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March in Paris & Trondheim.


Moshimoshi, good people of Paris and Trondheim! Am passing through your city to talk about digital anthropology and smartphone anxiety, ‘cute’ Internet culture, and run a pedagogical workshop on selfie culture. See you there?

PS: Special thanks to Nadine, Cassandre, and Kristine for organizing this!

Beep when you beep,

Error Dramatica

Anthropologies numériques/3ème édition
(digital anthropologies gallery exhibition)
Les Ecrans de la Liberte, Le Cube
Paris, France

13 March 2015, Friday, 1600-1900hrs
[Full programme: Thursday, Friday 1600-2200hrs, Saturday 1400-1900hrs]
20, Cours Saint Vincent, 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux
(French full | English blurb)

Most of us have intimate relationships with our smartphones. I study commercial ‘lifestyle’ bloggers who manifest an extreme version of this intimacy, because up to hundreds of thousands of fans eagerly await updates on their daily lives as assembled on various social media feeds. In the process of fieldwork, my iPhone has become an extension of my body as I learnt to negotiate digital worlds in the shared physical spaces I co-inhabit with these savvy cyber-celebrities. As a digital Anthropologist, fieldwork ‘on the go’ is often encumbered by the anxieties of insecure Wi-Fi connections. ERROR DRAMATICA is a visual catalogue of these frustrations.

(En)gendering cuteness and pastiching East Asia: Singaporean web cute as The Doll, The Darling and The Dear

Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture
Norges Teknisk-Naturvetenskapliga Universitet (NTNU)

16 March 2015, Monday, 1415-1530hrs
Institutt for tverrfaglige kulturstudier, Møterom 6440, Dragvoll campus
(event link)

There has yet to be a definitive study of cute culture that is organically Singaporean. Drawing on existing work on East Asian cute culture and the regional popularity of commercial social media microcelebrities in Singapore, this article annotates three modes of agentic cute used to obscure the soft power that microcelebrity bloggers hold. Through the qualitative textual and visual analysis of content from three popular Singaporean commercial lifestyle blogs and their associated Instagram and Twitter feeds, this article examines how The Doll, The Darling, and The Dear are enacted as ‘cute femininities’. It argues that the subversive power of this performative cute is obscured by the corresponding sensual delight, romantic docility, and homosocial desire that the bloggers develop in tandem with their cute. By continually emphasizing stereotypical gendered relations with their male partners, and fan relations with their readers, these bloggers are able to position themselves as non-threatening and submissive, when they are in fact quietly subverting these hierarchies for personal gain.

Thinking about selfie culture: A pedagogical workshop

ICT and Cultural Change lecture
Science & Technology Studies, Gender Studies
Norges Teknisk-Naturvetenskapliga Universitet (NTNU)

18 March 2015, Wednesday

Celebrity selfies, politician selfies, sponsored selfies, and transgressive selfies have made international news since ‘selfie’ was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries in 2013. But what is in a selfie? How is this global phenomenon conceptualized across producers and consumers, and how can one understand selfie culture beyond a mere frivolous pop­internet fad? Between psychological discourses of selfie culture as narcissism and the viable co­opting of selfies into marketing campaigns ala Ellen’s infamous Oscar selfie, ‘Thinking about selfie culture’ looks at the productive pedagogy of the selfie. This talk is an overview of selfie culture around the world, current research initiatives, and ways of thinking through the selfie critically as discourse, evidence, affect, ethics, and performance. Drawing from Crystal’s work on social media entrepreneurship in Singapore and East Asia since 2010, the talk also invites us to examine selfie culture in Singapore through ethnographic case studies.

The pedagogical content of this talk is based on a new ‘Teaching with Selfies’ syllabus collaboratively produced by members of the Selfies Pedagogy Group (est. August 2014), founded by Theresa Senft of NYU with a group of international scholars. Our educational group is an offshoot from The Selfies Research Network (est. February 2014). Visit us at

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