This project explores the online platform as an environment. Focusing on entrepreneurship platforms in contemporary China, it traces the work of platform administrators to examine how they create material and semiotic environments. While I explore the platform as a global paradigm, I specifically investigate its Chinese cultural, political, and economic implications. In China, digital platforms support a popular view that the country’s low-income population presents an untapped economic potential. Drawing on a qualitative methodology and using failure as a heuristic, I explore the platform as a conceptually and materially captivating environment—both a powerful trope for democratized opportunity and an infrastructure designed to capture an economic potential. How, I ask, do platform environments valorize China’s disenfranchised population? And, what aims, desires, and hopes are built into their infrastructures? How do they mediate social life? How are platforms themselves produced as multimodal narratives? Addressing these issues, the project investigates the narrative production of digital platforms in digital media as a form of media politics aimed at steering popular ambitions and debates about economic opportunity.
Datafication and Uncertainty in Contemporary China
Presented at “Big Data and the Power of Narrative, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark, March 21.
Capture and Captivation: Digital Control and Visual Pleasure in China's Startup Sphere
Presented at the Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia, USA, December 7.
Digital Platforms and Data Ethics in Contemporary China
Presented at “Datapalooza,” University of Virginia, USA, November 9.
Chinese Startup Culture and the Spirit of Creativity
Presented at “Users, Makers, Dreamers: A Workshop on Vernacular Creativity in China and Beyond,” University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, October 5.
China’s Digital Economy and Its Place in Socialist History
Presented at conference “The Digital Economy: Ubercapitalism or Post-Capitalism?,” Centre for Digital Culture, King’s College London, United Kingdom, May 11.
Situating Online Performances of Failure
Presented at StoryLab Research Institute Symposium: “Interpret,” Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom, March 14.
Chinese Digital Media and the “Loser Economy”
Presented at Symposium “Chinese Aspirations and Digital Media in Global Capitalism, Utrecht University, the Netherlands, February 5.
Digital Aspirations: Entrepreneurial Dreams and Economic Policy in a Chinese Entrepreneurship Service Cluster
Pesented at panel “Entrepreneurship: Subjects, Projects, and Institutions,” Annual Conference of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, USA, November 30.
Chinese Mass Entrepreneurship Policy Between Citizens and the Nation-state
Presented at IKSA Graduate Forum "The Many Social Lives of Policy," University of Vienna, Austria, April 28.
Gendered Laughter: Government Censorship and the Politics of Failure
Talk organized by the research group "Situating Free Speech: European Parrhesia in Comparative perspective" at the University of Cambride, Division of Social Anthropology, Cambridge, Uk, May 19.
Accelerated Dreams and Ambitious Butterflies: Digital Aspirations in a Beijing Entrepreneurship Service Cluster
Presented at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Department of Religious Diversity, Göttingen, Germany, November 30.
Below the Threshold: Religions and the Internet in the Contemporary PRC Beyond a Binary Framework of Oppression and Resistance
Presented at the ISMRC Conference "Media, Religion and Culture in a Networked World," Canterbury, UK, August 5.
Internet Professionals and Internet Communities in Contemporary Beijing
Presented at the Center for the Study of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity (民族文化多样性研究中心) at China Central Nationalities University (民族大学), MPI Summer School 2014, Beijing, China, July 10.
Virtual Lives and Creative Ways of Living with Religion
Presented at Doctoral Colloquium at the conference "Internet Research 14.0: Resistance and Appropriation," Association of Internet Researchers, Denver, USA, October, 23.
Artistic Media Production, Religion and Mediations of “the Human” in Contemporary Beijing
Presented at the conference "Religion in the Digital Age II: Mediating 'The Human' in a Globalizing Asia," The Center for Religion and Media at NYU. New York, USA, September 27.