Review of Weblogistan paper at the Feminist Review special issue launch

On Wednesday I attended the launch of the special Feminist Review issue ‘Media Transformations’ at the University of Sussex. Sima Shakshari presented her article, about the diasporic Iranian blog communitity, that is the ‘Weblogistan’, which is published in this issue. The article, ‘Weblogistan goes to war: representational practices, gendered soldiers and neoliberal entrepreneurship in diaspora’, is available online till the end of February. The event started with the screening of the CBS short documentary Blogger’s War about Nikahang Kowsar, a political cartoonist and blogger who fled from Iran to Canada. Sima talked about her methodological journey (this article was based on her doctoral research) and it was interesting how she turned to study blogs and bloggers after observing that mainstream media were overemphasising the revolutionalry and oppositional role of Iranian bloggers.The blogs in Sima’s work are framed though the concept of transnational governmentality, as part of an international public sphere, with emphasis on gender and sexuality. After Sima’s talk, there was an interesting discussion, chaired by Gholam Khiabany, Lizzie Thynne and Nadje Al-Ali, around the Arab spring (and  who is included or excluded from such a definition), but also around network technologies and feminism.

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