Difference and Media Teach-In
May 8-10, 2019 Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY
“Lost Chats: Queer Identity Formation in the Digital Age”
As part of this year’s Difference and Media Teach-In, students will create a live ethnography by telling stories of growing up queer on the internet. Through stories of transversing various digital mediums, student storytellers will explore questions around the negotiation of aesthetic and community, the public and the private, the fleeting and the permanent, and persona and personhood. In keeping with this year’s theme of “oligarchy,” questions of ownership and mediation will also be considered as the digital terrain is increasingly controlled by few major corporate entities–Google controls the means of exploration, Facebook validates the authenticity of persona, Apple helms the hardware with which the internet is “materialized.” Two speakers will join the student storytellers. Benjamin Haber (PhD, CUNY Graduate Center, sociology) and Daniel Sander (PhD, NYU, performance studies) will inform the event with their own stories and scholarship on queer circuits and the various modes that neo-liberalism and digital capitalism mediate the queer digital.
Society for the Social Studies of Science
September 4-7, 2019, New Orleans, Louisiana
“Trust and Vulnerability as Technoscientific Practice”
The increasingly central place of digital infrastructures in the organization of the self, combined with the manifold incitements towards the circulation of personal media has made trust a central problematic of contemporary identity construction. Digital intimacy in particular can be a minefield of trust challenges and experiences of acute vulnerability: leaky infrastructures, malicious actors and organizations, data-hungry states haunt the construction of both self and body. The political economy of the digital is built on both the maintenance of trust, and the inequitable distribution of vulnerability. In this paper I look at trust building practices on infrastructures designed for circulation and exposure. The building of trust, both with others and with the infrastructures themselves, requires a bricolage of tactics and strategies and a complex understanding of the semiotics of digital platforms. I focus in particular on emergent “innovations” in digital communication, including emphermality, live-streaming, and geolocation to develop a vocabulary focused on the “quotidian and banal activities of sexual self-elaboration through Internet technologies — emergent habituations, corporeal comportment and an array of diverse switchpoints of bodily capacity” (Puar, 2012: 151).
Association of Internet Researchers Conference
October 10-13, 2018, Le Centre Sheraton Montréal Hotel, Montreal, Canada
“After Identity: Geolocation and the Politics of Proxy”
In this paper, I explore the discourses and diagramatics of the growing industry that uses location as both a social proxy and as an alternative form of subjectification to more traditional social techniques based in mining archival material. I’m interested in the affective distance between geolocation information that feels more abstractly related to the self and more ostensibly “personal” information like preference and demographic information.
Eastern Sociological Society
February 22-25, 2018 Hyatt Regency Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
“Queer Theory and the Digital Ephemeral”
Theorizing the Web
April 7-8, 2017 Museum of the Moving Image, New York, NY
“Queer Temporality and the Performance of Risk”
Queer Circuits in Archival Times: Experimentation and Critique of Networked Data
May 20-21, 2016 New York, NY
“Gheez this is Uncomfortable: Performing the Impotence of Masculinity”
With T Clutch Fleischmann
Starting in 2015, the presenters have run a collaborative twitter project that aggregates online user reviews of the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis, also prescribed for pulmonary arterial hypertension. “The Cialis Review” reveals the contours, textures, and inconsistencies of diverse masculinities as they turn to online forums to form communities, share compassion, perform virility, and generate information.
“Queer capitalism and digital sociality”
Building on work that looks to understand the long history of selective minoritarian incorporation into logics of capital accumulation and state violence, this paper will look at proprietary social media as having queerly digitized and monetized sociality, contributing to the undermining of queer critique and the upending of queer life. Departing from notions of “social media” that put these digital platforms in stark opposition to queerness, I’ll highlight how networks like Facebook have built a variety of queer notions of relationality into the core of their product. While capitalism’s metabolism for queer difference predates the social internet, it has only proliferated in the digital age, where value accumulates in the thin slices of nimbly rearranged “communities.” By both defining and operationalizing community in the digital age, social media has made queer sociality affectively experienced as labor, even if cognitively we understand our activities as recreational and voluntary.