Diving into Faculty Scholarship: Dr. Elizabeth Losh

Our faculty at William & Mary are making great contributions to academia with their research. In our recent blog series, we interview faculty with recent publications for insight into their scholarship.

Candice Benjes-Small, Head of Research and librarian to Film and Media Studies, spoke to Professor Liz Losh, about her recently published book, “Selfie democracy: The new digital politics of disruption and insurrection.”

In 2-3 sentences, describe your scholarship to someone unfamiliar with the field.
Digital devices seem to connect us more directly to our political leaders, but we need to examine how fantasies of direct digital democracy can undermine representative government. Barack Obama and Donald Trump are often seen as political opposites, but they both used digital media to foster populism and cults of personality. In many ways reactions to the tech-savvy messages of Obama led directly to the appeal of Donald Trump, as white working class voters rejected calls for a new era of robots and algorithms.

What was the most exciting/interesting part of this project for you?
Interviewing digital strategists for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump

Who might be interested in reading this book?
Anyone interested in politics and digital culture today. Topics include online polarization, fake news on social media, the regulation of the tech industry, and ways to facilitate more citizen participation using technology.

How did W&M Libraries help support your scholarship?
Access to special collections (the Gates papers on drone programs was important for writing the book), book launches, conference co-sponsorships, Digital humanities partnerships, writing retreats, etc.

Check out Selfie Democracy from W&M Libraries!

*W&M faculty and staff who wish to be part of this series should complete the form available at https://guides.libraries.wm.edu/pubpromotion