Rhetoric, Politics, & Culture
Expertise and Activities
Anirban Baishya earned his PhD from the Cinema and Media Studies Division at the University of Southern California, and in January 2022 joins UW Communication Arts from Fordham University, New York, where he was an Assistant Professor in the Communication and Media Studies Department. His research broadly focuses on the intersections between digital media and the public sphere in a global context. He studies how digital media regulates everyday life spaces and how the ensuing “customization” of our participation in public cultures problematizes binary notions such as private/public and individual/collective. The objects he analyzes in his work includes media forms such as selfies, memes and GIFs. His work locates such objects and technologies in various global and local contexts and puts them in conversation with broader social and political shifts. Baishya’s current book project is titled Viral Selves: Selfies and Digital Culture in India which is a study of India’s emerging digital cultures through the technocultural medium of the selfie.
In 2020, he was the recipient of a Social Science Research Council’s Rapid-Response Grant on Covid-19 and the Social Sciences, and as part of that project, he researched the role of online mobilization and the weaponization of hate speech in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
Baishya’s work has been published in the International Journal of Communication, Communication, Culture & Critique, South Asian Popular Culture, Porn Studies and South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies.
- PhD, Cinema and Media Studies, University of Southern California, 2018
- M. Phil., Cinema Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India 2013
- M.A, Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, 2011
- B.A., Political Science, Cotton College, Gauhati University, India, 2006
- Viral Selves: Selfies and Digital Culture in India (Monograph in progress)
- South Asian Porno-cultures (Edited Collection, In-progress)
Special journal issues
- “South Asian Pornographies II,” Porn Studies, (Co-edited), In-Progress.
- “South Asian Pornographies: Vernacular Formations of the Permissible and the Obscene,” (Co-edited), Porn Studies. Vol 7. No. 1, 2020.
- “Small Media and Everyday Life: Digital Media Beyond Big Data,” Spectator (The University of Southern California Journal of Film and Television Criticism), Vol. 39, No. 2, Fall 2019.
- “Subjected to play: Power, Participation and Subjectivity in Gaming and Beyond,” (Co-Edited), Spectator, 38 (1) Spring 2018.
- “The Conquest of the World as Meme: Memetic Visuality and Political Humor in Critiques of the Hindu Right Wing in India,” Media, Culture & Society (January 2021), doi:10.1177/0163443720986039
- “Chronicles of a Meme Foretold: Political Memes as Folk Memory in India,” Forum-piece for special issue forum on Digital South Asia, Communication, Culture & Critique (Forthcoming 2021).
- “Translating Porn Studies: Lessons from the Vernacular,” co-written with Darshana S. Mini. Porn Studies (Special Issue: “South Asian Pornographies: Vernacular Formations of the Permissible and the Obscene”), Porn Studies, Vol. 7, Issue 1, 2020, pp. 1-12
- “Transgressions in Toonland: Savita Bhabhi, Velamma and the Indian Adult Comic” co-written with Darshana S. Mini. Porn Studies (Special Issue: “South Asian Pornographies: Vernacular Formations of the Permissible and the Obscene”), Porn Studies Vol. 7, Issue 1, 2020, pp. 115-131
- “The Bully in the Pulpit: Digital Social Media and Right-wing Populist Technoculture” co-written with Nitin Govil. Communication, Culture & Critique (Special Issue: Media and the Extreme Right), Vol. 11 (2018), pp. 67-84.
- “Restore, Revisit, Re-member: Reinstating the Region in Three Assamese Films” in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, Vol. 40, Issue 3, 2017. pp. 431-446.
- “Pornography of Place: Location, leaks and Obscenity in Indian MMS porn video” in South Asian Popular Culture, Vol.15, Issue1, 2017. pp 57-71.
- “#NaMo: The Political Work of the Selfie in the 2014 Indian General Elections” in International Journal of Communication, Vol. 9, 2015. pp. 1686-1700
- “Trauma, Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction and the Post Human” in Wide Screen, Vol.3, No.1, 2011.
- “What Lurks in the Deep: Memetic Terror and the Blue Whale Challenge in India,” in Chloë Arkenbout, Jack Wilson and Daniel de Zeeuw (eds.) INC Reader #15: Critical Meme Research (Forthcoming 2021).
- “Reimaging the Migrant in the Time of the Pandemic” with Darshana S. Mini, in Rohit Dasgupta, Niharika Banerjea and Paul Boyce (eds.) COVID Assemblages: Queer and Feminist Ethnographies from South Asia. Routledge (Forthcoming 2021)
Awards, honors & fellowships
- SSRC, Rapid-Response Grant on Covid-19 and the Social Sciences, 2020.
- RESTS (Race, Ethnicity, Science, Technology, and Speculation): Mellon Interdisciplinary Seminar, Fordham University, 2020-21.
- UCI Global Fellows Early Career Fellow, 2020.
- Signal Culture Researcher in Residence, 2019.