Recent Academic Publications:


Digital-Networked Images as Personal Acts of Political Expression: New Categories for Meaning Formation

Kasra, M. (2017). Digital-networked images as personal acts of political expression: New categories for meaning formation. Media and Communication, 5(4), 51–64.

Abstract:  This article examines the growing use of digital-networked images, specifically online self-portraits or “selfies”, as deliberate and personal acts of political expression and the ways in which meaning evolves and expands from their presence on the Internet. To understand the role of digital-networked images as a site for engaging in a personal and connective “visual” action that leads to formation of transient communities, the author analyzes the nude self-portrait of the young Egyptian woman Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, which during the Egyptian uprisings in 2011 drew attention across social media. As an object of analysis this image is a prime example of the use of digital-networked images in temporally intentional distribution, and as an instance of political enactment unique to this era. This article also explains the concept of participatory narratives as an ongoing process of meaning formation in the digital-networked image, shaped by the fluidity of the multiple and immediate textual narratives, visual derivatives, re-appropriation, and remixes contributed by other interested viewers. The online circulation of digital-networked images in fact culminates in a flow of ever-changing and overarching narratives, broadening the contextual scope around which images are traditionally viewed.




Selfies, Dance, and Performance: A Multimedia and Multidisciplinary Collaboration

Brooks Mata, K., & Kasra, M. (2017). Selfies, Dance, and Performance: A Multimedia and Multidisciplinary Collaboration. Journal of Dance Education, 17(3), 115–123.

Abstract: This article discusses a pedagogical and creative approach to designing a mixed-media, live dance performance. By involving undergraduate students in the process, the authors were able to examine the contemporary phenomenon of selfies and the effect of the “online self” and “mediated self” on dance performance. The performance combined the work of dance and digital media design faculty members, self-reflective contributions from students, a music composer, and a costume designer. Even the audience participated, as the students’ selfies and images of audience members taken by the dancers early in the performance were then also projected onto a media screen. Some of the choreographed movements were developed by student dancers following journaling and small group explorations of self and identity as seen in the selfies. Postperformance interviews revealed the value of complicating more traditional dance-making practices through role interdependence and of teaching the creative integration of multimedia in performance design.


Vigilantism, public shaming, and social media hegemony: The role of digital-networked images in humiliation and sociopolitical control

Kasra, M. (2017). Vigilantism, public shaming, and social media hegemony: The role of digital-networked images in humiliation and sociopolitical control. The Communication Review, 20(3), 172–188.

Abstract: Digital-networked images of torture, abuse, and humiliation are increasingly used by nonstate agents to form online communities based upon prejudice and bigotry and/or to propagate violent vigilante justice. This article discusses the circulation, impact, and permanence of digital-networked images that perpetuate nonstate hegemony and function as mechanisms for exercising power, disciplinary force, and social control reminiscent of Foucauldian theories of power-knowledge and governmentality.