Drawing from seven years' research with women singers, dancers, emcees, and ritual practitioners in Senegal and beyond, I am interested in the ways in which ethnic traditions, local values, aesthetic practices, and the ritual economy, intersect with the possibility of digital futures. Although their work is often overlooked in conventional conversations about digital invention, African women engage digital technologies--from the hip-hop recording studio, to religious media, to pop videos, and, perhaps most importantly, social media, in ways that contribute to their global social empowerment.

We ask how globally marginalized communities engage and are engaged by digital technologies. As contemporary studies of digital culture show, the global digital media network is structuring new modes of global exchange and relation. This course both outlines these contemporary networks and asks how cultural practitioners in Africa and its diaspora use these technologies to create media worlds of their own, through adaptations, innovations, and purposeful “off-label” uses of these media. 

Our Mission

Currently, we are seeking funding to resource research on global digitalisms in collaboration with young women in Dakar, Senegal. We are particularly interested in questions of how we can create a culture-responsive digital production environment--one that works according to the communicative systems and social and aesthetic values of producers in the Global South.

How we can build out a culture-responsive platform by which African women and girls—and young people throughout the Global South—can be enfranchised in global digital futures on their own terms?
— Ali Colleen Neff, Ph. D., "Digital Empowerment: African Women and Creative Media"