Catherine Knight Steele Digital Dialogue | October 11, 2016

Deviant Black Bodies and Embodied Black Feminism in the Blogosphere

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  2. The online discourse surrounding Beyonce's album Lemonade was Dr. Steele's original impetus for this talk. After the Digital Blackness conference at Rutgers earlier this year, she and a group sat around in a group watching Lemonade, but it wasn't until she got online and began engaging with her blogging and social media communities the next day that she really began having a productive dialogue about it.
  3. Steele moved on to describe how Formation and Lemonade functioned as online racial formation, with Beyonce's words and ideas pushing back against stereotypical black cultural tropes, and politics intermingling fluidly with pop culture. She posited that the video and subsequent discourse allows us to bridge a divide between academic and everyday conversations about race.
  4. Steele moved on to discuss sociologists Michael Omi and Howard Winant's theory of racial formation, which has three assumptions: 1) political instability and contestability of race; 2) racial formation as the result of tensions between racial projects at both a micro- and macro-levels; and 3) racial formation as open to the agency of the individual and the organization. She pointed to #2 of these three assumptions as the focus of her talk, with a particular focus on 'microprojects.'
  5. Steele argued that simply categorizing 'macro' projects as public projects and 'micro' projects as private projects is complicated by new media technologies. It also reflects the fact that racial discourse is often private as well as public/political, with many discussions occurring in a sort of virtual barbershop where conversations can occur outside of mainstream society.
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