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Talk: '#HashtagActivism: Networked Counterpublics in the Digital Age'

Event Details

March 23, 2018
1:30 pm

Integrative Learning Center

Room: 3rd Floor Communication Hub

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available

Presented by Brooke Foucault-Welles, assistant professor, Northeastern University.

The proliferation of social media has given rise to widespread study and speculation about the impact of digital technologies on politics, activism, and social change. Key among these debates is the role social media play in shaping the contemporary public sphere, and by proxy, our democracy.

Maligned by some as “slacktivism,” Foucault-Welles will argue social computing platforms such as Twitter create unique opportunities for traditionally excluded voices to challenge the terms of public debate. Counterpublics, or the alternative spheres of debate created by marginalized voices, have long played the important role of highlighting and legitimizing the experiences of those at the margins as they push for integration and change in the mainstream public sphere. Using the evidence from the Twitter hashtags #myNYPD and #Ferguson, she will demonstrate how networked counterpublics and hashtag activism are increasingly complementing offline counterpublic spheres to change the terms of mainstream public debates about racial justice and police violence in America.


The Integrative Learning Center is located in the center of campus, between the campus pond and the Campus Center.