February 16, Media, Techno-political Action, and Social Justice Symposium Speakers

Anna Feigenbaum, Principal Academic in Digital Storytelling; Dept. of Journalism, English and Communication.

Engaging with the history of media, Anna Feigenbaum investigates how technological practices shape political action. Her work is concerned with how communication is mediated at sites of struggle–be it by bar charts or barbed wire fences. Her first monograph Tear Gas: From the Battlefields of WWI to the Streets of Today was recently published 2017. This research was funded by a Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities grant. It uses digital humanities and data storytelling methods to track the movement of tear gas from the trenches of WW1 to the streets of today, asking ‘How did it become normal to police communication with poison’? She is also co-author of the book Protest Camps (Zed 2013), which explores the media, governance and social practices of over 50 protest camps across the span of 50 years and co-editor of the collection, Protest Camps in an International Context (Policy Press 2017).


Paolo Gerbaudo, Lecturer in Digital Culture and Society, King’s College London

Paolo Gerbaudo's research focuses on the relationship between new media practices and physical spaces in contemporary political activism and youth cultures. His first book Tweets and the Streets: Social Media and Contemporary Activism (Pluto, 2012) critically assessed the impact of social media on the wave of movements of 2011 from the Arab Spring, to the Spanish indignados and Occupy Wall Street, highlighting not only the potentials but also the risks of isolation and evanescence social media bring to the contemporary protest experience. His research methodology combines in-depth interviews with organisers, participants, and sympathisers of social movements, and other social groupings, alongside ethnographic observations, and textual analysis of relevant media material. Apart from his academic work Paolo has also acted as a journalist covering social movements, political affairs and an environmental issues, and as a new media artist exhibiting at art festivals and shows. His most recent book is The Mask and the Flag: Populism, Citizenism, and Global Protest, Oxford University Press, 2017.

Erika Polson, Associate Professor, University of Denver.

Erika Polson's research focuses on socio-cultural change in relation to globalization, and specifically on globalizing middle classes and media as intersecting sites for analyzing such changes. She has explored growing hybridities of online and offline communication technologies, developing the concept of “digital place-making” as a way to understand how mobile connectivities enable users to access and/or produce new forms of place. Polson is the author of Privileged Mobilities: Geo-Social Media, Professional Migration, and a New Global Middle Class (Peter Lang, 2016), a study of how migrating professionals find instant sociality in global cities, based on ethnographic research of online and offline practices by expatriates in Paris, Singapore and Bangalore. Her work appears in journals such as New Media and Society; Media, Culture, and Society; International Journal of Communication; European Journal of Cultural Studies; and Communication, Culture & Critique; and new projects are forthcoming in the Routledge volumes, Location Technologies in International Contexts (Wilken et al, 2018) and The Networked Self, Volume 2 (Papacharissi, 2018).
 
Chris Robé, Associate Professor, Florida Atlantic University

Chris Robé’s primary research concerns the use of media by various activist groups in their quest for a more equitable world. In the twenty-first century, media does not simply offer a representational platform for disenfranchised voices, but more importantly serves as a material practice to engage in collective struggles for equity, justice, and more sustainable systems. He has written about U.S. radical film culture in the 1930s in his book Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture (U of Texas Press, 2010). His recent book, Breaking the Spell: A History of Anarchist Filmmakers, Videotape Guerrillas, and Digital Ninjas, explores the emergence of anarchist-based video activism.
 
Clemencia Rodriguez, Professor, Media Studies and Production Department + Media & Communication Department. Temple University

 Dr. Rodríguez is a Colombian US-based media and communication scholar recognized for her role in establishing and promoting the field of alternative and community media studies, notably through her work on 'citizens' media.' Her research explores how communities that engage in their own media production revise understandings of self, re-name the world, and activate individual and collective processes of empowerment and social change.
Key works include Fissures in the Mediascape: An International Study of Citizens’ Media (2001), where Rodríguez developed her "citizens' media theory," a ground-breaking approach; and Citizens' Media Against Armed Conflict: Disrupting Violence in Colombia (University of Minnesota Press, 2011), where she documents how people living in the shadow of war use community radio, television, video, digital photography, and the Internet, to shield their communities from armed violence's negative impacts.