Keynotes

The 2018 Keynote Speakers are Elizabeth Losh and Samantha Blackmon!

Samantha Blackmon: Racing Games: On Games, Race, and Community Building

Elizabeth Losh: Hashtag Feminism and Its Discontents


Elizabeth Losh: Hashtag Feminism and Its Discontents

Celebration and criticism of so-called “hashtag feminism” rarely addresses the hashtag itself as an artifact or tries to locate its place in the history of information design. Although the story of the hashtag tends to be associated with Silicon Valley invention myths or power users like celebrities, the hashtag is actually the result of accreted sets of practices and invisible labor involving negotiating competing claims about identity, ownership, and naming conventions. This talk discusses how the #hashtag actually exists in two pieces, with two separate but related design histories. The # is a special kind of character used to facilitate non-human machine-to-machine communication that has a prehistory in teletype machines, touch-tone telephones, and IRC chat. The letters after the # also are part of a bigger narrative: the human-to-human story of metadata. This combination of communicative strategies has been studied by the Computers and Writing community for decades, but feminist theory has been less frequently used as a core framework for understanding this intersection of machine-to-machine and human-to-human discourse. By thinking about the history of technological adoption and adaptation by social movements and hashtag feminism in particular, we can challenge core assumptions about our role in facilitating student literacies.

Elizabeth Losh is an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at William and Mary with a specialization in New Media Ecologies. Before coming to William and Mary, she directed the Culture, Art, and Technology Program at the University of California, San Diego. She is a core member and former co-facilitator of the feminist technology collective FemTechNet, which offers a Distributed Open Collaborative Course, a blogger for Digital Media and Learning Central, and part of the international organizing team of The Selfie Course. She currently serves on the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association.

She is the is the author of Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication, and Mistakes (MIT Press, 2009) and The War on Learning: Gaining Ground in the Digital University (MIT Press, 2014). She is the co-author of the comic book textbook Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2013; second edition, 2017) with Jonathan Alexander. She published the edited collection MOOCs and Their Afterlives: Experiments in Scale and Access in Higher Education with the University of Chicago in 2017. She is co-editor of a forthcoming volume on feminist digital humanities from the University of Minnesota Press and author of a forthcoming book on the hashtag as a cultural object from Bloomsbury. Her current work-in-progress focuses on ubiquitous computing in the White House in the Obama and Trump administrations.


Samantha Blackmon: Racing Games: On Games, Race, and Community Building

Video games are an interactive medium. We engage with them on a personal and embodied level. This talk focuses on the role that race plays in and around the games community. By viewing video games through a race based or racialized lens we are better able to illuminate the ways that race governs/influences the experiences of people who play, teach, and create games. Here I look to and call for less traditional modes of scholarly interaction with games and the games community in an attempt to foster intersectionality and inclusion in our research and knowledge creation practices.

Samantha Blackmon is an Associate Professor of English - Rhetoric and Composition at Purdue University. Dr. Blackmon is the Editor of NYMG Feminist Games Studies Journal which evolved from the popular blog and podcast series "Not Your Mama's Gamer" to become an academic journal whose first issue premiered in April of 2018.  Her research and teaching interests are in Minority Rhetoric and Digital Rhetorics. Her more recent research projects looks at identity, video games, and content creators. She is co-editor, with Cristina Kirklighter and Steve Parks, Listening to Our Elders: Working and Writing for Change (USU Press, 2011), and has published widely in the journals and edited collections of composition, technical communication, and computers and writing.

Samantha has been gaming for more than 40 years. It all started with a series of dashes moving up and down the screen and it has yet to end. It took 20 years to turn a guilty pleasure into research, but she got it done. Her interest lays in critique of identity and identity formation in game studies. She is currently spending a lot of time surviving the apocalypse.