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Showing posts with the label politics
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COLUMN Name politics Whilst there are good arguments for re-examine naming in academic citations, making specific allowances for certain scholars over others reminds us that academia continues to be elitist, thinks Payal Arora.
It was a typical academic workshop. “Madhu Madhu” was the next presenter. This Indian female academic came on stage and started to explain the politics behind her name and how it went wrong. Her name was just “Madhu.” Not “Madhu Madhu.” In India, you can tell a person’s caste by his/her last name. There is pervasive discrimination based on the caste to which you belong. Since you are born into a caste, there is absolute immobility. This is a barrier to social equality, also in academia. For these reasons, she was politically motivated to drop her last name. When she applied to do this workshop in the United Kingdom, she explained her name change multiple times to the organisers. However, columns needed to be filled and this diverged from academic protocol. Hence…

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.


Big data and the Politics of Participation: Plenary Talk at the Technology, Knowledge & Society Conference, Berkeley

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It was a wonderful experience to serve as a Plenary Speaker for the Technology, Knowledge & Society Conference held this time at the University of Berkeley, California. The theme was 'Big Data and the Politics of Participation in a Digital Age.' Since the other plenary speaker Deirdre K. Mulligan from Berkeley's School of Information was talking primarily on the legality of big data and how diverse corporations interpret compliance in the United States and Europe, it was nice to contrast this with perspectives from the global South. After all, most of the conversation around big data seems to be hijacked by Western concerns, issues and contexts.

My talk, 'Bottom of the Data Pyramid: Big data perspectives from the global South' played with the much hyped Development idea on the bop as a new consumer base, inverting decades of viewing the poor in the global South as passive beneficiaries to now active co-creators of their own data.What do we know after all of the …

New publication out in the Space and Culture Journal on digital activism

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My publication in the Space and Culture journal is finally out!


This paper draws parallels between the use of public leisure spaces in the city such as parks and squares, and the use of certain forms of digital networks. Similarities between these two sorts of social contexts are worth considering, particularly their political dimension. This efforts ituates the current conversation about social media as sites of political mobilization into dialogue with the historical analysis of public parks as spaces that, in a similar fashion, were designed for leisure and consumption but was appropriated as sites of resistance. It brings together the literature on urban parks as centers of democracy and the literature on new media spaces as portals of cyber-protest, extending the spatial history of digital politics.