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Accepted paper:

Black Diaspora as Archipelagic Networks of Social Media and Technology

Author:

Michele Thorpe (New York University)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation considers black portraiture through the use of social media, cellphones, and digital technology. Through an archive of media-scapes,we analyze moments in which the men in this archive engage with technology to identify,interact with their world as migrants of the African diaspora.

Paper long abstract:

This presentation considers black portraiture through the use of social media, cellphones, and digital technology. Through an archive of media-scapes, we listen for moments in which the eight men in this archive engage with technology to identity and interact with their world as migrants of the African diaspora. We present a collage of their voices and experiences to suggest some ways in which technology provides a metaphor for their sense of self and their role in community. For example, Louis uses his Facebook account to legitimize his marriage to an Italian citizen, Noah talks of sharing his cellphone minutes with the other sixty residents in the camp, while Godspower speaks about literally using his cellphone to bait fishermen into calling for a rescue boat while at Sea. A portrait of blackness emerges from their words and our observation of how and why the men use these forms of media. Social media is mapped onto cartographies of connectivity across the black diaspora, thereby not only generating locations of satellite towers and internet nodes but also a collective portrait of diaspora as a category of identity. Tracing the implementation of technology and social media networks creates an archipelagic portrait of a black diaspora.

panel MV08
Photography in Motion