I hope everyone is keeping well as best as you can.
I am delighted to share a CfP for a one-day virtual Symposium "TikTok and
Social Movements", hosted by TikTok Cultures Research Network and supported
by the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University.
Attached as.pdf and in plain text below. Please feel free to circulate
among interested parties. I look forward to seeing you at the Symposium!
Thank you in advance
*Call for Papers: TikTok and Social Movements Symposium (20 September 2021)*
The recent growing popularity of TikTok has transformed the cultures and
practices of social movements online worldwide. Despite several concerns
towards the app, regarding weak security (Chae, 2020; Dziedzic, 2020),
moral panics incited by malicious content on TikTok (Purwaningsih, 2018)
and some countries’ (temporary) ban on the platform (e.g. Indonesia,
Pakistan, India), TikTok has rapidly grown as the “hottest app of 2020” in
the world (Brigham, 2020). Its functionality (e.g. short-video, voiceover,
meme template, background music, duet, hashtag) and unique genres (e.g.
dance, comedy, social media challenge) have expanded existing social media
cultures and enabled users to engage with other users, social issues, and
even misinformation and online toxicity with ease and fun.
As part of such cultural moves, TikTok users establish their vernacular
cultures and find their meaningful use of the platform by leading or
participating in various types of movements for global awareness, social
change, and civic politics. This includes Young TikTok users’ climate
activism (Hautea et al., 2021); Growing anti-racist movements, such as the
continuation of “Black Lives Matter” on TikTok (Janfaza, 2020; Richardson,
2020); and emerging hashtag streams like #StopAsianHate in response to
increasing violence against Asians in the pandemic (Hanson, 2021).
The affordances of TikTok provide room for creativity with music and
filters powered by AI technologies, which facilitates the formulation of
identity politics and cultures. Recent examples include Young Indian
women’s lip-syncing to Bollywood songs against the caste system
(Subramanian, 2021); LGBTQI+ users’ use of various filters to advocate for
diversity (Simpson & Semaan, 2021); Young users’ meme cultures (Zeng &
Abidin, 2021) as consciousness building work (Anderson & Keehn, 2020;
Literat & Kligler-Vilenchik, 2019); Older generations’ collaboration with
younger generations (Hood, 2020). However, social movements on TikTok are
not always specifically targeted towards social justice, but may often also
advocate for specific beliefs that mirror global politics, such as
Anti-vaccine movements and distribution of misinformation (Basch et al.,
2021); Far-right movements (Weimann & Masri, 2020).
Focusing on the newly emerging cultures on TikTok, scholars in Media
Studies, Communication Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology also have begun
to develop “TikTok Studies”, looking for instance at emergent meme cultures
on TikTok (Zeng & Abidin, 2021; Zeng et al., 2020; Zulli & Zulli, 2020),
TikTokers as new types of internet celebrities (Abidin, 2021), users’ music
practices (Kaye et al., 2021), the emergence of new teenage pop culture (De
Leyn et al., 2021), online learning on TikTok (Li et al., 2021; Literat,
2021), novel methodologies for TikTok (Schellewald, 2021), and the newly
emerging geopolitics around the app (Gray, 2021).
In response to this expansion of scholarship on TikTok and alongside the
TikTok Cultures Research Network’s ethos to cultivate diversity and equity
in academic scholarship, we will be holding a one-day online Symposium (on
Zoom) to showcase emergent research on the potentials, promises, pitfalls,
and parameters of such social movements on TikTok. The Symposium seeks to
provide a meaningful opportunity to reflect on the evolving cultures and
practices around the civic and social movements on TikTok, wherein various
actors on the platform across the globe advocate for social justice and
specific values, develop grassroots networks and resources, and engage with
others. We invite submissions on themes that include, but are not limited
• Politics, digital circulation, and/or economies of movements on TikTok
• Online activism, campaigns, and protest on TikTok
• Intersections of sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, and more on TikTok
• Emerging TikTok practices and communities for advocacy
• Far-right, or alt-right movements on TikTok
• Roles and affordances of the platform technologies in mobilizing movements
• Surveillance of TikTok movements
• Consequences and pitfalls of TikTok movements
HDRs, ECRs (up to 5 years post-PhD + career interruptions), and scholars
in/or from the Global South are strongly encouraged to apply. A selection
of papers will also be considered for inclusion in a Special Issue
tentatively entitled “TikTok and Social Movements” that will be published
in a top-ranked peer-reviewed journal in the field of Media Studies,
Internet Studies, and Communication Studies.
For consideration in this Symposium, please submit abstracts (up to 250
words) on previously unpublished papers and a short bio (up to 100 words)
to TikTok Cultures Research Network ([log in to unmask]).
03 September 2021 – Abstracts and biographies due
08 September 2021 – Notifications of acceptance
20 September 2021 – TikTok and Social Movements Symposium, tentatively
We look forward to receiving your submissions! Please contact TikTok
Cultures Research Network ([log in to unmask]) with any questions
about this event.
This Symposium is the fourth event organized by the TikTok Cultures
Research Network, an Asia Pacific-based Network dedicated to understanding
and developing qualitative and cultural approaches to studying the impact
of TikTok on society, founded by A/Prof Crystal Abidin and supported by a
network of Founding Members in October 2020. This event is supported by the
Centre for Culture and Technology, and financed by Strategic Investment
funding from the Faculty of Humanities at Curtin University.
TikTok and Social Movements team,
Dr Jin Lee, A/Prof Crystal Abidin, and Dr Bondy Kaye
Jin Lee, PhD
Research Fellow, Internet Studies, Curtin University
Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite