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Guest Lecture

Elizabeth Losh: Affect and Digital Pedagogy

How can we use mobile platforms pedagogically? Elizabeth Losh, author of books on digital rhetoric and on the politics of MOOCs, discusses pedagogical uses of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other mobile platforms.

As instructors, how can we meaningfully engage with exploring questions of affect online? After all, in practicing pedagogy, we offend and comfort, we worry that we will be disliked, and we manage the rhythms of performance from hilarity and solemnity. Yet we tell students to maintain neutral dispositions as scholars and writers. This talk discusses various pedagogical uses of mobile platforms as a venue for students to document, explore, analyze, and harness their emotional digital discourses. It presents innovative close to real-time exercises that use Snapchat, Vine, Yik Yak, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr for educational purposes. It also looks at selfies and gifs as vehicles for education and observes how hashtag syllabi represent a way to respond to powerful feelings about contemporary traumatic events (police killings, shootings motivated by racism or homophobia, etc.).
BIO

Elizabeth Losh is an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at William and Mary with a specialization in New Media Ecologies.  Before coming to William and Mary, she directed the Culture, Art, and Technology Program at the University of California, San Diego.  She is a core member and former co-facilitator of the feminist technology collective FemTechNet, which offers a Distributed Open Collaborative Course, blogger for Digital Media and Learning Central, and part of the international organizing team of The Selfie Course.

She is the is the author of The War on Learning: Gaining Ground in the Digital University (MIT Press, 2014) and Virtualpolitik: An Electronic History of Government Media-Making in a Time of War, Scandal, Disaster, Miscommunication, and Mistakes (MIT Press, 2009). She is the co-author of the comic book textbook Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2013; second edition, 2017) with Jonathan Alexander and editor of the forthcoming edited collection MOOCs and Their Afterlives: Experiments in Scale and Access in Higher Education (University of Chicago, 2017).

In addition to recent work on selfies and hashtag activism, she has also written a number of frequently cited essays about communities that produce, consume, and circulate online video, videogames, digital photographs, text postings, and programming code. The diverse range of subject matter analyzed in her scholarship has included coming out videos on YouTube, videogame fan films created by immigrants, combat footage from soldiers in Iraq shot on mobile devices, video evidence created for social media sites by protesters on the Mavi Marmara, remix videos from the Arab Spring, the use of Twitter and Facebook by Indian activists working for women’s rights after the Delhi rape case, and the use of Instagram by anti-government activists in Ukraine.  Much of this body of work concerns the legitimation of political institutions through visual evidence, representations of war and violence in global news, and discourses about human rights.  This work has appeared in edited collections from MIT Press, Routledge, University of Chicago, Minnesota, Oxford, Continuum, and many other presses.