International Studies Global Media Candidate Talk with Rohit Chopra

Starts 4:30 PM
Monday Feb 4, 2013
Harmon Room, DeWitt Wallace Library

Public Memory, Community, and Global Belonging: Digital Media and the 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks

My presentation focuses on digital media discourses related to the September 26, 2008 terrorist attacks at eleven locations in the city of Mumbai, India, which lasted for three days resulting in the loss of 164 lives and injuries to over 300 people. I argue that digital media discussions about 26/11, as it is known, represent an idiom of political expression in which claims about public memory, community, and global belonging are linked through the theme of terror. Accounts of 26/11 on blogs, key online spaces such as Wikipedia and YouTube, and websites of Indian and foreign media organizations have cumulatively created a network of public memory of the event. This digital memory network can be viewed as a globally dispersed and hybrid archive, composed of content from traditional media organizations, on the one hand, and the views of ordinary users, Mumbai residents, and concerned global citizens, on the other. I suggest that the digital memory network embodies a reflexive and performative model of political community. To remember violence and terror on digital media becomes a way of being the resident of a city, country, and the world. At the same time, bearing witness to the particular historical experience of terror in Mumbai or India becomes a way of mapping cultural similarities and difference with respect to other social groups that may or may not have experienced terror. The nature of digital media also profoundly complicates claims of territorial belonging and the question of whose memories of the event count as legitimate. My analysis of the dynamics of global digital memories of 26/11 reflects an engagement with perspectives in media studies, memory studies, and social theory.

This event is for: Students, Staff and Faculty

Sponsored By: International Studies

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