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Alt Right vs. Anonymous: A Critical Comparison – with Gabriella Coleman
February 6 @ 5:00 pm
Today’s “Alt Right” or “Far Right” is a loose coalition of Internet trolls, White nationalists, men’s rights activists, game enthusiasts, and others. They have become a subject of intense scrutiny for their shrewd use of digital communications to recruit new participants, manipulate the news narrative, and nurture a political movement in support of the Trump presidency and its policies. Some critics compare this movement to one that emerged six years ago: Anonymous—the hacktivist collective that captured news headlines for its computer hacking sprees, vigilante justice operations, and support of social movements like Occupy and the Arab Spring. Coleman argues that these are two very different movements, notwithstanding that both emerge from habits of Internet trolling and transgression. She will compare Anonymous to the Alt Right, honing in on their origins, methods, tactics, and modes of recruitment, highlighting substantial differences and making the broader case for careful historical analysis in media studies work on virtual domains. The very classification of such disparate movements as “Internet activism” fails to capture the dynamics and importance of online tools for political movements today.
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