Announcing the Fall 2021 Conference Grant Recipients

13 Oct, 2021

Announcing the Fall 2021 Conference Grant Recipients

The Berkeley Center for New Media is thrilled to provide small grants to our graduate students to help them share their innovative research at the premiere conferences in their field. We look forward to seeing the work of these students spread across the globe!

Elisa Giardina Papa

International Art Exhibit

Title Redacted

Elisa Giardina Papa's work will be exhibited at a major international art exhibition. Announcements are forthcoming and we are excited to share the work with the BCNM community once the emabrgo is lifted! Get excited for this new media art installation on humanness and womanhood.

William Morgan

Source Code Criticism: Hermeneutics, Philology, and Didactics of Algorithms | Basel, Switzerland

Epigenomics and the Xenoformed Earth

In Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy, technical means make possible the transformation of alien spaces into human-recognizable and -habitable ones: terraforming procedures. This article contends that in the present we are witnessing the emergence of a scientific-philosophical revolution that is having the opposite effect. Rather than the transforming the strange into the familiar, the epigenomic revolution erodes the familiar to make way for the strange, the alien: xenoforming procedures. Xenoforming, this article argues, because the epistemological consequences of epigenomics as bioinformatic codification of epigenetic mutations are not limited to the scientific arena, but instead form an epigenomic epistemology that has already begun to inflect both corporate and quotidian ways of apprehending life’s vital processes, producing, whether we have noticed it or not, profound augmentations in contemporary understandings of subjectivity, time and trauma.

Vincente Perez

The 22nd annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) | Philadelphia


The primary goals of media literacy are laudable: active and critical thinking about the messages we receive and the messages we create. In practice, media literacy standardizes limited ways of knowing and normalizes built-in biases. Subsequently, its narrow emphasis on skill development, particularly the role of fact-checking, content creation, and independent research are all practices that can be exploited, oftentimes leading to the amplification of misinformation. Homogeneous media literacy also assumes that platforms are neutral – codifying a dominant, neoliberal, racist lens as a competency. Social media literacy in particular assumes the norms of proprietary algorithms, arming users with the skills determined by Silicon Valley’s corporate, individualist, white supremacist values. Contemporary high school curricula teaches students to ably brand and promote themselves; adept meme creators are rewarded for racial appropriation and fungible performances of Blackness; vanity metrics foster reputation anxiety in social media’s ‘success theatre’; personal data protection is an arguably futile lesson in privacy that preaches paranoid gated communities; fascist media pundits easily exploit conservative media literacy practice of “doing your own research” to naturalize misinformation. What are the implicitly raced, classed norms of reading "correctly"? What are mundane emancipatory reading practices? What alternative literacy practices do users deploy to reject these individualistic, racist standards? What does interpretive media literacy look like? This panel offers a portrait of what’s missing in media literacy and explores visions of interdependent practices that offer alternative methods of active and critical thinking about the messages we receive and the messages we create. The paper looks at Black Twitter users who refuse to read the platform "right" in a racist antiblack digital civic sphere. The paper focuses on “anagrammatical” praxis (Sharpe, 2016) wherein Black Twitter users engage in hacking virality, covert publicity, and Black vernacular signyfyin’ to create a multifaceted and adaptive strategy of making sense of the incomprehensible nature of antiblackness.

Juliana Friend

Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) | Baltimore

Wearing Illicit Images: Fabrics of Pornography and Citizenship in Senegal

In the open-air markets of Dakar, Senegal, vendors keep draps porno (“porn sheets”) discreetly tucked under stacks of colorful fabrics. Draps porno are bedsheets or lingerie screen-printed with screenshots from porn films. The white fabrics feature glossy photographs of sex acts between Black, white, or interracial couples. Vendors sell these fabrics to married women or to mothers as gifts for their daughters’ wedding nights. When it’s time to use them, customers smooth porn images onto their beds. Or they wrap the images around their hips, creasing photographs of women in the sex industry against their own bodies. Many vendors consider draps porno simply a more graw (“hardcore”) technique of mokk pooj, the art of seduction. Women often cultivate Muslim piety and claim economic negotiating power vis-à-vis sexual partners through mokk pooj (Gilbert 2017). Yet the introduction of photographs to its material culture demands new negotiations of personhood and citizenship. The ethics of buying and selling draps porno often hinge on what I call the “double bind of digital intimate citizenship;” in complex relation to colonizing projects, moral citizenship and social personhood depend upon the ability to manage the circulation of one’s digital data and image. Yet only those construed as belonging to the moral community of the nation can claim the agency to determine how, with whom, and how much their data circulates. Within this framework, vendors position women who appear in pornography outside the national community due to their acts of illicit digital exposure. When women are positioned as moral non-citizens, recirculating their acts of illicit digital exposure through fabric can more easily be justified. For wearers, moral personhood and eroticism are materially co-constituted by the intimate labor of those positioned outside the national community, as wearers affix images of transgressive women to their beds or their own bodies. By embedding porn images in new material forms and performance contexts, vendors and wearers naturalize nationalist interpretation frameworks for illicit image-making.