Critical Themes In Media Studies 2013

I had my first conference presentation today, at The New School’s Critical Themes In Media Studies annual grad student conference. There was a lot of great speakers and topics in the program, and from what I understand there should be some video of them up online at some point.

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I got to hear another panel and a half speak before I had to get ready for the panel I was presenting in – probably my favorite thing I heard during the conference was Mateusz Halawa’s work on “Lifelogging: A Technology of the Self.” Halawa identified the sort of archival work that we do with social media, creating assemblages of meaning out of an otherwise meaningless datastream, as a “technology of the self” as described by Foucault. I’m actually not familiar with this term or idea, so I’m eager to look into it myself.

My presentation was a recap of the pilot work I did with Danny Kim on hackathons and collective identity, but I was able to incorporate some of the ideas that I’ve been drawing from as I’ve expanded it into thesis work. Namely, more Castells, some Galloway, and especially Christopher Kelty’s ideas on recursive publics, which I can’t believe I didn’t know about. My second reader brought it up to me in a review meeting a few weeks ago (I was meaning to post about that, but I’ve been crazy busy as I’ve been revising the proposal).

It was interesting to see the way other presenters on the panel viewed publics – our respondent, Edward Byfield, felt this was the underlying theme that connected our works. The other panelists’s projects were “Digital Uncanniness: Art from Google Street View,”“Flash Mobs: Seizing Space “In A Flash” with Digital Technology,” and “The socio-politics of virtual private networks” which mainly focused on the Iranian intranet and use of VPN’s to overcome censorship. I argued that the public is becoming more public by conceptualizing it as “nested publics” of counterpublics (Nancy Fraser) and private publics (Papacharissi) which overlap and bump up against each other.

On that note, I’ll be talking about public/private identity and these virtual communities at Media in Transition 8 in May! Two conferences in a month… at least my thesis proposal is virtually done.

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