Media @ McGill

Gabriella Coleman | Anonymous: From the Offensive Internet to Human Rights Activism


colemanThis event is a speaker series event in collaboration with the McGill Faculty of Law Centre for
Intellectual Property
 Policy, the McGill Anthropology Department and Media@McGill. It takes place Thursday, March 3, 5:30 pm at the Department of Art History and Communication Studies, room Arts W-215. (map)


Over the last three years, Anonymous went from Internet pranking and trolling to a narrowly focused protest movement against the Church of Scientology to one that has now emerged in more general registers to protest censorship, attracting many geeks and hackers to its ranks, some who have entered the arena of politics for the first time. In this talk I will examine the transformations and tactics of the digitally-based protest movement‹Anonymous‹ to examine various political and ethical facets of their operations, including their rhizomatic social organization, the ways they enact an ethics around their denial of service attacks, and the ways in which they are rooted in and parlay liberal commitments such as anonymity and free speech. In so doing, I will also visit a range of theorists entertaining the cultural politics of anonymity, spectacle, the commodification of dissent, and trolling in order to grasp the political and cultural significance of Anonymous.


Gabriella Coleman is Assistant Professor, NYU, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication and a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study.