, but how it is felt and experienced across digital networks. The talk also attends to important considerations around who is able to disclose sexual violence via digital technologies, and which disclosures are likely to gain visibility amidst sexist, racist, and homophobic algorithmic biases.

*“The intimate territoriality of digital activism: mourning and loss in the visual practices of Iranian #justice-seeking mothers” *

Sara Tafakori, Assistant Professor in Media and Communication, University of Leeds, UK

In this paper, I focus on the digital activism of Iranian #justice-seeking mothers, conceiving this women’s network as a digital intimate public, in which the political is engaged through a language of personal and familiar attachment (Berlant 1998, 2008). I trace the ways in which these women sustain a solidaristic mode of intimacy through collectively narrating the loss of their children at the hands of the Iranian state. In doing so, I argue, the mothers’ network utilises the affective resources of melancholia, staging their ‘absolute refusal to relinquish the other’ (Eng and Han 2003) via the digital affordances of Instagram and Twitter, in order to expand the space of political appearance at both national and transnational levels (Azoulay 2008, Arendt 1998). They do this, I argue, through hybrid visual practices of public intimacy, disseminating and archiving in-person gatherings at their children’s graves, as well as memorialising the dead in the erstwhile private spaces of each others’ homes. In stressing the simultaneously local and transnational dimensions of these women’s activism, which innovatively reshapes cultural tropes around motherhood, family and mourning, I take a critical distance, on the one hand, from approaches that frame mourners’ digital activism  in Western-centric terms, that is, as a form of deterritorialization that ‘escapes’ the restrictions of its global South context (Dobson et al 2018, Papailias 2019); and on the other hand, from those approaches that frame mourning activism in non-Western contexts  in territorially specific and culturally exoticising terms (Hjorth 2018, Cumiskey and Hjorth 2017). I conclude by reflecting on what light this research can shed on the broader study of women’s intimate digital activism across local and transnational contexts in the global South.

*“The unsolicited pussy pic: Public privates and the value of feminist absurd humor in dark times”*

Jenny Sundén, Professor of Gender Studies, Södertörn University, Sweden

Research on digital feminist activism has often focused on the affective dynamics of anger, and rightfully so.Anger mobilizes bodies and fuels social change, but it also wears bodies down. Constant anger is simply exhausting. In this talk, building on our bookWho’s laughing now? Feminist tactics in social media(Sundén and Paasonen 2020, MIT Press), I willinstead foreground humor, laughter and a sense of the absurd as a means of claiming space differently in online cultures rife with hate, sexism and misogyny. More specifically, I willexplore the humorous trajectory of the unsolicited pussy pick and other forms of creative pussy pick making as feminist interventions in a culturally pervasive dick pick culture. As an echo from 1960s and 1970s feminist “cunt art,” vulvas seem to enjoy something of a revival in current feminist artistic and activist practices and their intersections with social media platforms, indicating how female genitalia continue to both shape the anatomy of contemporary sexism and provide grounds for reappropriation and resistance. One particularly vibrant example is the work of the feminist artist Stephanie Sarley, in particular her sassy pictorial treatment of vulvas on Instagram in absurdist registers. In discussions of absurdist humor, distinctions are often made between light playfulness on one hand and a much darker existential absurd on the other. For us, absurd feminist humor rather combines the lighthearted and the darkly existential. The utmost absurd or surreal qualities of sexism provide a sounding board for seemingly lighter forms of humor that traffics in the unreasonable, the illogical and the inappropriate. This paradoxical compound of lightness and darkness forms a tactic for dealing with a ludicrous reality.

*Speaker bios*

*Kaitlynn Mendes* is Associate Professor of Sociology and Canada Research Chair in Inequality and Gender at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Kaitlynn is a feminist scholar whose work sits at the intersections of media, sociology, education, and cultural studies. She has written widely around representations of feminism in the media, and feminists’ use of social media to challenge rape culture. She has 50 publications around feminism, the media, and digital technologies including the award winning SlutWalk: Feminism, activism and media (2015), and Digital Feminist Activism: Girls and Women Fight Back Against Rape Culture (2019, with Jessica Ringrose and Jessalynn Keller).

*Sara Tafakori* is Assistant Professor in Media and Communication at the University of Leeds.  Before joining the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds, she was a guest teacher and visiting fellow at the Centre for Media and Communication at the London School of Economics, holding a joint position as a 2020-21 Max Weber Stiftung Postdoctoral Fellow based in Lebanon (Beirut). She was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and concurrently hold a Teaching Fellowship at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Her PhD explored the affective mediation of crisis through the lens of critical race and feminist theory, focusing on the mediation of Iran’s economic sanctions on Persian Facebook. Her research interests include feminist media and cultural studies, postcolonial and critical race theory, and emotion/affect theory, with a particular focus on mediation of (in)justice and human rights. Her recent research has focused the problematics of constructing feminist solidarity through engaging with critical race and postcolonial critiques of popular feminism(s).

*Jenny Sundén* is Professor of Gender Studies at Södertörn University. Her work is situated at the intersection of digital media studies, gender and sexuality studies and affect theory. She is currently working on digital intimacy and questions of technological brokenness, disruption and delay;feminist uses of humor in social media as forms of resistance; and digital sexual cultures, nudity and kink. She is the author ofWho’s laughing now? Feminist tactics in social media(with Susanna Paasonen, 2020) and Gender and Sexuality in online game cultures: Passionate play (with Malin Sveningsson, 2012).

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