COM Spring 2021 Colloquia

From ‘Permit Patty’ to ‘Karen’: Black Rearticulations of Racial Humor

Featuring Dr. Raven Maragh-Lloyd

In the third COM Spring colloquium, Dr. Raven Maragh-Lloyd will discuss two related case studies to explore how Black publics online have shifted racial humor as a resistance strategy to respond to white femininity and its deployment of the police state. To understand how Black publics use their online networks to respond to white femininity and the police state, Dr. Maragh-Lloyd conducted a textual analysis from a collected sample of 1,000 tweets and Instagram posts with the hashtags #PermitPatty and #Karen between June and September 2020. Her findings demonstrate the ways that Black online publics use racial humor as resistance, by: (1) creating roles, such as the omniscient narrator, for each other while reducing ‘outsiders’ to the periphery, and (2) using storytelling to create an inverse of stereotypes and a monolith for white women.

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Speaker Biography

Dr. Raven Maragh-Lloyd is a digital media studies scholar whose research examines the intersections of race, gender, and digital media culture. She is currently working on her first book, Black Resistance Will Be Digitized: Strategic Rearticulations of Resistance in the Digital Age, which explores the shifting nature of Black resistance strategies online. More broadly, Dr. Maragh-Lloyd is interested in Black publics online who deploy their social and cultural tools in order to challenge media institutions and narratives. Her work has appeared in Journals such as Communication, Culture & Critique, Television and New Media, the Journal of Communication Inquiry and in edited collections such as Studying Race and Media (New York University Press), the Handbook of Diasporas, Media and Culture (Wiley-Blackwell), and Twitter, the Public Sphere, and the Chaos of Online Deliberation (Palgrave-Macmillan).


Borders and Blackness: Communicating Belonging and Grief

Featuring Dr. Manoucheka Celeste

Black women imagined and orchestrated #Me Too, Black Lives Matter, Bring Back Our Girls, and Say Her Name campaigns in the U.S. and globally. Recently, the importance of Black women’s experiences, interventions, and contributions to Black life and societies at large has crystalized for non-Black audiences in the U.S. and mixed audiences abroad; the ongoing and public response to deaths made increasingly visible on social media plays a significant role in the ways in which communities in the U.S. and abroad regard Black women.

In the second COM Spring colloquium, Dr. Manoucheka Celeste will address the different ways Black women tend to Black life and death. Specifically, she situates the popularity of representations of Black suffering across media, alongside counter-narratives and communication practices by these communities, in transnational contexts.

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Speaker Biography

Dr. Manoucheka Celeste is an Associate Professor at the University of Florida in the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research, and in the African American Studies Program. She conducts research on media representations of race, gender, class, and sexuality, and on identity formation in the United States and the Caribbean, specifically in Haiti. Her recent work focuses on citizenship narratives surrounding Blackness, Black womanhood, and transnational mobility. Her book Race, Gender, and Citizenship in the African Diaspora: Travelling Blackness received both the National Communication Association’s Diamond Anniversary Book Award and the association’s Outstanding Book Award from the African American Communication & Culture Division and Black Caucus. Dr. Celeste’s scholarship appears in academic journals, anthologies, as well as in public venues, including Spark: Elevating Scholarship on Social Issues, The Seattle Times, and The Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma.


Fighting Visibility: Unpaid Gendered and Racialized Labor for the UFC

Featuring Dr. Jennifer McClearen

In the first COM Spring Colloquium, Dr. Jennifer McClearen specifically considers how UFC athletes navigate the labor of visibility on social media. She examines interviews with female UFC fighters and discourse analysis of UFC content. Building followers online, engaging with fans, and promoting sponsors as micro-influencers is an unpaid and often invisible form of aspirational labor that the UFC strongly encourages its fighters to undertake. Dr. McClearen considers how white women and women of color navigate the athletic labor of femininity to promote themselves online. Her new book Fighting Visibility: Sports Media and Female Athletes in the UFC argues that the UFC’s promotion of diverse female athletes actually serves as a seductive mirage of progress that enables the MMA brand’s exploitative labor practices.

View the recording below:

Speaker Biography

Jennifer McClearen is a feminist media scholar whose research examines the representation and production of difference in popular media with a specific interest in sports and consumer culture. She is currently an assistant professor of media studies in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin. A proud Husky, Dr. McClearen graduated with her Ph.D. from the Department of Communication at the University of Washington in 2017.