Russia’s Digital Revolution

Russia’s Digital Revolution: Language, New Media, and the (Un)making of Civil Society

Date: 03/19/2013 - 5:15pm

Location: Monroe Hall 124

Russia’s Digital Revolution: Language, New Media, and the (Un)making of Civil Society

Michael S. Gorham, University of Florida.

March 19, 5:15. Monroe Hall, 124.

Russia’s Digital Revolution examines political communication in the age of the internet and new media technologies, considering a wide range of strategies—rhetorical, political, and technological—that have helped shape, for better or for worse, civic culture in Russia today.  New media technologies are inherently neither “democratic” nor “authoritarian.”  Depending on a variety of factors—cultural, political, and technological—they have the capacity to both aid and suppress revolution.  At the same time, Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, social networking, and crowdsourcing sites nearly always begin as alternative spaces and, as such, naturally attract oppositional voices.  In the United States political blogging grew out of a frustration with mainstream television and print media for being (from either left or right) too mainstream.  In Russia, where Vladimir Putin has maintained tight control over print media and broadcast television, the “Runet” has assumed a critical role in rewriting the rules of civil discourse.  How Russian public virtual space comes to be designed, defined, occupied, and contained will have a considerable impact on the political language and the polity itself for years to come.

Michael Gorham is an Associate Professor of Russian at the University of Florida, and Associate Editor of both The Russian Review and Russian Language Journal.  His first book Speaking in Soviet Tongues: Language, Culture, and the Politics of Voice in Revolutionary Russia (Northern Illinois University Press, 2003) received Choice Magazine’s ‘Outstanding Academic Book’ award and the 2004 AATSEEL award for ‘Best Book in Literary and Cultural Studies.’  He has just completed work on his second book, In Newspeak’s Wake: The Politics of Language and Language of Politics and in Late- and Post-Soviet Russia.



Organized by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.  Co-sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.

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