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CDCS Colloquium: Social Media and the Shape of “Man” | Annenberg School for Communication

October 18 @ 12:30 pm

Inspired by ethnographic work with queer of color users of the platform Tumblr during its heyday from 2010-2015 and using the Tumblr presence of Filipinx transfeminine visual and performance artist Mark Aguhar as a recurring touchstone, this talk’s provocation is that the assumptive ways in which a social media platform “should” be designed — singular identity, linear text exchanges, direct messaging, traversable connections, and more — in fact instantiate a model of “Man” that can be traced back to the long violence of European colonialism. Relying on Sylvia Wynter’s invocation of the idea of homo oeconomicus as well as Lisa Lowe’s historical analysis of the colonial-era origins of the modern liberal subject, this talk excavates these assumptions by advocating for and practicing a critical “close reading of design.” It then offers alternative design examples as opportunities for resisting this logic, inviting us to imagine digital sociality from a standpoint of interdependence instead of the stance of the assumptive liberal individual.



October 18
12:30 pm
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