Activist Twitter and Race: Upcoming Projects

BlackLivesMatter demonstration on steps

This semester, the Activist Twitter and Race Research Group will produce a wide range of content to expand the lab’s resources for understanding communication, resistance, and identity in the digital age.

Throughout the semester we’ll feature lesson plans, journal articles, annotated bibliographies, and podcasts. Through each of these we will ask, “What opportunities and limitations does Twitter, as a composition medium, provide for researchers, students and educators regarding academic and social issues such as Race and Activism?” 

Click through the slider below for more information about what’s in store for the upcoming semester.

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This image features a white image of the Twitter logo, which is a bird in flight. It is placed on a black background featuring ones and zeroes to represent binary code.
Image from @TwitterData

 

 

Axel will be taking a linguistic approach to our research questions and compile corpora of relevant twitter data for quantitative analysis. The keyword here is “big data,” and while such an approach is not without its problems, it can generate exciting insights. Axel will work towards tracing language use, uptake and dissemination of hashtags, discourses and linguistic features relevant to the intersection between race and activism on Twitter.

 

 

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This image features four parts, arranged into squares. In the top left square, a picture of Officer Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In yellow lettering, the caption reads, White cop kills black criminal in self defense. To the right is a image of President Barack Obama looking concerned. A speech bubble from his mouth reads, We have a racism problem. In the lower left corner, a photograph of Bryce Williams, the black man who shot a reporter and cameraman on live television in Virginia before killing himself. The caption reads in yellow lettering, Black gay man kills three white people in racist rampage. The adjacent image features Obama, noticeably less pensive, saying We have a gun problem.
Image from PBS

 

 

Pete will be exploring the social media backlash to the #BlackLivesMatter movement to better understand the logics behind what he is calling “reactivist media.” In particular, he will focus on the verbal and visual humor produced to examine dynamics of community and right-wing resistance.

Pete will also develop a Twitter account and hashtag that will aggregate resources for teaching students about race and racism, and which will provide a model for students looking to aggregate their own research on Twitter.

 

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This image shows an African American woman protests on a city street. She stares off into the distance; her face reveals nothing. She is holding a sign that says hashtag say her name Kyam Livingston July 24th 2013 Brooklyn, New York.
Image c/o Huffington Post; Image is photograph of a protester holding a sign that reads “#sayhername Kyam Livingston July 24th 2013 Brooklyn, New York”

 

Rhiannon will design a series of resources for teaching students how to write with and on Twitter. Specifically, she’ll develop a series of lesson plans and citation guides that unite the DWRL’s resources and research with this year’s focus on Race and Criminal Justice in the basic writing curriculum here at UT.

 

 

 

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This image reproduces the high school yearbook photo of Shaun King. He is smiling, with a light mustache and an edge up haircut. He is wearing a black and white T-shirt and a gold necklace.
Shaun King at 14 from The Daily Kos

 

 

JB investigates how issues such as race and activism play themselves out on social media like Twitter. He’ll focus on Shaun King’s Twitter, and his confessional diary on DailyKos.com, “Race, love, hate, and me: A distinctly American story”. He’ll create a podcast that illustrates how students can use Twitter to enhance their academic research.

 

 

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