Performances and Performatives within Digital Feminist Activism

“Performances and Performatives within Digital Feminist Activism”

Moderators: Michelle MacArthur and Shana MacDonald

Inspired by the conference theme of “Circles of Conversation,” our seminar examines digital feminist activism as both performative and theatrical: performative in that it can offer, “a process, a praxis, an episteme, a mode of transmission, an accomplishment, and a means of intervening in the world” (Taylor 15), and theatrical in that it may borrow the conventions of live theatre including the creation of character and plot, the invocation of an audience, and the collective labour of multiple collaborators.  We locate feminist activist movements such as  #MeToo, #YesAllWomen, and #BlackGirlMagic as fostering counterpublics, or communities that enable “exchanges…distinct from authority” that “have a critical relation to power” (Warner 56). We seek to discuss how digital feminist activism uses performative and theatrical conventions to counter the individualizing forces of postfeminist neoliberalism while foregrounding the types of systemic change so greatly needed, but often overlooked, in this climate.  Issues for discussion include (but are not limited to): digital feminist activism, hashtag movements, feminist performances on YouTube and social media platforms, trolling and/or troll-slaying, intersectional and intergenerational feminist disruptions, meme cultures, theatres and performances of affective economies in online spaces, anti-misogynist and anti-racist responses to mediated misogyny, doxxing, and alt-right online practices.

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