Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2018

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 07/03/2020

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Communication Studies

First Advisor

McLeod, Kembrew

First Committee Member

Durham, Meenakshi

Second Committee Member

Ekdale, Brian

Third Committee Member

Havens, Timothy

Fourth Committee Member

Wanzer-Serrano, Darrel


The purpose of this study was to provide a holistic and historically contextualized approach to the ways that we understand race and identity online. Specifically, I analyze the underlying logics of social network sites—understood as empowerment, influence, and entertainment/reprieve—as they foster automated connectivity. By pulling from José van Dijck’s (2013) understanding of connective media and André Brock’s (2016) Critical Technocultural Discourse Analysis (CTDA), this dissertation examines the functionalities of online connectivity to reveal how social network sites are significantly shaped by racialized and gendered users as well as their resistance strategies online.

Guiding this study are the overall research questions, which asks, how do social network sites, and the logic of connectivity that undergirds them, shape race, resistance, and identities? Secondly, in what ways are racialized users changing the landscape of digital media through long-existing practices of resistance strategies and embodiment? In order to approach these overarching questions, I provide the foundational literatures in which I intervene in chapter one. As a pre-history of social media, chapter two explores the resistance tactics and media interventions that black publics have utilized throughout each major time period in the U.S. Through this analysis, I demonstrate how the creation of a black public was sustained toward a racial sociality and a race public opinion that can be found in reimagined ways online. Through the case study #GrowingUpBlack, chapter three investigates the underlying sensibilities of social network sites— empowerment, influence, and entertainment/reprieve— and their relationship to contemporary race and resistance. In this chapter, I argue for specific ways that racialized resistance shapes and is shaped by the logics of social network sites. Lastly, chapter four breaks apart the notion of a singular approach to racial resistance and connectivity by examining the ways that intersectional resistance circumvents and re-writes social media’s logics. Through focus groups with 20 African-American women, chapter four connects the underlying sensibilities of social network sites alongside intersectional resistance strategies in order to demonstrate the continuities of race and media as well as resistance discourses’ influence on online communication. Toward a Raced Connective Media hopes to make an intervention in the digital media and critical race field by surveying and analyzing media platforms as connective wholes rather than fractured parts regarding the relationship between media, race, and resistance.


Black publics, Black Women, Connective Media, Intersectionality, Resistance, Social Media


xi, 274 pages


Includes bibliographical references.


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Copyright © 2018 Raven S. Maragh

Available for download on Friday, July 03, 2020

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