Inflamed Publics: Social Media, Violence, and Resistance

A Virtual Symposium

April 14–16, 2022

Registration links for each panel are provided in the schedule below

From online troll armies to digital warriors, camouflage to infiltration, the techniques and affects of war pervade global digital cultures today via social media platforms such as Whatsapp, WeChat, Twitter, and TikTok. As trending hashtags on Twitter become a statistical measure of the ebbs and flows of mass political sentiment, this symposium seeks to understand the relation between everyday digital media technologies, image-making practices, and violence in the 21st century. Over 3 consecutive days we will meet with film and media scholars, digital activists, ethnographers, and communications theorists to initiate a collaborative exploration of research methods to address the role of social media today with an eye to questions of aesthetics, sentiment, and sensory experience.

Organized by

Dr. Debashree Mukherjee
Associate Professor, Dept of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS), Columbia University

Dr. Ying Qian
Assistant Professor, Dept of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALAC), Columbia University

Dr. Laliv Melamed
Assistant Professor, Dept of Art, Culture and Media (ACM), University of Groningen




April 14, 2022. Thursday. 6pm ET. 
Registration link for Panel 1 on 4/14:

Wanning Sun, University of Technology Sydney
“Between Identity and Rights: WeChat and the Formation of a New Diasporic Public Sphere”

Radhika Gajjala, Bowling Green State University
“Women from the Global South Mobilizing Hashtag Publics: Inflamed and/or [In]visible?”

Daniel Mann, King's College London
“The Face-off: Individuating Media in Israel-Palestine”

Respondent: Jinsook Kim, University of Pennsylvania



April 15, 2022. Friday. 10am ET
Registration link for Panel 2 on 4/15:

Guobin Yang, University of Pennsylvania
“Inflaming Publics by Passing on the Torch, Virtually”

Rebecca Stein, Duke University
“Israel’s Lament:  Military Occupation, Social Media, State Fantasy”

Margaret Hillenbrand, University of Oxford
“Abject Bodies, Online Hating: the Kuaishou App in China”

Anirban K. Baishya, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“The Affective Politics of Hindutva Pop: Music/Video as Violence in Digital India”

Respondent: Navaneetha Mokkil, Jawaharlal Nehru University



April 16, 2022. Saturday. 10am ET.
Note: registration for Panel 3 is limited to Columbia and Barnard affiliates only:

Nayantara Ranganathan & Manuel Beltrán, Persuasion Lab
“Critical Vocabulary for the Archiving of Social Media Political Ads”

Joshua Neves, Concordia University
“Smart Bodies”

Fathima Nizaruddin, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung
“Mapping the Role of Mobile Instant Messaging Platforms in Forming a Majoritarian Hindu Nation”

Pang Laikwan, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
“Between Prison and the Public: The Use of Social Media by Political Prisoners in Hong Kong”

Respondent: Laliv Melamed, University of Groningen



Sponsored by the Humanities War and Peace Initiative, Columbia University

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Comparative Media; Weatherhead East Asia Institute; Film & Media program, School of the Arts; Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, & African Studies (MESAAS)

With special thanks to Alex Zivkovic and Hannah Marie Meholick