We know that despite ongoing digital divides, Black people have always been digital innovators. The key question this course will explore is how Black cultures and technologies connect during the last 25 years of online life? We will take up this question with a focus on how Black people have used digital technologies to build community, plan social action and advocacy, and simply live their lives everyday.
We will look at spaces like BlackPlanet, AIM, MySpace, blogs, OkayPlayer, Vine, Twitter and more. We'll explore how memes and GIFs have shaped a Black digital folklore. We will examine how people used digital tools in important movements and moments, from Ferguson protests and the broader #BlackLivesMatter movement, to how we stayed connected to each other during the pandemic with Club Quarantine. Finally, we will look at how people bring creative ways of using generative AI tools.
Some of the topics we'll explore during this course include early online life, call-and-response, digital migration, diasporic connections, and how people build individual and collective identities through online interaction.