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tgiFHI: Negar Mottahedeh, "Electric Voice: Tactility and Tacticality in Revolutionary Iran"


Negar Mottahedeh

Please join the Franklin Humanities Institute for its Friday morning series, tgiFHI! tgiFHI gives Duke faculty in the humanities, interpretative social sciences and arts the opportunity to present their current research to their departmental (and interdepartmental) colleagues, students, and other interlocutors in their fields. Breakfast served at 9 am! Masks required. Negar Mottahedeh teaches media studies in the Program in Literature at Duke University. Her research on film, social media, and social movements in the Middle East has been published by Stanford University Press, Syracuse University Press, Duke University Press and in WIRED magazine,The Hill,, The Observer and The Wall Street Journal. She holds a PhD in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society from the University of Minnesota and a BA in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College. "ELECTRIC VOICE: TACTILITY AND TACTICALITY IN REVOLUTIONARY IRAN" The economic boycott of Nokia phones by Iranian protestors in the summer of 2009 marks one historical instance of their vanguardist tactics in relation the economies of a global medium. The boycott was an early tactical measure that was directly linked to the tactility and sensorial closeness of lightweight digital devices as the people attempted to reclaim their democratic rights and civil liberties in Iran after a fraudulent election. Though largely dismissed at the time, the Nokia boycott had the potential to draw the attention of a watchful global collective towards the huge collection of data underway -- data that would be used to advance machine learning in years that followed. Right there, in the electrifying rage of that moment's digital collectivity and expansive freedom, lay the evolutionary beginnings of an algorithmic logic that would come to strangle the electric voice by bolstering online platforms for maximum capital gain. The presentation considers the transformation of global media in relation to the voices of a people in revolt. RSVP to attend this in-person event: