[Air-L] UEL Public Lecture Series: Terri Senft on Teen Sexual Display on the Internet

Theresa Senft tsenft at gmail.com
Mon Mar 1 11:33:48 PST 2010


Hello, friends in London!

I wanted to invite folks to join me next Tuesday at the University of East
London Public Lecture Series, where I am giving a talk about--among other
thing-- half-naked young girls on the internet.

Because it's the sort of conversation that's best had in the presence of
people under the age of 45, I hope students especially come for the lecture
and join in the dialogue afterwards. (I could probably also visit a class or
two briefly to talk, if that¹s of interest to anyone; this is a topic I
never seem to lose interest in...)

Here are some details about the lecture:


³From Personal Property to Speaking Subjects: Youth, Gender, and the Right
to Credit in an Attention  Economy.²

SPEAKER: Dr. Theresa Senft, Senior Lecturer, Media Studies, UEL

Date: Tuesday 9 March 2010          Time: 17:30

Venue: West Building G.02

(next to Oscars) University of East London, Docklands
Transport: Cyprus DLR

Here is  a quick summary:
³From Personal Property to Speaking Subjects:  Youth, Gender, and the Right
to Credit in an Attention  Economy.²

This talk engages with the politics of female sexual  self-display over the
Internet, especially focusing on teens in America and  the U.K. I begin by
discussing  a recent U.S. law suit filed by two  Indiana teens against their
high school principal after he punished them for  posting risqué photos in a
private section of their MySpace accounts. Echoing  current wisdom that
there is never a guarantee of privacy on the Internet, the  American Civil
Liberties Union (representing the girls)  has chosen to  frame their
activities as free-speech acts, arguing that these teens were  expressing
themselves to themselves in two sorts of bedrooms: their  real-life one, and
their online one. In this talk, I  frame the case in  terms of my recent
work  on a phenomenon I call ³micro-celebrity²: a new  way to perform the
self that combines the visual techniques of corporate  branding with the
distribution technologies of the Internet.  I am  particularly interested in
how sexism and ageism converge within  micro-celebrity¹s overwhelming
investment in the so-called Œattention  economies of the Web.¹ This speech
returns to a question I raised in my book  Camgirls: ³Why are women
continually encouraged to express  themselves in media through confession,
celebrity and sexual display, yet  punished with conservative censure and
backlash when their representation  becomes Œtoo much¹ to handle?² 

Dr. Theresa Senft is interested in how the Internet has been changing our
notions of the public, the private and the pornographic in contemporary
society. For her most recent book, Camgirls: Celebrity & Community in the
Age of Social Networks, Terri ran a webcam out of her own home for a year
and charted her experiences. Other books by Terri include History of the
Internet, 1843-Present (co-author) and a special issue of Women &
Performance devoted to sexuality & cyberspace (co-editor.) Terri's work has
been published in The New York Times, she has appeared on National Public
Radio (U.S.), and in the documentary Webcam Girls.


Note: this lecture will be an updated and revised-for-the-UK version of
something I did earlier at Harvard last year.  It will also tangentially
addresses teen ³sexting,² a practice that is providing the foundation for a
moral panic in the U.S. right now. 

The URL for that talk (if you want to read, or assign to students, or
whatever), is: http://tsenft.livejournal.com/405387.html#cutid1

Feel free to contact me with any questions about the lecture, thoughts on
the topic, or (especially) links to other work being done in this area, by
you or anyone else you know. I'm at t.senft at uel.ac.uk

Many thanks!

Dr. Theresa M. Senft
Programme Leader & Senior Lecturer, Media Studies
School of Humanities & Social Sciences
University of East London
Docklands Campus 
4-6 University Way 
London E162RD 
phone: 020 8223 4255


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