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Racism, Sexism and Gaming - Cruel Optimism: The Problem with Meritocratic Media

Sexism and racism are serious problems in digital culture, especially in the gaming community, where the cultural backlash against “social justice warriors" originated. A 2014 study by the Pew Research Center reported that 26% of young women have reported being stalked online, and 25% reported being sexually harassed, while 51% of African American internet users and 54% of Hispanic users experienced online harassment, compared to 34% of white users.

In this lecture, subtitled "Cruel Optimism: The Problem with Meritocratic Media," feminist scholar Lisa Nakamura ’87 will argue that call-out culture by women of color in the gaming community is a vital form of unpaid content moderation that benefits all internet users.

Lisa Nakamura is Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor of American Cultures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the coordinator of the Digital Studies Program at the University of Michigan and a former co-facilitator of FemTechNet, a network of feminist scholars, teachers, artists, and activists who work on technology.  She has been researching racism, sexism, the internet, and gaming since 1995, and her books and open-access shorter pieces are available on her website.  Her new monograph in process is about the history, practices, and politics of women of color in digital culture. Workers Without Bodies: Race, Gender, and Digital Labor is under contract with the University of Minnesota Press as part of its Difference, Incorporated series. 

The Eddings Lecture is named for fantasy-fiction author and philanthropist David Eddings ’54.

Friday, September 15, 2017 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Vollum College Center, Vollum lecture hall
3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

Event Type



Faculty, Students, Alumni, Open to the Public



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