BCNM at ASA 2017

11 Nov, 2017

BCNM at ASA 2017

We're pleased to see Abigail De Kosnik, assistant professor at the Berkeley Center of New Media and the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, and alum Reginold Royston, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison present at the American Studies Association Annual Meeting 2017, in Chicago, Illinois.

Gail chaired the "Dissenting Audiences: Networked Pedagogies of Race, Gender, and Labor in Digital Media," which featured Mel Stanfill (University of Central Florida), Alexis Lothian (University of Maryland at College Park), Fiona Barnett (Duke University), and Aymar Jean Christian (Northwestern University). Their research covers topics including popular culture engagement in the digital era, queer fandom, and algorithms of legibility and visibility.

From the panel abstract:

This panel brings together scholars of race and gender in media and culture to explore the practices of knowledge production that emerge from digital engagement with the politics of representation. Moving beyond a critique of ‘positive images’ discourse, we investigate how the networked publics that surround media industries develop pedagogies for understanding how racialized gender is produced in and through media production and consumption. How do fans challenge and refuse dominant framings of minority representation, and how do producers seek to incorporate such dissent? How can alternative circuits of production and consumption intervene to provide new pleasures, new politics?

Such inquiry is particularly urgent in the contemporary era, as media and politics continue to converge. As digital platforms have grown dominant, questions of who is included in media production and consumption become ever more salient. Avoiding simplified frameworks that would celebrate the democratizing force of social media or castigate the loss of shared norms regarding prestige and reliability, this panel homes in on specific case studies that highlight what scholars can learn from the ways that communities of creators and consumers respond to shifting media forms and politics.The papers draw from multiple perspectives: industrial production and independent production, internal debates within communities organized around consumption, and contestations between audiences and industry. Across the four presentations, intersections of race, gender, and sexuality come to the fore in ways that highlight the significance of networked media audiences as site of cultural contestation over equity, justice, and inclusion – from producers’ effort to employ a pedagogy of compliance in the face of fan protest over racist and sexist harassment, to intense labor by fans of color to teach their white counterparts better understandings of race, to the radical possibilities enabled by a queer of color approach to digital TV distribution.

Reggie presented at the "Visual Culture Caucus: Envisioning Improvisation: Struggles for Emancipation at the Nexus of the Sonic and the Visual" chaired by Sherrie Tucker. Reggie presented "Juke: Analyzing Chicago's Tactical Music of Self-Possession."

From the abstract:

Chicago Juke/Footwork is a house music subculture in which digital music composition and complex dance performance combine to advance an aesthetic of improvisation and dissent in the peripheries of the neoliberal city. This paper presents a critical analysis of the footwork subculture through the lens of tactical mediation (Rita Raley), both in technological production and in technological practice: Initially confined to the "hyperghettoes" (Wicant) of Chicago, the footwork scene has developed a highly vernacular sensibility to performance and the music experience, where the concept of "technique" is central. Alternately described as "juke" music, at its core, the ideals of innovation, bricolage, and self-possession are communicated through the subculture's entrepreneurism and competitive social performance. Through interviews with footwork scene participants, analysis of music, and close readings of the community's copious use of online media (Instagram, YouTube), I seek to describe these tactical approaches to self-possession, which exist largely outside the explicit political [and respectable] sensibilities of 'black liberation' movements. Particularly salient is Alexander Weheliye's notion of habeaus viscus — 'you shall have the flesh' or 'enfleshment,' as a way to characterize the liberatory aesthetics embodied in the subculture: Those of abjection, authenticity, and artistic idealism.

Read the complete event listing and browse the many UC Berkeley faculty and students presenting at ASA 2017 here.