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Showing posts from 2017

Opinion piece: A case for the ‘boring’ classroom

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A case for the ‘boring’ classroom There is a growing disdain for the traditional classroom, but for a teacher, the blank walls can be a canvas to play with, thinks Payal Arora.

Opening Talk at the Rotterdam Talent Week

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Erasmus University and the City of Rotterdam are organising the 2nd Rotterdam Talent Week from 1November until 15 November. The grand opening on 6 November shows how Rotterdam is a thriving place to develop student talents. Abdelkader Benali (Moroccan-Dutch writer and journalist) and I will open the forum through talks to inspire students to pursue their own talents. The week, organised in collaboration with the foundation Bernard Mandeville, is aimed at students, entrepreneurs, relations, employees and people from Rotterdam. The grand opening will take place in De Doelen at Schouwburgpleinon 6 November, 16:00-18:00. Entrance is free of charge, and open to everyone. More information can be found on the Facebook event.

#talent010#MakeItHappen#erasmusuni#rdamtalentweek#RTW2017

Opinion piece: rebuttal versus retracting logic still valid in this digital age?

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Fake news, now fake knowledge? Are universities still curators of ‘truth?’, Payal Arora asks herself.

Opinion piece out -Erasmus Magazine

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From October 2017, I will be writing a monthly opinion piece for theErasmus magazine. This is quite a refreshing change from my academic writing. I wonder how many academics like myself miss just writing to a lay audience on issues that are of general interest. anyway, looking forward to this new writing journey.

Of course, as luck would have it, I had to start with a bang on the controversial debate on "diversity" taking place on campuses in the Netherlands and as I see, worldwide. While the discussion has got heated, I must say this opens up opportunities to organize public forums for debates on this topic which I hope will happen. Here goes

Open letters, closed conversations?
If we want true action on diversity at our university, we need a sustainable equity that outlives identity politics, says Payal Arora. It's her reaction to an open letter to the EUR community on diversity, written by some university members.

Awarded the University Education Prize at the Academic year ceremony

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Watch the Nomination video here







Nomination for University Teaching Prize -Erasmus University

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Am honored to be nominated for the annual University Teaching prize by Erasmus University Rotterdam! The event will take place this September the 4th with Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam as the guest speaker. Having heard so much about him, am looking forward to hearing his thoughts in person. 
It marks 8 years of teaching at this university for me. Been quite a journey so far. Since I joined the at that time new international program in Media and Communication in 2009, I had the opportunity to design several new courses in alignment with my interests and expertise which really helped me engage the students. Exciting to have a classroom which is so international and diverse. What I love particularly is building relationships with the students, given the small classroom format. Got some interesting questions from the university press - read the full interview here.
Looking forward to many more years of teaching.





Keynote speaker at University of Amsterdam MA Graduation Ceremony

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Each year the University of Amsterdam MA program in New Media and Digital Culture invites a keynote speaker to address and motivate students and families at their graduation ceremony. I will be giving a keynote for this year’s graduation ceremony, reflecting on the future of new media research. The graduation ceremony takes place on Wednesday August the 30th, 2017, in Amsterdam.
My talk is titled, “In Search of the Exotic in Digital Culture.” This comes at a time where tensions run high between groups; identity politics is pervasive. Boundaries are formed online and circulated strategically as truisms, fueling divisive cultural spaces online and offline. I will talk about the notion of the exotic and its colonial underpinnings as an efficient mechanism to frame entire publics. Exoticism was a critical tool to justify what I call the 3 Cs -to Control, to Convert and/or to Conserve and how this continues to play out in today’s digital era.


My EUCxInspire talk on 'Silicon Valley's New Laboratories'

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The video of my talk for the EUCxInspire event "Seeing the Unseen" is out now. Check it out. 

Keynote talk for the Oromo Studies Association, Oslo

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Been an amazing few days in Oslo. I was there to deliver my keynote speech at the Oromo Studies Association mid-year conference. When I was invited for this event, I have to admit that my knowledge of the Oromo movement was rather basic. Since then, I immersed myself in the decades of research and news that has emerged regarding the Oromo people. Of course, I didn't pretend to be an expert but rather, gave the talk from an outsider point of view, putting into perspective the role of social media in social movements, comparing the Oromo movement to other struggles across the world and how they use the internet to further their cause.

It shocks me that human rights violations of about 40 million people in Ethiopia are relatively invisible in the mainstream media. Generations of Oromo people have struggled to claim their identity, their culture and their right to self-proclamation and yet, have been unable to gain that right in spite of their ongoing protest and lobby work among the …

Speaking on Digital Cultures at Collège des Bernardins in Paris

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This international conference at the Collège des Bernardins was on the topic of "L’humain au défi du numérique". Basically, it focused on digital & cultural diversity. Following the work of Milad Doueihi, the Chair of the Collège des Bernardins on "The human being with the digital challenge", the study day "Numerique & Diversité culturelle" proposes to examine the digital experience in other regions of the world and the possibility of thinking differently, using different methodologies and categories of thought. Can we still study digital culture, or produce an audible discourse on it, without systematically discussing the issue of digitization, encoding, mapping, data and usage? The meeting of computer science with the human and social sciences seems to have tightened the perimeter of the latter. The suspicion that weighs since their origins on their scientificity and their social utility is thus based, at a time when public funding is always de…

New article out on Facebook love and digital privacy

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My article is out with Laura Scheiber in the Media, Culture and Society Journal on Facebook love and digital privacy. The open access paper is titled, “Slumdogromance: Facebook love and digital privacy at the margins.” This article is about  how Facebook has consolidated its position as the one-stop-shop for social activity among the poor in the global South. Sex, romance, and love are key motivations for mobile and Internet technology usage among this demographic, much like the West. Digital romance is a critical context through which we gain fresh perspectives on Internet governance for an emerging digital and globalizing public. Revenge porn, slut-shaming, and Internet romance scams are a common and growing malady worldwide. Focusing on how it manifests in diverse digital cultures will aid in the shaping of new Internet laws for a more inclusive cross-cultural public. In specific, this article examines how low-income youth in two of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and Sout…

My TEDx video out on 'Who is in charge of the future of the Internet?'

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Brief Description of the talk  What do we really know about half of the world’s population who live on 2 dollars a day? How does their digital usage shape the future of the internet? If we have been paying attention in the last five years, we will see that much of what the poor are doing online are far from our traditional understandings fed to us over the decades. Instead of the much celebrated media stories of farmers checking crop prices, rural women searching for health information and the deprived youth learning math through mobile apps, Arora will take you on a different journey, one infused with sex, romance, socializing, and gaming. She pushes us to move past our preconceptions of the poor if we are to understand what the digital future will look like.