As we continue to endure the privations forced upon
us by the pandemic and various government responses thereto, it is
important to locate sources of joy. Writing about
Black cyberculture often revolves around oppression, resistance, labor,
or consumption. Brock, however, argues that Black digital practice’s
deviation from technocultural practice and
desire can be understood as a feature, not a bug. He proposes that Black
Twitter, in particular, offers a space for Black joy to originate,
participate, and conversate, leading to surplus libidinal, communal, and
political energies powering movements such as Black Lives Matter.
Rianna Walcott will discuss how she uses Brock’s perspectives in her
research on Black British digital cultures. Recorded on October 28th 2020.
André L. Brock is an Associate Professor in the
School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech. He is an
interdisciplinary scholar with an M.A. in English and Rhetoric from
Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in Library and Information
Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
His scholarship includes published articles on racial representations
in videogames, black women and weblogs, whiteness, blackness, and
digital technoculture, as well as groundbreaking research on Black
Twitter. His article “From the Blackhand Side: Twitter as a Cultural
Conversation” challenged social science and communication research to
confront the ways in which the field preserved “a color-blind
perspective on online endeavors by normalizing Whiteness and othering
everyone else” and sparked a conversation that continues, as Twitter, in
particular, continues to evolve. His most recent book is Distributed
Blackness: African American Technocultures, published by NYU Press. You
can find him on Twitter at @DocDre.
Rianna Walcott (she/her) is an
LAHP-funded PhD candidate at Kings College London researching Black
women’s identity formation in digital spaces, and a graduate twiceover
from the University of Edinburgh. She co-founded projectmyopia.com ,
a website that promotes inclusivity in academia and a decolonised
curriculum. She frequently writes about feminism, mental health, race
and literature for publications including The Wellcome Collection, The
Metro, The Guardian, The BBC, Vice, and Dazed . Rianna is co-editor of
an anthology about BAME mental health – The Colour of Madness , and in
the time left over she moonlights as a professional jazz singer. Rianna
tweets at @rianna_walcott and more about her work can be found at riannawalcott.com.