Keynote 2015

Julie Wilson and Emily Chivers Yochim

Mothering and Media in Precarious Times

Mothers today are anxious, constantly worrying about and working on their families. They are also constantly online, passing around parenting tips, happy family photos, and new health risks. This talk draws on extensive ethnographic research to show how mothers navigate their increasingly precarious family lives in conjunction with the mamasphere, the digital world of mothering media. This talk argues for a new media ethnography by introducing the concept of affective infrastructures. At once a theory and a method, affective infrastructures help us to see new intersections of digital media and everyday life, as well as the ordinary practices of identity and mundane struggles of mothering through precarity.

Julie Wilson and Emily Yochim are Assistant Professors of Communication Arts at Allegheny College. They are currently working on a book manuscript entitled Nuclear Options: Mothering and Media in Precarious Times based on ethnographic research conducted in post-industrial Rust Belt communities. They also have a book chapter entitled ‘Pinning Happiness: Affect, Social Media, and the Work of Mothering’ forthcoming in the edited collection Cupcakes, Pinterest, Ladyporn: Feminized Popular Culture in the Early 21st Century and an article entitled “Mothering through Precarity: Becoming Mamapreneurial” forthcoming in Cultural Studies. Wilson’s previous work focuses on gender and celebrity culture and has appeared in numerous journals including Cinema Journal, Television and New Media, Cultural Studies, Genders, and Velvet Light Trap. Yochim is author of Skate Life: Reimagining White Masculinity, an award-winning ethnography of skateboarding culture in a post-industrial Midwest town.