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Graduate Student Brown Bag: Amita Vempati

Tue, Nov 10, 12:00 pm
GISB 3015

Amita Vempati

"Nationalism and the Politics of Youtube Comments: A Cyber-Ethnography of the Music Videos of Afzalsho Shodiev"

My talk will focus on the YouTube videos of the Tajik musician Afzalsho Shodiev. Though Shodiev uses his music to profess extremely nationalist views in Tajiki, his videos have garnered comments from viewers in Uzbekistan, Russia, and Iran. The ensuing conversations express competing views on history, nationality, international relations, and even civic responsibility. Through this analysis, we will discuss how the Internet has radically and irrevocably changed the nature of public space and civil discourse. Whereas nationalist performances have been previously considered in local contexts with local audiences, the Internet offers the chance for local performances to not only be viewed but also commented on by Internet-users all around the world. Similarly, Shodiev’s videos will not only be considered for their nationalist content but the regionally and internationally significant reactions they incite.