Symbolic Dimensions of Mediated Activism in Inter-Asia

, 8:30am –
Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

A symposium presented by the Social Science Research Council
Co-sponsored by PARGC of the Annenberg School for Communication and Department of Sociology of the School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania


Symbolic Dimensions of Mediated Activism in Inter-Asia
is one of many workshop discussions organized as part of the SSRC's Transregional Virtual Research Institute (TVRI) on "Media, Activism, and the New Political in InterAsia. Directed by Guobin Yang, this daylong workshop explored, through comparative and historical discussions, the empirical, theoretical, and methodological issues in the analysis of the production, circulation, and impact of icons and symbols of protest and opposition in inter-Asia (China, India, and MENA). Our goal is to understand the discursive and symbolic connections and interactions of mediated activism in inter-Asia. In popular imagination, incidents of dissent and popular protest are often remembered for some critical moments with great symbolic value – the storming of the Bastille, the tank man in Tiananmen Square, the death of Neda Agha-Soltan in Iran. How are they preserved, passed down and absorbed into the repertoires of contention? How are new political symbols created and disseminated? What is the role of social media? Under what conditions do local and national political symbols become trans-local and trans-national? How do global media spectacles impinge on regional and local mobilization? These are some of the questions explored in this conference.

Panel One: Visual narratives and corporeal symbols
Radha S. Hegde (New York University)
Wazhmah Osman (Temple University)
Marwan Kraidy (University of Pennsylvania)

Panel Two: Conceptual vocabularies and historical comparisons
Steven Schrag (University of Pennsylvania)
Guobin Yang (University of Pennsylvania) and Min Jiang (UNC-Charlotte)

Panel Three: Protest parks and digital geographies
Payal Arora (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Annemarie Iddins (University of Michigan)
Elaine Yuan (UI-Chicago)

Panel Four: Everyday practices and the new political
Joe F. Khalil (Northwestern University in Qatar)
Min Jiang (UNC Charlotte) and Guobin Yang (University of Pennsylvania)
Aswin Punathambekar (University of Michigan)