Five College Women's Studies Research Center

Digital Materialities: New Media, Race, and Women's Activism Lecture and Conversation

Jessie Daniels, PhD
CUNY School of Public Health
Hunter College and
The Graduate Center
New York, NY

Jessie Daniels' Talk: "Race, Racism & Ways of Knowing in the Digital Era"

The Internet is changing us. It's changing how we communicate, how we
connect with one another, and how we acquire knowledge. But, when it comes
to understanding race, racism and the Internet, our current thinking is stuck in about 1994. Common assumptions about the Internet hold that it is an inherently democratizing technology and, as one TV ad from the early 1990s described it,  a kind of "utopia" and  "a place...where there is no race." Yet, at the same time, hate groups are on the rise in the U.S. Some say the Internet is driving this and express concern that the Internet is a dangerous place where unsuspecting youth can be "recruited" into the ranks of ardent hate groups. However, to suggest that hate groups are "recruiting" via the Internet is to misunderstand both how hate-group-recruitment works and to misunderstand how the Internet works. Both these views of race, racism and the Internet  - either as "race-less utopia" or as menacing haven for racists - are far too simplistic. Instead, the way that we actually use the Internet, mostly through search engines and social media, are imbued with race and racism.  In this engaging talk, scholar Jessie Daniels explores the nuances of race and racism in the digital era and the implications for our ways of knowing. 

Anna Everett's Talk: "Yack the Hack: Women's Activist Practices in Digital Culture"

This talk considers the phenomenal interventions women make in largely masculinized contemporary digital cultures, especially in political media, online gaming, social media, and academia. The increasing pervasiveness of such digital media programs as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Flickr and Tumblr, conjoined with the ubiquity of blogs, vlogs and other user-generated content has empowered women to be effective change agents in our rapidly congealing digital age.  From Black Geeks Online, the Million Woman March Movement, The Huffington Post, and Black Twitter, for example, to the Essence of Truth YouTube Channel, women deploy these powerful
modes of interactive digital technologies not only to speak truth to power, but to leverage digital media power to promote democratizing forms of cultural productions and advocate for gender-based social change. This presentation will explore a range of hactivists practices utilized by women and communities of color in grass roots politics, in networked gaming, and in YouTube and Twitter subcultures. Moreover, this talk underscores how social media are ushering in what Howard Witt of the Chicago Tribune calls a "Viral Civil Rights Movement."