Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
#SJ4: New Media Paper Session 2
Friday, 26/Jul/2019:
10:45am - 12:15pm

Session Chair: Caroline Schroeder
Location: Salons 4 & 5, Grand Ballroom, Marriott City Center

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Making Up: The “Post-human” Bodies and Gender Disobeying at the Turn of the Millennium

Slavna Martinovic

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria

Making up – The “post-human” bodies and gender disobeying at the turn of the millennium

The aim of my paper will be in defining the development of “post-human” looks and lifestyles of artists, performers and individuals better-known trough their Instagram pseudonyms like @isshehungry, @salvjiia, @ines_alpha to name a few. I will analyze how their make up styles are “shaping” their corporal and gender representation creating what is surpassing male or female, beyond human for that matter. These artists, performers, and individuals that were at one point called the “club kids”, are becoming through social media celebrities and entrepreneurs, with hundreds and thousands of followers, forming their own economies and becoming the influence of the mainstream; at the same time recycling the mainstream into something larger than life.

Instagram, a perfect medium for digital exposure of “public intimacy” (Thrift), allows an embodiment of a certain “allure”, that Thrift defines as “the creation of worlds in which the boundaries between alive and not alive and material and immaterial have become increasingly blurred” (Thrift, 2010). The digital “in materiality” (Parikka) allows construction of gender identity and corporality not constrained by the physically possible, exhilarating the mixing of different “specificities” and embodiments.

By briefly tracing the history of the individuals that fought the normative gender throughout the 20th century, my aim is to shine light on these crucial pioneers of the progress of “the necessity to transform” that “come (s) not to claim the rightness but to dismantle the system that meters our rightness and wrongness according to the dictates of various social orders” (Halberstam, 2018) .

Secondly, I will unpack the illustrations of the embodiment of the early "digital materiality" simulation of self, in a form of an avatar, constructed by juxtaposing of high and low culture, motivated by the post-structuralist fragmentation of self, indeed blurring the uncompromising differences between human and animal and human from the machine (Haraway)

Finally, by considering the notion of flow, excellently interpreted by Boris Groys - the material flow being irreversible, and the Internet being founded on the possibility of return and reproduction - I will consider the effects of “zooming in” in through outlets like “insta stories” or “on live” in the perpetual process directed at both self and others, of interminably curating, creating, performing and transforming one's corporality through processing of images, data, information, knowledge, fashion, makeup, photo apps and even personalized augmented face filters.

In conclusion, I will be offering answers to the following questions:

How did the medium of the Internet change the message (McLuhan)? How is it changing the way we send the message? How did this continuous window into “public privacy” enabled us never to end the message?


Groys, Boris. (2016) In the Flow London: Verso

Halberstam, Jack, “Unbuilding Gender,” Places Journal, October 2018.
Available at: (Accessed: 23/01/2019)

Haraway, D. (2004). The Haraway reader. New York: Routledge.

Thrift, Nigel (2010) Understanding the Material Practices of Glamour The
Affect Theory Reader (Kindle Locations 3983-3984 and Locations 4014-4015).
Kindle Edition

Not Too Close-Teading, Not Too Distant-Reading: Mixed Methods for Social Media Analysis

Aimée Hope Morrison

University of Waterloo, Canada

Social media presents complex and multimodal sets of objects, practices, and meanings that require interdisciplinary competencies to understand, analyse, and interpret. The massive scope, scale, and variety of such texts further requires new methods for text selection: neither massive automated data scraping nor boutique-style artisanal close reading seem appropriate.

This paper describes how interdisciplinary fields and methods can be drawn together to understand the full action of social media life writing in the world. I propose a generalizable and customizable mixed methods process employing some combination of the following: data collection and analysis tools drawn from digital humanities; close reading and surface reading methodologies drawn from literary fields; grounded theory study design drawn from sociology; thin and thick description drawn from anthropology and ethnography; and the delineation and interpretation of the software and hardware affordances drawn from new media studies.

1-Explore and Engage: The first step involves wide exploration and reading among linked texts (images on Instagram tagged "#effyourbeautystandards," and those that link to them, for example) in order to get a sense of the scale and scope of a set of practices: who does it, how, and why? This reading practice is embedded, context-driven, and interpretive; it traverses a field of texts rhizomatically, across webs of connection, in order discern emergent patterns from a diffuse set of instances.

2-Categorize: From this emergent sense of the contours of a given set of practices or a community, second, I engage in a thin description of the practice: a main outcome of the research is precisely in this work of meticulously describing what constitutes membership in the community, the goals of communication, and the boundaries of shared practices, as well as themes and content. This thin description gives a full contextual reading of the purpose of the communications, and how they perform meaningful work in a given community. From this emerges a sense of rhetorical genre: a delineation of who comprises the community of practice, what goals they aim to accomplish through these communications, and how these goals are advanced through specific and describable compositional practices.

3-Select: In the third stage of research, both exemplary (unusually skilled or somehow noteworthy to the broader community of practice) instances of the determined genre and representative (typical of the larger class) ones are chosen to serve as target texts for analysis and interpretation. This work employs literary strategies of discernment and discrimination, modes of scholarly judgement that animate any choice of primary text in print or otherwise. Rhetorical genres at scale ("fat fashion selfies," or "the Kiki challenge") must be described at the more general level of purpose, strategy, and community as I suggest above.

4-Interpret: Fourth, these exemplary and representative instances are subjected to literary-inflected close reading practices that interpret the means by which each instance performs the work central to the genre described in Stage 2, and which characteristics mark it as an exemplary or representative instance.

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