Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 12:00pm
Luce Hall, Room 203
34 Hillhouse Avenue
“From online shopping to the Milk Tea Movement, digital connection is reshaping everyday life and politics in Southeast Asia. While existing scholarship has focused on urban places, rural people are also adopting and adapting new technologies, raising questions about the patterns and significance of the Internet beyond the city. This talk brings together agrarian studies and critical data studies to advance the concept of the digital village, a networked social space in which online practices emerge from existing agrarian relations to reconfigure the strategies of economic survival, the landscapes of home, and the tactics of politics. Drawing on ethnographic research in Myanmar, I show how agrarian relations shape patterns of digital connection and how farmers, migrants, and grassroots activists incorporate Facebook into daily efforts to secure livelihoods, support communities, and mobilize in struggles over land. This analysis yields two key insights with broader implications for scholars of Southeast Asia: first, digital geographies are embedded in rural relations; second, agrarian questions increasingly play out online. To illustrate these dynamics, I draw on new research with Dr. Courtney Wittekind to examine speculation and scamming in Myanmar’s online land markets.”
Dr. Hilary Faxon investigates environment, development and technology in Southeast Asia. She is currently working on her first book, ‘Surviving the State: Struggles for Land and Democracy in Myanmar,’which provides an intimate ethnography of agrarian and political change during Myanmar’s decade of military democracy, and a second project that incorporates grounded perspectives from Southeast Asia into theorizations of development in the digital age. She is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Social Science at the University of Montana, on leave this year as a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Copenhagen. She holds masters and bachelors degrees in Environmental Studies from Yale.
This event is part of the CSEAS Brown Bag Seminar series.