Media, Activism and Politics

This roundtable considers how meme, zine, and monetary circulation can be activated, deployed, and altogether reimagined for international, witch-worthy intents.

First, Barbara Dynda considers how the figure of the witch and spiritual practices were used in the anarcha-feminist zine Wiedźma to mobilize women from rural areas and to to oppose Poland’s sexist, Catholic, and homophobic culture of the early 1990s.

Similarly, Shana MacDonald and Brianna I. Wiens explore the ways in which Western feminists have reclaimed the symbol and power of the witch from misogynists through the production of memes. They offer a critical analysis of the figure of the witch in feminist digital meme activism, using a small data approach to highlight the emotions and affects produced by these circulations.

Lastly, Gabriel Menotti brings attention to the months leading to the United States 2016 presidential election, during which 4chan website users acted as if they were engaged in collective rituals to bend reality. In response, he explores how chaos magick’s operational principles – based on the value of raw belief and the production of images intended for mass circulation – allow for efficient means of fabulation and freestyle mythmaking.



Barbara Dynda, "Wiedźma [The Witch] - anarchafeminist zine"

A doctoral candidate at the Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw. Graduate from the College of Inter-Area Individual Studies In the Humanities and Social Sciences. Currently working on three-year research grant Grassroots Feminism in the Transformation and Post-transformation Poland. An Analysis of Discourses, Practices and Identities Represented in the Polish Feminist Zines After 1989. Academic interests: Polish feminist history, feminist and queer theories.

Shana MacDonald and Brianna I. Wiens, "'maybe it's basic and trendy, or maybe it's a global feminist awakening'" Witch Memes as Feminist Shadow Resistance"

Dr. Shana MacDonald (she/her) is Associate Professor in Communication Arts at the University of Waterloo and current president of the Film Studies Association of Canada. Her interdisciplinary research examines intersectional feminism within social and digital media, popular culture, cinema, performance, and public art. Dr. MacDonald is co-director of the qcollaborative (qLab), a feminist design lab.

Brianna I. Wiens (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in Communication and Culture at York University and co-director of the qcollaborative, a feminist design lab. Her SSHRC-funded research draws on her mixed-race queer activist-scholar experience to develop small-data feminist methodologies, considering the possibilities and constraints of feminist praxes for digital activisms.

Gabriel Menotti, "Chaos magick and the esoteric roots of /pol/’s mythmaking machine"

Gabriel Menotti is Assistant Professor at Queen's University Film & Media Department and works as an independent curator. His most recent books are Practices of Projection: Histories & Technologies (edited w/ Virginia Crisp) and Movie Circuits: Curatorial Approaches to Cinema Technology. Menotti also coordinates the Besides the Screen network.