An Xiao Mina

presents

Memes to Movements:
How the World's Most Viral Media Is Changing Social Protest and Power

in conversation with ETHAN ZUCKERMAN

This event includes a book signing

Date

Feb
13
Wednesday
February 13, 2019
7:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes technologist and digital media scholar AN XIAO MINA for a discussion of her new book, Memes to Movements: How the World's Most Viral Media Is Changing Social Protest and Power. She will be joined in conversation by ETHAN ZUCKERMAN, director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT.

About Memes to Movements

Memes are the street art of the social web. Using social media-driven movements as her guide, An Xiao Mina unpacks the mechanics of memes and how they operate to reinforce, amplify, and shape today's politics. She finds that the "silly" stuff of meme culture—the photo remixes, the selfies, the YouTube songs, and the pun-tastic hashtags—are fundamentally intertwined with how we find and affirm one another, direct attention to human rights and social justice issues, build narratives, and make culture. Mina finds parallels, for example, between a photo of Black Lives Matter protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, raising their hands in a gesture of resistance and one from eight thousand miles away, in Hong Kong, of Umbrella Movement activists raising yellow umbrellas as they fight for voting rights. She shows how a viral video of then presidential nominee Donald Trump laid the groundwork for pink pussyhats, a meme come to life as the widely recognized symbol for the international Women's March.

Crucially, Mina reveals how, in parts of the world where public dissent is downright dangerous, memes can belie contentious political opinions that would incur drastic consequences if expressed outright. Activists in China evade censorship by critiquing their government with grass mud horse pictures online. Meanwhile, governments and hate groups are also beginning to utilize memes to spread propaganda, xenophobia, and misinformation. Botnets and state-sponsored agents spread them to confuse and distract internet communities. On the long, winding road from innocuous cat photos, internet memes have become a central practice for political contention and civic engagement.

Memes to Movements unveils the transformative power of memes, for better and for worse. At a time when our movements are growing more complex and open-ended—when governments are learning to wield the internet as effectively as protestors—Mina brings a fresh and sharply innovative take to the media discourse.

Praise

Memes to Movements is essential reading. An Xiao Mina is one of the best people writing about memes today and unpacks with great urgency, understanding, empathy, and wisdom all the reasons why memes matter, how integral they are to the ways we communicate, and how they shape and change society. Memes are the essential unit of cultural exchange, and An’s work demonstrates why we should be taking them seriously.” —Jonny Sun, author and illustrator of everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too

“Weaving together global cases of meme culture, activism, and misinformation, An Xiao Mina brilliantly reveals how internet culture, social movements, and political agendas are intimately entwined. Memes to Movements is essential for anyone invested in activism or geopolitics. By analyzing the evolution of digital social and political activity, this book offers a critical intervention at a moment when the public is anxious about technology and political life.” —danah boyd, author of It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

"Bridging scholarly research and street activism, this analysis shows how memes are so much more than an internet phenomenon . . . [An] incisive and illuminating study.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

An Xiao Mina
An Xiao Mina

An Xiao Mina

An Xiao Mina is an American technologist, researcher, and artist. She served as a contributing editor for the book Ai Weiwei: Spatial Matters, and her own work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the US and around the world. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Wired, the New Inquiry, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Al Jazeera English, and Hyperallergic. A 2016–17 research fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and product director at the technology company Meedan, her home is wherever the Wi-Fi is.

Photo Credit: Marcus F. Benigno

Ethan Zuckerman
Ethan Zuckerman

Ethan Zuckerman

Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and an Associate Professor of the Practice at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on the use of media as a tool for social change, the role of technology in international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists. He is the author of Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection. He is also the co-founder of global blogging community Global Voices, and works with social change nonprofit organizations around the world. Zuckerman is an alumnus of the Berkman Center at Harvard, Geekcorps, and Tripod.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.

While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.

Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:

  • Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
  • Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
  • Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.

Ordering a signed book by phone:

  • Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
  • If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.

FAQ:

Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.

Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!

Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.

I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.

More questions? Give us a call!

Purchase the Book
Featured event books will be for sale at the event. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
General Info
(617) 661-1515
info@harvard.com

Media Inquiries
mediainquiries@harvard.com

Accessibility Inquiries
access@harvard.com

Our Frequent Buyer Card

Members of our Frequent Buyer Program receive benefits at Harvard Book Store and harvard.com. Sign up for free!

Learn More »

Subscribe

Author event updates +
book recommendations.
In your inbox, once a week.

Learn More »

Shipping & Delivery

Shipping rates
and options, locally
and throughout
the U.S.

Learn More »