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Talks in October 2017.

Moshimoshi folks!

How are you doing? It’s that time of the year where All The Good Things are happening. I’m going to be talk-marathoning (6 talks at 4 events) for the next two weeks before I head back to my glorious sunny Perth end-October. If you’re interested, here’s where I’ll be and what I’ll be up to. If you are in the area, it would be cool to casually bump into each other and hide away over hot chocolate and icecream.

See you when I see you!


Here, There, and Nowhere: Mixed race East Asians and corporeal placeness in Australia 

(paper, via video-conferencing)

As a multicultural, multiracial, and multiethnic population, Australia is home to a rich array of diverse peoples. Yet, for all their flavour and colour, mixed race persons whose physical features do not neatly align with populist racial and cultural categories are often glossed over or reduced to stereotypes. This paper follows on from my research among Malay-Chinese women in Singapore and their negotiation of mixed race ambivalence for agentic autonomy despite being deemed ‘illegitimate’ persons within monoethnic contexts (Abidin 2014), and among mixed race East Asians in Australia and their self-percept of selective racial disclosure arising from how “Asianness” is constructed among White Australians (Abidin 2016). Specifically, I focus on how mixed race persons whose identities are not corporeally salient experience social inclusion, exclusion, and identity politics. Through a biographical narrative approach, I conduct indepth interviews with young people in Australia who self-identify as mixed race East Asians with family roots across China, Hong Kong Korea, Japan, and Singapore. I establish how such mixed race persons experience time and space in relation to authenticity and belonging, how their consumption and production preferences constitute or resist their cultural identities, and how their social groups become spaces to assert affinity and distance alongside legal categories as citizens, residents, migrants, and foreigners.

What: Mixed Race in Asia and Australasia: Migrations, Mobilities and Belonging

When: 1345-1410hrs (Singapore), 12 October 2017

Where: Asia Research Institute, Seminar Room AS8 Level 4, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, National University of Singapore




Attention whores and internet mores: The lifecycle and labour of Influencer affects and moralities


Many young people are now vocationally pursuing microcelebrity on the internet as commercial, cross-platform, and highly relatable Influencers. However, unlike content creators in specific genres such as fashion, food, or parenting, Influencers in the highly feminized “lifestyle” genre rely on developments in their personal lives to cultivate relatability with followers and establish their self-branding. In the absence of a commercial object as buffer, the criticism that such feminine Influencers receive often pertain to their bodies, internet personae, and imagined private lives. Yet, considering their body positivity, intentional publicness, and flair for baiting attention, popular wisdom often dictates that such Influencers “deserve” the hate they get for being “attention whores”. More pressingly, certain types of racialized, aged, and sexualized feminine bodies are policed more so than others, in a tension among beauty hegemony, othered self-containment, and sanitized exoticism. As such, some lifestyle Influencers encounter dilemmas and difficulty in redeeming themselves. Building on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, this talk discusses the types of content young feminine Influencers produce on their digital estates, the types of reactions they encounter, and how they respond to these experiences. At the confluence of affect, hate, morality, and controversy, what emerges is a vernacular of internet mores and who gets to claim fame, as lifestyle Influencers labour over the terrain of online affects and moralities.

What: Affective Politics of Social Media

When: 1030-1145hrs (Finland), 12 October 2017.

Where: Janus Auditorium, Kaivokatu 12, School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, University of Turku



Fame game, Name shame, Tame dame: Confessions from researching internet celebrities

(public talk)

What: Ethical dilemmas of internet researchers

When: 1400-1800hrs, 17 October 2017

Where: Room 128, Ülikooli 18, University of Tartu



My life is a mess: Self-deprecating relatability and the memefication of student publics

(paper by Kristine Ask and myself)

Memes depicting student issues are growing in numbers and are gaining increased visibility in popular media outlets, making them a bona fide genre of memes. We consider these memes to be an expression of a new networked student public, and our analysis seek to bring forth student voices that might otherwise be silenced. Based on content analysis of posts on the submission based Facebook page “Student Problems”, this paper asks how higher education is framed by student memes, and what these memes may tell us about the lifeworld and collective identities of students. We also analyze the limitations of meme based publics, emphasising processes of inclusion and exclusion of minority identities through specific vernaculars of visual and discursive humour.

What: AoIR 2017, Association of Internet Researchers

When: Paper Session 05 Memefied Publics, 1100-1230hrs, 19 October 2017

Where: Dorpat Baer, Soola 6, Tartu 51013, Estonia



Towards a theory of cross-media networked microcelebrity: Of bedrooms, blogsites, broadcasts, and boardrooms


This paper extends current scholarship on microcelebrities by shifting away from culturally-specific empirical case studies and platform-specific silos to theorize the production, consumption, circulation, and cooptation of microcelebrity across old and new media. By attending to how internet personalities, digital estates of the media, and traditional old media borrow from, capitalize on, and collaborate and compete for viewership and attention, we can understand the lifecycle, use value, discardability, and respectability politics involved in the field of microcelebrity studies.

What: AoIR 2017, Association of Internet Researchers

When: Paper Session 22 Micro-Celebrities, 1100-1230hrs, 20 October 2017

Where: Dorpat Pirogov, Soola 6, Tartu 51013, Estonia



A Tumblr and young people fishbowl

(fishbowl feat. Natalie Ann Hendry, Paul Byron, myself, and Brady Robards)

This fishbowl explores young people’s visual and micro-blogging practices and communities on Tumblr. Despite the platform operating for a decade, limited research considers Tumblr and its affordances. Most emerging research positions Tumblr as a space for non-dominant or sub- and counter-public engagements and connections, positioning Tumblr as a space for marginal identity work, non-competitive interactions and emotional authenticity for impassioned users. The fishbowl offers a timely and critical conversation to counter Tumblr’s absence in internet research and to address the political and social dimensions of Tumblr practice. We propose a need to explore the methodological complexity, including intensive and time-consuming scholarship that Tumblr demands. Considered themes for the fishbowl include Tumblr user practices, vernaculars and communities, recognition of marginal identity discourse, reblogging practices, “social justice warriors” and political sharing, censorship and vulnerability, commercial and creative aesthetics, and youthful fandom. Ultimately, this fishbowl will explore what, why and how we study Tumblr and youth practices into the future, the implications of this for internet studies, and what this may offer youth studies more broadly. The fishbowl will include an open document (Google Docs) for attendees to add notes, questions and provocations before and during the session, allowing for participation from ‘outsider fish’. One participant will introduce our themes, keep time, and facilitate the fishbowl drawing from this document to guide the conversation if necessary. Another participant will take notes of the session and provide a discussion summary that will be publicly available and contribute to the future collaboration of writing and symposia.

What: AoIR 2017, Association of Internet Researchers

When: Fish Bowl 04, 1400-1530hrs, 21 October 2017

Where: Dorpat Krause, Soola 6, Tartu 51013, Estonia



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