[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 3 on -empyre-: Internet/Online Representation

Soraya Murray semurray at ucsc.edu
Thu Apr 16 05:12:45 AEST 2015

Welcome to Week 3 of -empyre's April 2015 discussion dedicated to Digital Media and the Interstices of Identity.

This week's discussion will focus on the Internet and Issues of Online Representation. This is an admittedly broad topic, that branches out into many disciplines and foci, such as the representation of particular constituencies online, the notion of a "digital divide" and digital literacy issues, as well as democratic participation and tools for expanded political inclusion. That said, it represents a frontier of research in issues of identity, and one that surely warrants inclusion during this month.

As with each of the previous weeks, I'm interested to first hear from our four esteemed guests about their sense of the terrain. I would like to begin by asking each of our discussants to talk a little bit about a recent project, and outline some of their intellectual investments, or individual "stake" in the week's topic. What do each of you feel are the key questions or challenges at play?

Please help me welcome our wonderful participants, all of whom I believe are also new to -empyre-:

Week 3 Guests: Internet / Representation

April 15-21

Dr. André Brock, Assistant Professor,University of Michigan, University of Michigan in Communication Studies (USA)
brocka at umich.edu

Dr. Anna Everett, Professor of Film, Television and New Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (USA)

Dr. Kishonna Gray, Assisstant Professor, School of Justice Studies, Eastern Kentucky University  (USA)

Abram Stern (aka aphid) PhD Student,Film and Digital Media Department, University of California, Santa Cruz (USA)

ANDRE BROCK is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan in Communication Studies.  His research analyzes racial identity formation on the Internet and in other digital technologies. In recent work, he has studied racial identity on Black Twitter, the Blackbird open source browser, the New York Times website, and the survival horror video game Resident Evil 5.

ANNA EVERETT, is a Professor of Film, Television and New Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).  Her former administrative positions include: Interim/Acting Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Academic Policy; Chair of the UCSB Department of Film and Media Studies, Director of the UCSB Center for Black Studies.  Dr. Everett is a two-time recipient of the Fulbright Senior Scholar Award (2005, 2007), among other honors and awards.  Her many publications include the books Returning the Gaze: A Genealogy of Black Film Criticism, 1909-1949; Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media (for the MacArthur Foundation's series on Digital Media, Youth, and Learning), New Media: Theories and Practices of Digitextuality, AfroGeeks: Beyond the Digital Divide, Digital Diaspora: A Race for Cyberspace, and Pretty People: Movie Stars of the 1990s.  She is finishing a new book on President Obama, social media culture and the Where U @ Generation.

KISHONNA GRAY is an Assistant Professor in the School of Justice Studies at Eastern Kentucky University.  She is also the Founder & Director of the Critical Gaming Lab housed in the School of Justice Studies. Dr. Gray also holds a joint position in Women & Gender Studies and is an affiliate faculty in the African/African-American Studies Program at EKU.
Dr. Gray completed her PhD in 2011 at Arizona State University with a concentration in Media, Technology, & Culture. Her dissertation focused on the intersecting oppressions experienced by women of color in Xbox Live, a virtual gaming community.  By focusing on the women as deviants who fail to the established norm within gaming, she examined the inequalities they face within the space.
Dr. Gray's research and teaching interests incorporate an intersecting focus on identity, culture, and new media. She has published in a variety of outlets including Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, & Technology, New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, Crime, Media, Culture, the Bulletin of Science, Technology, & Society, Information, Communication, & Society, and the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication.  Her most recent book, Race, Gender, & Deviance in Xbox Live theoretically explores identity in video game culture. 
As a scholar-activist, Dr. Gray is engaged in community activism and is currently involved with a research team in Ferguson.  Her scholarship and activism explores the use of social media by community members to bring awareness to the death of unarmed citizens by law enforcement.  Putting research into action, Dr. Gray has involved students into this process and has given them the opportunity to gain experience in research and community activism. 
Dr. Gray regularly posts to her blog (www.kishonnagray.com) on topics related to identity, new media, and popular culture.  She has recently seen an increase in media attention around her work in gaming.  She has conducted interviews with the nation's top video game blogs, radio stations, and cultural magazines.  Follow her on Twitter at @DrGrayThaPhx and the Critical Gaming Lab @criticalgamelab. 

ABRAM STERN (aka aphid) is a new media artist and scholar whose research/practice spans media archaeology, aesthetics of enclosure, politics of media, and the public domain.  Much of his work involves re-presenting large corpora of government-produced video as platforms for remediation.  His current project, "The Unreliable Interrogator", is a distributed browser-based project to co-produce deep (yet erratic) maps of Senate Intelligence Committee footage using computer vision and audio analysis.  He is the lead developer for The Rashomon Project, a citizen-based open source toolkit for assembling and analyzing multi-perspective video timelines, a project of the CITRIS Data and Democracy initiative.  His art works have been shown at the McDonough Museum of Art, the Beall Center for Arts and Technology, Works|San Jose, New Langton Arts and various online fora.  Abram is currently a PhD student in Film and Digital Media at UC Santa Cruz.

Soraya Murray, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor 
Film + Digital Media Department
University of California, Santa Cruz

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