Institute for Advanced Study Presents

The Future of the Meme: #Iranelection, Activism, Social Media

Thursdays at Four
Jan 2016
About the Event

A look at the contexts for the first long-trending global hashtag #iranelection reveals the contours of an emerging ecology of social protest in 2009. This talk offers a prehistory, of sorts, to today’s uses of hashtags and trending topics, of selfies and avatar activism, of citizen journalism and memes to evaluate activism in a rapidly shifting arena of online war against #ISIS, police brutality, and corporate greed, and its recoil into #Clicktivism, outrage fatigue and #GriefShaming.

Negar Mottahedeh is a cultural critic and film theorist specializing in interdisciplinary and feminist contributions to the fields of Middle Eastern Studies and Film Studies. She is known for her work on Iranian Cinema, but has also published on the history of reform, revolution and the uses of social media in protest. Her new book #iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online Life (2015 Stanford University Press), follows the protest movement around Iran’s fraudulent presidential election in 2009, to investigate how emerging social media platforms developed international solidarity. The 2009 protests in Iran were the first revolts to be catapulted onto the global stage by social media, just as the 1979 Iranian Revolution was agitated by cassette tapes. #iranelection reveals the new online ecology of social protest and offers a prehistory, of sorts, to the uses of hashtags and trending topics, of selfies and avatar activism, citizen journalism and YouTube mashups.

This talk is cosponsored by the Department of Moving Image Studies. To request a disability-related accommodation, please contact the IAS (ias@umn.edu 612-626-5054) at least two weeks prior to the event.