Apryl Williams to Keynote for the Global Digital Intimacies Conference

June 27 + 28 | A hybrid conference convened at the University of Amsterdam.

Digitization is transforming intimate practices around the globe. The expansive reach of digital connectivity is reorganizing public/private, global/local boundaries, and pushing beyond dominant Western understandings of intimacy. Digital platforms and mobile apps—Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp, Tinder, Tantan, Blued, and Chaturbate—have rapidly become central to intimacy. These platforms and apps enable and allow for the traveling of new forms of self-expression and identity construction, including LGTBQAI+ cultures and identifications across the globe, as well as new types of social connections and attachments. Such connections interact in complex ways with conventional understandings of sex, love and desire, as well as of friendship, kinship, community, nationhood, partnership and collegiality.

While the digital is becoming intricately entangled with every social activity, these platforms and apps are characterized by distinct material characteristics within technological, geopolitical contexts. Economically speaking, social networks, live streaming platforms, and chat and dating apps constitute markets, connecting end-users, content producers, advertisers, data intermediaries, venture capitalists, and other third parties. Powered by large-scale infrastructures, they bring about the datafication and commodification of intimacy. Simultaneously, these techno-commercial assemblages cannot be separated from the affective exchanges and emotional experiences that constitute the immaterial content of digital interactions and relations.

In the light of these transformations, the Global Digital Intimacies conference aims to gather together scholars from around the world to investigate digital intimacy in all its varieties.

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