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The Intersectional Internet

Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online

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Edited By Safiya Umoja Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes

From race, sex, class, and culture, the multidisciplinary field of Internet studies needs theoretical and methodological approaches that allow us to question the organization of social relations that are embedded in digital technologies, and that foster a clearer understanding of how power relations are organized through technologies.
Representing a scholarly dialogue among established and emerging critical media and information studies scholars, this volume provides a means of foregrounding new questions, methods, and theories which can be applied to digital media, platforms, and infrastructures. These inquiries include, among others, how representation to hardware, software, computer code, and infrastructures might be implicated in global economic, political, and social systems of control.
Contributors argue that more research needs to explicitly trace the types of uneven power relations that exist in technological spaces. By looking at both the broader political and economic context and the many digital technology acculturation processes as they are differentiated intersectionally, a clearer picture emerges of how under-acknowledging culturally situated and gendered information technologies are impacting the possibility of participation with (or purposeful abstinence from) the Internet.
This book is ideal for undergraduate and graduate courses in Internet studies, library and information studies, communication, sociology, and psychology. It is also ideal for researchers with varying expertise and will help to advance theoretical and methodological approaches to Internet research.
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Chapter Five: Video Stars: Marketing Queer Performance in Networked Television

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← 94 | 95 →

CHAPTER FIVE

Video Stars: Marketing Queer Performance IN Networked Television

AYMAR JEAN CHRISTIAN

 

INTRODUCTION

“Identity is not what you are so much as what you do.”

—KOBENA MERCER1



In 2010, a local news team in Huntsville, Alabama, interviewed a young man named Antoine Dodson about the attempted rape of his sister. Dodson’s defiant response sparked a cavalcade of Web commentary, going “viral” on its own, then spreading further after the Gregory Brothers of Auto-Tune the News remixed it into a song. “Bed Intruder Song” became an iTunes hit and the most-watched YouTube video of that year, raking in millions of views and thousands of dollars for its producers (Lyons, 2010). As spectacular as it sounds, the Dodson affair was far from new. The history of the Web includes scores of such incidents, in which people who are historically underrepresented became suddenly and spectacularly visible. Only three years prior, queer YouTuber Chris Crocker created one the most iconic YouTube videos in its history with his performance of empathy for Britney Spears (Christian, 2010a; Weber, 2009). Mr. Pregnant, a deep parody of Black and African minstrelsy, went viral that same year (Sabatini, 2007). ← 95 | 96 →

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