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Introduction: Libby

Hello! I’m Libby, a 2nd year Master’s student in Comparative Media Studies. I grew up in Wisconsin and graduated with a degree in Communications (focused on media production) from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in the summer of 2008. That summer was the height of the Great Recession and, in short, not a good time to graduate. I spent a year applying to jobs, picking up odd photography gigs and working at the mall until I was offered an incredible AmeriCorps position working with people with disabilities in Park City, Utah. After AmeriCorps, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where a friend and I started a small production company creating promotional videos for local nonprofits and social entrepreneurs. After college, I also began teaching media skills to youth – mainly video production, web design, and videogame design. In 2012 two colleagues and I co-founded a startup nonprofit with funding from a major 3D printing company to created curriculum and educational experiences that introduce K12 students to technology and human-centered design. We created some popular open education resources, but, after two years of long hours and little pay, we were burned out and decided to shut down. After that, I worked as a UX and maker education consultant while exploring alternative funding structures for a second education startup.

I’m taking this class because I’ve decided to write my thesis on the existing (and potential) intersections between educational game design and social movement organizing, particularly when it comes to scaffolding learning and engagement for new members… and I have a lot to learn about social movement theory! Although I’ve participated in movements peripherally – as a photographer, Congressional testifier, and body in the crowd – I have no experience with social movement leadership and strategy. I’m particularly interested in digital strategy and ways to make it easier for small movement chapters with limited resources (and typically no staff) to be more effective in this arena.

The movement I’m interested in studying is working to get big money out of politics – specifically, by supporting the Anti-Corruption Act – and I’m focusing on organizing work related to this issue in the state of Wisconsin. I have my first call with Wisconsin United to Amend today to explore shared goals for exploring this work together!

 

Greetings

I’m Amy Shim, an undergrad at MIT studying electrical engineering and CMS. I wanted to take this class because I was interested in how recent changes in media consumption affected people’s actions en masse. I was also drawn to the project-based nature of the course and the opportunity to practice anthropology-oriented skills — conducting interviews, observing participants, conducting surveys, and so forth. A friend also recommended this class.

I am very conflicted in choosing a movement to study. My initial interests were in the movements against sexual harassment. I have been following the Me Too movement since October 2017, when many of my friends shared their stories after the hashtag first went viral. But I worry that I might not be able to detach emotionally from the movement while studying it. I think, in order to conduct a fair study, it is important to be able to view the movement as objectively as possible, but the issues are very personal to me.

I also think it would be very interesting to study a movement I do not personally align myself with — for instance, the Men’s Right movement or the Pro-life movement. I believe doing so would force me to truly think about the mechanics behind the movement in a way that would perhaps not be so obvious when working with a cause I was fired up about. And I hope I would come away from the experience with a much better understanding of people who are ideologically different from me.

My model of social movements was initially linear. However, after speaking with others, I changed it to a diagram with a focal point, moving outwardly.

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Introduction: Sam

Hello! This is the other Sam, Sam Pauley. I’m an MIT sophomore majoring in Comparative Media Studies.

I’m from Maryland, and I lived close enough to Baltimore and Washington D.C. to be affected by the protests and riots taking place there over the past few years. Teachers and students alike would miss school for protests, and my parents would sometimes take alternate routes to work to avoid what they deemed danger zones. However, my personal involvement in social movements so far has been largely only sharing information on social media. That’s part of why I’m interested in this class — social media decreases the barrier to participation for those that might not have the means to safely participate otherwise, but that lowered barrier has other effects.

I’m interested in the relationship between social movements and governments. A matter of somewhat recent news is how Russian operatives used platforms such as Tumblr and Twitter to pretend to be U.S. activists, especially in the Black Lives Matter movement, in an effort to suppress voter turnout. I find this interesting because in theory, activists and those who interact with activists should be more likely to vote to further their goals. Additionally, the idea that governments are weaponizing social movements, while not new, bothers me. The barrier to sharing information is lower, but that also means it’s easier for false information to be spread. Governments no longer have to intercept a plane to change the public face of a movement. If it’s feasible, I’d like to base my research for the final around the upcoming midterm elections.

Introduction: Roberto

Hi, I’m Roberto S. Salva, a doctoral student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management of Brandeis University. Before coming to Heller, I led an EU-funded baseline study on child participation in ASEAN and ASEAN Member States and consulted for various nonprofits working in the Philippines like The Asia Foundation, Save the Children, and Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation. Before that, I ran a nonprofit working with the deaf in the Philippines for six years.

I am taking this class for two reasons. One, my current research has led me into questions about children—those who are under 18 years old—as political actors and about children’s participation in social movements. I hope that this class would give me the space and the guidance to answer partly those questions. I am particularly thinking about working on the print media’s treatment and framing of the participants of the March for our Lives movement as project for this class and, if time permits, compare these to the treatment and framing of earlier movements in the U.S. where children were involved.

Two, I also want to reflect on my experiences in the social movements that I have been part of and a witness to in the past. My involvement in social development began with my participation in social movements in my teens. When I was 19, my research for a speechwriter of a political figure in the Philippines became the basis and the support of an anti-charter change movement there. After that, I was in the secretariat of a national independent election watchdog. I hope to reflect on these experiences and learn more for the movements I will be involved in in the future.

Intro Post

Hi all,

This is Tiffani. This is, unfortunately my second draft of this. My computer died earlier this week and I’m still working with IT to try to recover my data (including my first blog post) from it.

Anyway, my name is Tiffani. I work full-time at Boston University and I am a part time student earning a master’s in Emerging Media Studies. My aim is to study the intersections between identity and technology, or more specifically the intersections between race, gender, and technology, particularly social media.

I was interested in this seminar because I thought it would be a good way to look at these intersections on a more macro or global level, using social movements as a lens. I am always hesitant to call any era a golden age, especially one that we are still living in. Nonetheless, I still acknowledge that we are living in a time where social movements that started or are majorly organized and grown online are having moment right now.

There are many social movements both online and off that I consider myself a part of or that I support, however what I want to focus on in this class is the radicalization of white men online. Altright, gamergate, comicsgate, red pill, I think these are all different faces for the same ideas. There has always been racism in the United States. There have always been white men who desperately want to hold on to power. However, I believe that social media has changed what that looks like. In part, this is because much of it is reactionary, responding to the progressive social movements and organizing that many of you will be studying this semester.

I hope I pick up skills and knowledge to combat these toxic movements, but maybe just understanding how they function in itself is a useful tool to develop counter or protective measures.