Research Thursdays - Book by Chris Robé and Stephen Charbonneau looks at activist media practices in the 21st Century

Book by Chris Robé and Stephen Charbonneau looks at activist media practices in the 21st Century

Thursday, Sep 24, 2020

“InsUrgent Media from the Front: A Media Activism Reader,” by Chris Robé, Professor of Film Studies, and Stephen Charbonneau, Associate Professor of Film Studies, will be released by Indiana University Press on Nov. 3 

In the 1940s, it was 16 mm film. In the 1980s, it was handheld video cameras. Today, it is cell phones and social media. Activists have always found ways to use the media du jour for quick and widespread distribution. “InsUrgent Media from the Front” takes a look at activist media practices in the 21st century and sheds light on what it means to enact change using different media of the past and present.

Chris Robé and Stephen Charbonneau’s edited collection uses the term ‘insUrgent media’ to highlight the ways grassroots media activists challenged and are challenging hegemonic norms like colonialism, patriarchy, imperialism, classism and heteronormativity. Additionally, the term is used to convey the sense of urgency that defines media activism. Unlike slower traditional media, activist media has historically sacrificed aesthetics for immediacy. Consequently, this “run and gun” method of capturing content has shaped the way activist media looks throughout history. 

With chapters focused on indigenous resistance, community media, and the use of media as activism throughout U.S. history, “InsUrgent Media from the Front” emphasizes the wide reach media activism has had over time. Visibility is not enough when it comes to media activism, and the contributors provide examples of how to refocus the field not only to be an activist but to study activism as well. Book available November 3.  To order this book visit: 

Chris  Robé is Professor of Film and Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. He has written two books: “Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture” and “Breaking the Spell: A History of Anarchist Filmmakers, Videotape Guerrillas, and Digital Ninjas.” His newest book project concerns the relationship between video/digital media activism and state repression pertaining to animal rights campaigns, counter-summit protesting, copwatching, and anti-Muslim surveillance.

Stephen Charbonneau is the Graduate Director for the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies and Associate Professor of Film Studies. He is the author of “Projecting Race: Postwar America, Civil Rights, and Documentary Film” and his work on documentary media and participatory cultural formations has been published in Jump Cut, Journal of Popular Film & Television, Framework, Spectator, Journal of Popular Culture, as well as the anthologies The Grierson Effect (BFI), Challenge for Change: Activist Documentary at the National Film Board of Canada (McGill-Queen’s University Press), and I Confess: Constructing the Sexual Self in the Internet Age. He is currently researching the life and work of George C. Stoney.

(Printable Version)