Islamophobia and Twitter: my Research as a Poster, a Video, an Article

“East, West, South or North makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey, a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.”
― Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love

I just realized that a work of mine exists as poster, video, and article.

I am very excited that I can share it with the world in different ways. I am also deeply convinced that the world cares a lot about my work, so please support me here.

Some background: I have been working on Islamophobia on Twitter. I argue that anti-Muslim narratives online are  antagonistic because they frame Muslims as scapegoats and abuse them without engaging them in conversation. They are also emotional because they seek to provoke anger, disgust and fear through disturbing stories and images. I have first explored this topic by collecting tweets with the hashtag #Brexit. I then added new data following the hashtag #chiudiamoiporti (close the ports), launched by Italian politician Matteo Salvini when he prevented a ship rescuing migrants from docking in Italian ports. These hashtags have in common the fact that they provoke anti-migration feelings and – not too surprising – kindle many Islamophobic narratives.

You can learn about this research of mine in many ways:

First, it is a poster. you can see it visually represented:


Some months ago, I was kindly invited by Megan Boler to a workshop at Toronto University organized with Elizabeth Davis called “Affect, propaganda and political imagination.” I have learned a lot from very smart scholars, I had interesting conversation and also spent a dinner playing jenga and discussing race in The Lord of The Rings. The picture is from an artist who did it while we were discussing my work. I am very impressed because it is beautiful, and she was able to pay intense attention to my work in a way that I believe few people ever did. And she was DRAWING in the meantime. Amazing multitasking I will never posses.

They gave me the poster as a present, but it wasn’t foldable and I had no idea how to bring it with me. (“do you travel with your carry-on bag only?” “yes, and a 50×60 poster which will just stay on my lap for seven hours because is beautiful and the person next to me needs to see it constantly”)

Second, my research is a video. Here you can find it:

Giulia Evolvi Islamophobia on Twitter

In theory, I was supposed to go to the AAR meeting in San Diego. Then life happened: I am no longer in a research position and I don’t have $ for travels, I am developing an environmental consciousness and I don’t want to travel too much, AAR is a giant conference where I spend my time in a corner because I’m too overwhelmed and not American enough, plus this year they had a system to check participants with QR codes that for sure would have made me very paranoid. (Maybe they changed the QR codes thing, but still, sort of feeds the impostor syndrome).

Of course, AAR was in San Diego and I wouldn’t have said no to 20 degrees and tacos instead of -2 and harrings (even if I am developing a taste for harrings). But, luckily, I could present via Internet, and this is why I registered the video above. I also did the Q&As via Skype. It was between 3 and 4 in the morning and the day after was a Monday. I am not sure how professional I was, especially considering I was still trying to decide if it was time to go to bed or to wake up, and under my blazer I had a pijama. However, I can now say I presented at a conference in a pijama.

Third, my research is an article. I know, it’s sort of boring, but it’s here open access:

Giulia Evolvi Emotional Politics Islamophobic Tweet

In this way, it is an actually legitimate peer-reviewed article that everybody can read and quote and makes me feel like an adult academic.

I am quite happy that my research exists in various ways in the world, and please feel free to let me know what you think about it (unless you want to criticize me for my chipmunk voice in the video).

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