Responsible DS + AI Speaker Series: Brooke Foucault Welles, Northeastern University

Brooke Foucault Welles

Brooke Foucault Welles, associate professor in communication studies at Northeastern University, will present "#HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice."

Abstract: The proliferation of social media has given rise to widespread study and speculation about the impact of digital technologies on politics, activism, and social change. Key among these debates is the role social media play in shaping the contemporary public sphere, and by proxy, our democracy. Maligned by some as “slacktivism,” I will argue social media platforms such as Twitter create unique opportunities for traditionally excluded voices to challenge the terms of public debate. Using the evidence from Twitter hashtag networks such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, I will demonstrate how hashtag activism complements other forms of activism to change the terms of mainstream public debates about race and gender justice in America.   

Brooke Foucault Welles is an associate professor and interim chair of the department of Communication Studies, core faculty of the Network Science Institute,  and director of the Communication Media and Marginalization (CoMM) Lab at Northeastern University. Combining the methods of network science with theories from the social sciences, Foucault Welles studies power and amplification in online communication networks, with particular emphasis on how these networks mitigate and exacerbate marginalization. Her work is interdisciplinary and collaborative, with co-authors from computer science, political science, digital humanities, design, and public health. She is the co-author of #HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Networked Communication. 

Selected Publications
Jackson, S. J., Bailey, M., & Welles, B. F. (2020). #HashtagActivism: Networks of race and gender justice. MIT Press.

Jackson, S., & Welles, B. F. (2016). #Ferguson Is Everywhere: Initiators in Emerging Counterpublic Networks. Information, Communication & Society, 19 (3), 397-418. 

Questions? Contact Janet Eke or Kanyao Han

The Responsible Data Science and AI Speaker Series discusses topics such as equity, fairness, biases, ethics, and privacy. The presentations and discussions take place on Fridays, 9-10 am Central Time, on Zoom. This series is organized by Associate Professor Jana Diesner and supported by the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS) and the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

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This event is sponsored by Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship