A Chinese Comic Artist Inspired by Animal Farm

In late 2011, the Chinese comic artist Crazy Crab came to my attention when he kicked off the Dark Glasses Portrait project. As an internet meme in support of the blind activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng, the Dark Glasses Portrait encouraged netizens to post pictures of themselves wearing sunglasses. The meme »

Challenging tropes of Native American representation, hashtag by hashtag

Earlier this year, the Washington Redsk*ns trademarks have been canceled by the US Patent Office on the grounds of being “disparaging to Native Americans.”  “Redskins,” defined a racial slur in Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, has long been associated with this major football team and used publicly in a wide variety of »

Introducing Our New Editor: Dorothy Santos

In the past year, The Civic Beat has published some great articles and developed a small but dedicated readership curious about this emerging space of social change memes around the world.  We’ve been thrilled to see some of our recent articles–like a long interview with Vietmeme about Vietnam’s internet, and »

The Honeymoon’s Over: Reflecting on Internet Utopianism and the Arts

A couple weeks ago, Ben Valentine and I had a chance to speak at the Yerba Buena Center’s Dissident Futures Art and Ideas Festival alongside arts/tech writer and researcher Dorothy Santos.  Our topic was, simply, “The Honeymoon’s Over—Arts and Culture Criticism in the Age of Networked Power”, a look at utopian »

But What About Second Breakfast? A Look at Sweden’s Fika Memes

The British drink tea, the French drink coffee, and the Spaniards eat merienda.  And the Swedes?  They have fika, an essential snack between meals. Remember that scene in Lord of the Rings when the hobbits ask about second breakfast? Think of fika as second breakfast, second lunch and third lunch all fit together in one »

#WeAreOne: Creative Images for Peace and Unity After the Westgate Mall Attacks

A version of this article originally appeared in Tech Post Uganda. It has received a few addenda tailored for The Civic Beat’s Reader audience. What happened in Nairobi’s Westgate Mall didn’t just stay on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube but rather left scars deeply ingrained in hearts the world over. What started »

Thank you, TEDGlobal 2013. Let’s move it forward.

I had a terrific week this past week in Edinburgh as a speaker for TEDGlobal 2013. Imagine my surprise a few months ago when TED reached out and asked me to speak on the topic of Chinese internet culture. I was in Uganda at the time and pushed back, saying »

The Chickens and Goats of Uganda’s Internet

Editor’s Note: This is a reblog of the Civic Beat co-founder An Xiao Mina’s post on Ethnography Matters. In my first week in Uganda, I was scheduled to give a lecture at a local university, discussing memes and civic life in China. I used a modified version of a talk I’d given »

Locusts and Pandas and Bears… 哦麦 (o mai)!

 HONG KONG and SHENZHEN– Those of us following China have noticed the increasing tensions between Hong Kong and mainlanders.  More and more mainland women have been crossing the border into Hong Kong to have babies, where their children can expect to receive better healthcare and a coveted Hong Kong passport, »