Seminar in Anthro: The State
Topic: Queer New Media
Until recently, "queer media" called to mind bar rags or community newsletters. With the proliferation of computer-mediated communication including cell phones, fax machines, satellite television, and the Internet, queer communities around the world have seen the proliferation of multimedia conglomerates very much modeled on their mainstream counterparts (Gamson 2003). Not only that, as location-aware dating applications such as Tinder and Grindr provide novel opportunities for queers to socialize outside of gay spaces, Web 2.0 has resulted in the increased centrality of user-generated content, including DIY porn that is pro-sex, collaborative, and explicitly queer (McGlotten 2012). Finally, social networking and entertainment sites such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook offer possibilities for grassroots organizing and political struggle for social justice in previously unimaginable ways.
Yet, even as the connectivity of the Internet has reinvigorated hopes for radical queer politics, democracy, and global community, it has also fed into fears about damage to face-to-face interactions and community. For instance, "No Fats, No Fems, No Asians," is now a ubiquitous phrase on gay hook up apps where white, muscular, masculinity is most prized. At the same time, Big Data gathered from our Google searches and Facebook likes is threatening to become a regular part of diffuse and opaque campaigns of social engineering that involve guessing, among other things, one's sexual orientation for marketing purposes. Clearly then, a more precise understanding of both the real and novel effects of queer new media is needed.
Eschewing the largely speculative writing on sexuality and new media, this course will investigate how social media affect how queer users interact as particular raced, classed, and gendered beings in online spaces and how these interactions shape their understandings of themselves and the world. It will also explore how these communication technologies are situated in larger structures of political economy and how they have the potential to remediate mass mobilization and political action.
Satisfies a major requirement in Anthropology
Time 0110 - 0400pm