“Must the Revolution be Digital?” is a panel discussion featuring Zakia Salime and David Karpf. With the events of the Arab Spring and recent mobilization around the Movement for Black Lives, it is generally accepted that digital and social media have become crucial for activism and resistance. However, the debates around digital and online activism are fraught and complicated. One side argues that these new forms are inherently lazy, youth oriented, and remain embedded in neoliberal structures that foreclose revolution from reaching its full radical potential. Yet another argument claims these activisms are not disconnected from bodies on the ground and do the necessary work of generating immediacy and building community around shared causes. Zakia Salime is Associate Professor at the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers and currently Visiting Associate Professor at Yale’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department. Her co-edited volume, with Frances Hasso, Freedom without Permission: Bodies and Space in the Arab Revolutions (2016, Duke University Press) investigates the embodied, sexualized and gendered spaces that were generated, transformed and reconfigured during the Arab uprisings.
David Karpf is Assistant Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. He is the author of The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy (2012, Oxford University Press) and Analytic Activism: Digital Listening and the New Political Strategy (2017, Oxford University Press).
Sponsored by the UConn Humanities Institute’s Digital Humanities Reading Group and moderated by Bhakti Shringarpure.