Technologies of Hate

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Monday, February 5, 2018
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
When: 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, DML 241
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - 17:00

“The number of hate groups operating in the [U.S.] in 2016 remained at near-historic highs.”  --The Southern Poverty Law Center

“[T]he Internet has for some time provided extremists with a sense of community, that they are not alone in their beliefs.”  --Rick Eaton                       

When the development of web technologies vastly popularized the Internet in the 1990s, many were hopeful that these platforms would democratize access to information and increase cross-cultural understanding.  More than two decades later, we have come to see that the web is not a magical solution to social problems but is rather bound up with larger cultural issues, often magnifying and refracting them.  Join us as Harman Academy Director Tara McPherson discusses her research on the role played by Internet technologies in the spread of white supremacist ideas in the United States.  As expert on both digital media and the role of the South in U.S. culture, Professor McPherson will examine how certain notions about whiteness, southern identity, and nation have fueled the rise of neo-Nazi sentiments. She asks: how do digital infrastructures facilitate or impede the work of such ideologies? How do digital and racial logics shape other? How might studying such groups help us understand not only digital platforms but also the shifting contours of race and racism in the post-Obama years?

Tara McPherson, Professor of Cinematic Arts

Tara McPherson is professor of critical studies at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and our Director of the Harman Academy for Polymathic Study.  She is a core faculty member of the IMAP program, USC’s innovative practice based-Ph.D., and also an affiliated faculty member in the American Studies and Ethnicity Department.  Her research engages the cultural dimensions of media, including the intersection of gender, race, affect and place.  Her research focuses on the digital humanities, early software histories, gender, and race, as well as upon the development of new tools and paradigms for digital publishing, learning, and authorship. Her Reconstructing Dixie: Race, Gender and Nostalgia in the Imagined South received the 2004 John G. Cawelti Award for the outstanding book published on American Culture.  She is co-editor of Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture and editor of Digital Youth, Innovation and the Unexpected, part of the MacArthur Foundation series on Digital Media and Learning.  She is the founding editor of Vectors, a multimedia peer-reviewed journal and founding editor of the MacArthur-supported International Journal of Learning and Media.  Tara was among the founding organizers of Race in Digital Space, a multi-year project supported by the Annenberg Center for Communication and the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. She co-directs the new Center for Transformative Scholarship and is a fellow at the Center for Excellence in Teaching. With major support from the Mellon Foundation, she is currently working with colleagues from leading universities and with several academic presses, museums, scholarly societies, and archives to explore new modes of scholarship for visual culture research.