In Conversation with Uygar Başpehlivan

Show notes

Almost every major political event over the past decade has been "memed". This episode delves into the dynamic world of internet memes and their significance for the study of International Relations. In his paper "Cucktales: Race, Sex, and Enjoyment in The Reactionary Memescape", that has been awarded the EISA´s Best Graduate Paper 2023, Uygar Başpehlivan, PhD candidate at the University of Bristol, takes us on a journey into the world of internet memes. In conversation with host Polly Pallister-Wilkins (University of Amsterdam), he explains the ways in which memes are integral to the political space by being simultaneously used by political subjects and being themselves political. Introducing his concept of the memescape, Uygar Başpehlivan contends that the creation and consumption of memes shapes political relations, including resistance, reaction, capture, and excess. Envisioning memes as architects of a spatial realm, the memescape thus captures the agency of political subjects, as well as aesthetic objects, discourses, affects, and technological infrastructures that converge, interact, and transform across time and space. Inspired by Deleuze and Guattari´s concepts, Uygar Başpehlivan talks us through his notion of memes as "smooth spaces" that challenge the traditional "striated space" of the international, thereby offering unique political possibilities. In his paper, Uygar Başpehlivan further dissects how the reactionary memescape gives rise to racist and misogynistic politics through the infamous meme, "the cuck". Tune in to learn about meme´s role in knowledge production, and their specific relevance for the study of International Relations.

Uygar Başpehlivan

Baspehlivanm Uygar (2023): Theorising the memescape: The spatial politics of Internet memes. Review of International Studies, pp. 1-23. doi:10.1017/S0260210523000049

Deleuze, Gilles & Guattari, Félix (1980): A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.

Halberstam. Judith J. (2011): The Queer Art of Failure. Durham and London, Duke University Press.

Weber, Cynthia (1994): ‘Good Girls, Bad Girls and Little Girls: Male Paranoia in Robert Keohane’s Critique of Feminist International Relations’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 23 (2), pp. 337–49

Josh Hutcherson Whistle Meme Edit (2023)

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