Brown Girls, White Feminism, and the Necropolitics of War (with Moon Charania)

In this week’s episode, guest Moon Charania discusses her article “Ethical Whiteness and the Death Drive: White Women as the New War Hero,” which examines how contemporary films use white women protagonists to justify drone warfare and military intervention in the Middle East. Charania argues that media mobilize the figure of the suffering brown girl to elicit empathy and to assuage Western audiences’ guilt about collateral damage in neo-colonial wars. Through what Charania calls “ethical whiteness”, Global North citizens can promote humanitarian causes to rescue Global South brown girls from numerous atrocities without interrogating how their own governments are responsible for creating the conditions for such atrocities.

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The End of the American Media Empires (with Michael Curtin)

In this week’s episode, guest Michael Curtin discusses his article “Post Americana: Twenty-First Century Media Globalization” a wide-reaching examination of the political and social forces that shaped the United States’ dominance in global media during the 20th century. Curtin argues that, after nearly a century of American hegemony, media industries are today growing more plastic and complicated, scaling their ambitions and operations in an increasingly dynamic environment filled with new technologies, shifting audiences, and emerging economies.

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Refugee Selfies and the Media of Migration (with Eszter Zimanyi)

In this week’s episode, guest Eszter Zimanyi discusses her article “Digital Transience: Emplacement and Authorship in Refugee Selfies” which analyzes “refugee selfies” collected from Instagram’s Explore Places map feature as an alternative viewpoint on the so-called 2015 European refugee crisis. Zimanyi argues that that refugee selfies are best conceived as a form of digital transience that provide the refugee with a sense of emplacement in a particular location along with an archive of their movement across locations. At the same time, these digital posts also prompt a disruptive affective charge that forces other viewers of the image to contend with the precarity of the refugee’s existence in any location.

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Anime against Neoliberalism in Chile (with Camilo Diaz Pino)

In this week’s episode, guest Camilo Diaz Pino discusses his article “Weaponizing collective energy: Dragon Ball Z in the anti-neoliberal Chilean protest movement” which analyzes how the 2011 student-led protests in Chile borrowed icons from the popular anime show to foster a sense of collective struggle. The mobilization of the “genki dama” captured the need for solidarity among various protest groups as they fought the continued privatization of public services in the country. Diaz Pino argues that this case study illustrates the powerful influence of Japanese media in Latin America and the need to study transnational media flows that do not intersect with Anglo-American perspectives.

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The Sounds of Politics in South Asia (with Aswin Punathambekar and Sriram Mohan)

In this week’s episode, guests Aswin Punathambekar and Sriram Mohan discuss their article “A Sound Bridge: Listening for the Political in a Digital Age” which analyzes how catchy sounds become sonic cues for political participation. In their analysis of the popular refrain “Why This Kolaveri” (“Why This Murderous Rage”), the authors demonstrate how a sound’s availability, performativity, and resonance enable it to be picked up by a variety of journalists, politicians, and citizens engaged in popular protest movements. Punathambekar and Mohan argue that understanding politics in the digital age requires attending more closely to sonic modes of participation.

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The Weather after Fukushima (with Laura Beltz Imaoka)

In this week’s episode, guest Laura Beltz Imaoka discusses her chapter “Rain with a Chance of Radiation: Forecasting Local and Global Risk after Fukushima,” which traces the news coverage of the fallout of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Imaoka analyzes how the distinct organizations of the Japanese and U.S. news industries contributed to vastly different public perceptions of local risk and global atmospheric interconnections. She also notes an early moment when, in the absence of reliable data from official institutions, civilians turned to social media to obtain their information, often with disastrous effects.

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