Pleasure, Danger, and The Long History of (Social) Media: A Symposium

Description: Join the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies for an exciting two-day symposium where researchers across disciplines will come together to share ideas and works in progress on the topic of media’s limits and possibilities, from girlhood and fan communities to joy, death, and resistance online. 

Date: Thursday, April 20 and Friday, April 21, 2023

Location: Danforth University Center in the Goldberg Formal Lounge


Thursday, April 20, 2023

4:00 pm - Symposium Opening Keynote Conversation with Professor Wendy Hui Kyong Chun

Moderated by Reem Hilu, Assistant Professor, Film and Media Studies

Reception follows

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun is Simon Fraser University’s Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media in the School of Communication and Director of the Digital Democracies Institute--a group of diverse scholars and stakeholders from around the world who collaborate across disciplines, schools, industry, and public sectors to research and create vibrant democratic technologies and cultures. She has studied both Systems Design Engineering and English Literature, which she combines and mutates in her research on digital media. She is the author many books, including: Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics (MIT, 2006), Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (MIT 2011), Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media (MIT 2016), and Discriminating Data: Correlation, Neighborhoods, and the New Politics of Recognition (2021, MIT Press). She has been Professor and Chair of the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, where she worked for almost two decades and is currently a Visiting Professor. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and has also held fellowships from: the Guggenheim, ACLS, American Academy of Berlin, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.



Friday, April 21, 2023

10:00 am - Presentations

Join us for presentations on the effects of social media in pre-teen and teen girls from the psychological perspective. Learn more about what is broadly known about girls' social media use, recent findings from scholars here at Wash U, and plans for upcoming projects. After, please join our speakers, three leading experts in the topic of social media on mental health, for breakfast and an open conversation about the benefits and risks associated with social media in today's young girls.


“Girlhood in The Age of Social Media”  

Alison Tuck, MA

Renee Thompson (Associate Professor, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences Washington University in St. Louis)

“Discussing Social Media and Mental Health in Preteen Girls"

Laura Hennefield (PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Child & Adolescent Division)
Alison Tuck, MA
Renee Thompson (Associate Professor, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis)


1:00 pm - Panel: “The Pleasures and Pains of Sustaining Fan Communities – From Early Film to TikTok”

Diana Anselmo (Assistant Professor in Critical Studies, California State University, Long Beach) - “The Love and the Wound: Female Film Fandom Then and Now”

Rukmini Pande (Associate Professor in Literary and Communication Studies, O.P Jindal Global University, India) – “'A sense of beleaguered exceptionalism': Tracking Media Fandom’s Confrontations with Race/ism” 

Nicholas Sammond (Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, University of Toronto) - “'Yes, That’s Exactly It, That’s Me!': Letters, Queer and Women’s Comix and the Making of Community”



3:00 pm - Concluding Roundtable: “Black Joy, Black Death, Black Love: Making Sense of Pleasure and Danger Online”

A Conversation with Dr. Brooklyne Gipson (Assistant Professor, Department of Communication at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Kishonna Gray-Denson (AssociateProfessor, Writing, Rhetoric, Digital Studies and African/African-American Studies, University of Kentucky); and Raven Maragh-Lloyd (Assistant Professor, Department of African and African American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis)



Sponsors: The Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and co-sponsored by the Program in Film and Media Studies, Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies, the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, and the College of Arts and Sciences.