NeMLA 2020:From Hillary C to AOC: Social Media and Women’s Voices in the Public Sphere

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Boosted by Barak Obama’s revolutionary usage of social media in 2008 to mobilize young voters and energize a new party base, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign also sought to make strategic use of social media platforms—as did her opponent’s, with dramatically different results. In 2019, rising political star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been acknowledged as a master of social media for her usage of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram—platforms where her followers number in the millions. For AOC, strategic utilization of social media in a limited congressional district campaign led directly to national prominence and increased presence within traditional print and television media platforms for her policy propositions. In an age of social media stars, influencers, trolls, foreign sabotage and Internet bots, how do women use social media platforms to express ideas, share their voices, demonstrate their values, and perform their identities? Might women, people of color and other oppressed groups respond to hegemonic domination of the 21stcentury public sphere by using social media to, as Nancy Fraser argues, form their own public spheres, or "parallel discursive arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counter-discourses to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests, and needs” (“Rethinking the Public Sphere”)? Do women successfully utilize social media in response to political and/or cultural hegemony in order to create and sustain ideological counterspheres, as Fraser suggests? Might those of us who identify as women present our voices in the discursive spaces offered by social media platforms differently than those who identify as men? This panel invites papers that explore how 21stC women’s social media presences shape, challenge, revolutionize, reinforce or contribute to the hegemonic public sphere(s). Submit abstracts by September 30 at: