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

Anna Everett everett at filmandmedia.ucsb.edu
Sun Apr 19 00:45:53 AEST 2015

Andre, I love how you are pushing into other areas of identity
formations online, such as interrogating digital interfaces, and
noting how black twitter seems to be moving away from its early low-to
no culture expressions, and all manner of black vernacular speech to
various adherences to respectability politics, among others. Hmmm,
this latter point is an interesting phenom that I have not encountered
as much. Perhaps I have not been paying sufficient attention.

It is the case that many scholars have taken up critical discourses
analyses of software studies, platform studies, big data studies, and
other digital technology studies outside of identity politics. Several
are interested in how race and whiteness come into play here, I am
thinking of Tara McPherson's work.

I am especially interested to hear more about your comment, "Whither
identity in post-PC, post-racial (heh) cyberculture and the continual
fragmentation of online representation?  Are we our devices?  Our
wearables?  Our profiles?" I also was struck by your remarks about
interrogating "whiteness" vis-a-vis GamerGate, and our need to not let
highly educated wealthy white, and non-whites afflicted by false
consciousness, men and women alike, off the hook, as you put it.

These scholarly forays into these discursive thickets are provocative
indeed! I certainly would love to hear what those of you on this forum
thinks. Thanks, Andre.


On Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 9:41 PM, Andre Brock <brocka at umich.edu> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hello, all!
> Thank you for inviting me to this discussion, and "hey!" to my co-panelists this week!
> My intellectual investment in this area has changed over the last decade.  When I first started researching online Black identities, my intention was to follow the path blazed by folk like Dr. Everett, Alondra Nelson, and Lisa Nakamura - to highlight that minorities (in my case, African Americans) were always already part of the burgeoning online spaces hailed as Web 2.0.  I felt then, as i do now, that it's important to interrogate digital interfaces for the meanings their designers impose, while also mining discourses created by users of those interfaces to see how they adapt themselves to the new medium.  Over the last few years, i've examined browsers, video games, and Twitter to see how digital representations of Black identity have been composed, contested, and destroyed.
> Given the proliferation of attention towards Black digital activity over the last few years, from the Commander-in-Chief on down to Black Twitter and even back to HotGhettoMess.com, I've become interested in a different take on Black online representation.
> As more and more Blacks access online spaces, segments of Black online users have begun to articulate a growing technocultural politics of respectability.  The "New" New Blacks (h/t Ms. Anna) are much more interested in political and polite representations of Blackness online, and in the process deprecate the gossip blogs, ugly BlackPlanet pages, and ratchet-ass tweets and images that signaled the spread of Black culture to online venues.  My current work has me investigating the way that perceptions and arguments about Black Twitter use have shifted over the last few years - from celebrations of folk culture and 'individual' blackness to an insistence on 'proper' political uses of the service.
> I'm especially pleased to be part of this discussion, as I have of late been pondering my role/stake as an internet researcher pursuing questions of African American identity in various digital spaces.  I have three questions about identity, representation, and the digital/Internet that are pulling in me in multiple directions, and it is my hope that my articulation of them can push this conversation in interesting directions.
> 1) Whither identity in post-PC, post-racial (heh) cyberculture and the continual fragmentation of online representation?  Are we our devices?  Our wearables?  Our profiles?
> 2) Isn't it past time that research into performances of identity and online representation start addressing Whiteness?  Particularly in the light of GamerGate, MRAs, and #alllivesmatter, where is the corresponding research into how racial ideologies shape White online identity, especially since the aforementioned online movements draw heavily upon digitally-mediated beliefs about race and gender?
> Brenda Laurel's excellent commentary last week referenced race and GamerGate, but I am always troubled when deviant activities are assumed to be perpetrated by deviant society members.  Brenda's (if i may be so bold) argument that GamerGaters are men with "poor educations and a degree of poverty" seems to let 'brogrammers', Kleiner Perkins VCs, and other highly educated wealthy white (and non-whites afflicted by false consciousness (yeah, I said it) men and women off the hook.  Just like Klansmen were usually highly respected businessmen in their communities, much of the racist and sexist online activities we see daily are done by elites, not just by the dispossessed.
> *Kishonna, i know that your work addresses race and gender specifically WRT gaming, but (correct me if i'm wrong) not many folk are making connections between XBL gamer behavior and GamerGater behavior.*
> 3) With the maturation of minority political activism in social networks (#blacklivesmatter) and near parity in material access/broadband access through mobile devices, is it time for new media/internet research to move past online identity politics and online representation?  /sarcasm
> If so, where do we go from here?
> That's all i have for now...i look forward to seeing what's on the minds of my co-panelists and the empyre audience.  Thanks for having me!
> PS - Ms. Anna, congrats on the new publication!
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

Anna Everett, Ph.D.

Department of Film and Media Studies
2322 Social Sciences and Media Studies (SSMS) Bldg.
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA  93106-4010
Email:  everett at filmandmedia.ucsb.edu
Phone: 805.893.8706
Fax:   805 893.8630

More information about the empyre mailing list