Research Update 5/12

Lab Note #3
May 12, 2014
Hello All!

It's been awhile, but we have been working! We recently distilled some preliminary findings of our 2013-2014 field study of contemporary student activism in college. As a result, we have submitted two research proposals to the 2014 Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) conference, which will be held in Washington D.C. in November.

ASHE is a scholarly society with 2,000 members dedicated to higher education as a field of study. It is committed to diversity in its programs and membership, and has enjoyed extraordinary success in involving graduate students in Association activities. Each year, ASHE hosts its annual meeting of higher education scholars and practitioners to share innovative work in the field.

Our two proposals, which are detailed below, hope to advance a rebirth of conversation and study of student activism: 

TITLE: Toward a genre theory of contemporary student organizing: An exploration of alternative and activist new media perspectives

ABSTRACT:  Alternative and activist new media provide new ways and tools for contemporary college students to participate and engage in activism and social justice organizing. Relying on Lievrouw’s book on the subject, this paper explores mobile- and web-based media activist practices of millennial college-goers. Further, popular and scholarly conversations on college students and millennials are engaged to firmly situate a more pressing argument for 1) broadening understandings of student use of social media, and 2) reframing student organizing within the digitally-mediated contexts and experiences of  contemporary college and university life. Implications for future research and social justice organizing in college are discussed.

TITLE: New media, culture jamming, and the college student reclamation of social justice in contemporary hip-hop

ABSTRACT:  Lievrouw’s concept of culture jamming refers media in which images, sounds, and text are appropriated from popular culture for points of social and cultural critique, political commentary, and similar analyses. Using this framework, in tandem with Petchauer’s archetype of the hip-hop collegian, I present an ethnographic account of millennial college student organizing in the South. More specifically, I discuss hip-hop collegians (re)appropriation of contemporary hip-hop, as popular culture, in recombinant ways with new media, creating unique organizing and mobilizing practices. Implications for higher education research and social justice education in college are discussed.


Without your support, these two proposals could not have been written. We look forward to updating you later this summer once we hear if our proposals have been accepted. Also, stay tuned for our forthcoming report this fall as well as more interview footage with the outstanding student organizers, the Dream Defenders.


In solidarity,


Charles H.F. Davis III
Principal Investigator & Executive Director
Activist Millennials Project
+activistmillennials.com

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