Digital Unsettling: Decoloniality and Dispossession in the Age of Social Media

On Zoom

Abstract: In this talk, I will present key arguments developed in the just published book, “Digital Unsettling: Decoloniality and Dispossession in the Age of Social Media” (co-authored with Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan, New York University Press, 2023). Digital Unsettling is a critical exploration of digitalization that puts contemporary “decolonizing” movements into conversation with theorizations of digital communication.Throughout the book, we interrogate the forms, forces, and processes that have reinforced neocolonial relations within contemporary digital environments, at a time when digital networks—and the agendas and actions they proffer—have unsettled entrenched hierarchies in unforeseen ways.  The talk will focus on two chapters from the book, “Extreme” and “Capture”, arguing that extreme forms of online speech commonly engaged by right-wing groups reflect and reinforce longer historical processes of coloniality. They flow through the affective infrastructures of digital capitalism and contemporary data relations that have problematic parallels to how anthropology emerged as the science of the colonizer.

Speaker bio: Sahana Udupa is professor of media anthropology at the University of Munich (LMU), where she teaches and researches online extreme speech, politics of artificial intelligence, critical digital studies, news and journalism, and media policy. Udupa is the recipient of Joan Shorenstein Fellowship at Harvard University, European Research Council Grant Awards and Francqui Chair (Belgium). Most recently, she delivered a keynote address at the United Nations Peacekeeping International Symposium on Digital Transformation based on the research paper on digital hate she wrote for the UN.

Oxford Digital Ethnography Group (OxDEG) seminar, Michaelmas 2023

Mondays of Weeks 2, 4, 6 and 8, 3.30-5pm, online (hybrid in Week 4)

Convened by David Zeitlyn, William Kelly, Rebecca Eynon, Lily Rodell

Learn more and book on the OII website.