In the new book #Identity: Hashtagging Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Nation
(University of Michigan Press, 2019), Abigail De Kosnik
and Keith Feldman
bring together a broad array of chapters that dive into multiple perspectives on social media engagement, especially around hashtag activism and the ways that individuals think about and interact with others via Twitter in regard to social movements and political involvement. As the authors note, “#identity is among the first scholarly books to address the positive and negative effects of Twitter on our contemporary world.” This text came out of The Color of New Media working group at the University of California at Berkeley and the contributors come from a variety of academic backgrounds and disciplines, making this a particularly interdisciplinary approach to considering and understanding a wide variety of social movements, social engagement, political discourse, and active use of hashtagging and Twitter. The chapters include examinations of the global use of Twitter in India and Africa; the rise of and then subsequent response/backlash to black Twitter; and the way that Twitter has been used to target minoritarian groups who have established connections and communities via Twitter and social media. This is a fascinating and diverse book, bringing together different voices, studies, and analysis, all examining how Twitter and #hashtagging has grown up, evolved, and essentially provided a platform for political rhetoric, engagement, and also silencing. #identity will appeal to scholars in many different disciplines including sociology, political science, media studies, gender and women’s studies, Queer studies, postcolonial studies, African-American Studies, American Studies, global studies, and more.
This book is available open access here
Lilly J. Goren is Professor of Political Science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI.