AGORA Speaker Series: “Emotional Icons: Celebrity, Digital Culture, and Networks of Affect”

April 21, 2017 -
3:00pm to 5:00pm

Since the inception of the star system in the early 20th century, a key function of celebrity culture has been the performance of emotional labor aimed at guiding public feelings. Such labor becomes particularly pronounced in the wake of historical traumas, such as war or natural disaster, or profound social change. In the age of networked media, expectations for this emotional labor have both intensified and diminished. On the one hand, the importance of social media requires that public figures be almost constant and ubiquitous in their public presentation of feelings. On the other hand, social media mean that ordinary people also have platforms for public displays of affect, creating more diffuse circuits of public sentiment. This paper articulates theories of metonymy and networks to offer a rhetorical understanding of the affective work of celebrities in the emoji economy. 

Presented by Claire Sisco King, Vanderbilt University

Location and Address

602 Cathedral of Learning