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Making a Killing: On Race, Ritual, and (Re)Membering in Digital Culture

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This paper investigates cultural, social, and technological issues created by the increasingly widespread circulation of digital records documenting the deaths of black Americans in the United States. This research takes as its foundation questions about ritual, embodiment, memorialization, and oblivion in digital spaces. Further, it examines the interplay between the permanence of the digital sphere and the international human rights concept of the “right to be forgotten,” paying particular attention to black and brown bodies as records and as evidence. Methodologically, the work engages critical race theory, performance studies, archival studies, and digital culture studies, asking how existing technologies reflect the wider social world offline, how they create new cultural interactions, and how those new interactions reshape the real (non-virtual) world.


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Dr. Tonia Sutherland

Dr. Tonia Sutherland is assistant professor in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama. Global in scope, Sutherland’s research focuses on entanglements of technology and culture. Recently, Sutherland’s work has investigated the relationships between 20th-century lynching records and 21st-century digital cultures of racialized violence. Sutherland has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh’s iSchool.

Published Online: 2017-4-28

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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