1st Edition

The Capitol Riots Digital Media, Disinformation, and Democracy Under Attack

    222 Pages 10 Color & 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 10 Color & 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 10 Color & 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Capitol Riots maps out the events of the January 6, 2021 insurrectionary riots at the United States Capitol building, providing context for understanding the contributing factors and ongoing implications of the uprising.

    This definitive text explores the rise of populism, disinformation, conspiracy theories, the alt-right, and white supremacy during the lead-up to and planning of the Stop the Steal campaign, as well as the complex interplay during the riots of political performances, costumes, objectives, communications, digital media, datafication, race, gender, and—ultimately—power. Assembling raw data from social media, selfie photos and videos, and mainstream journalism, the authors develop a timeline and data visualizations representing the events. They delve into the complex, openly shared narratives, motivations, and actions of people on the ground that day who violated the symbolic center of U.S. democracy. An analysis of visual data reveals an affective outpouring of mutually amplifying expressions of frustration, fear, hate, anger, and anomie that correspond to similar logics and counter-logics in the polarized and chaotic contemporary media environment that have only been intensified by COVID-19 lockdowns, conspiracy theories, and a call to action at the Capitol from the outgoing POTUS and his inner circle.

    The book will appeal to both a general audience of those curious about how and why the Capitol riots unfolded and to students and scholars of communications, political science, media studies, sociology, education, surveillance studies, digital humanities, gender studies, critical whiteness studies, and datafication studies. It will also find an audience within computer science and technology studies through its approach to big data, data visualization, AI, algorithms, data tracking, and other data sciences.

    Part 1: Social, Political, Economic, and Epistemic Contexts of the Capitol Riots

    1. Introduction: The Cascading Crises Propelling the Capitol Riots

    Sandra Jeppesen, Michael Hoechsmann and iowyth hezel ulthiin

    2. Against Apartheid Pedagogy in the Age of White Supremacy

    Henry Giroux

    3. Mediatized Visions of a Nation on Fire: Negotiating Truth Under Shifting Epistemic Conditions

    Michael Hoechsmann

    Part 2: Visualizing the Events of January 6, 2021

    4. Mapping the Events of the Capitol Riots in Time and Space

    iowyth hezel ulthiin, Miranda McKee and David VanDyke

    5. Coded Data: Tracking Discursive Trends in the January 6 Parler Data

    David VanDyke

    6. Photographing the Spectacle: Curating a Crisis

    Miranda McKee

    Part 3: Race, Class, Gender, Crime, and Affect at the Riots and Beyond

    7. Awakening the Beast at the Capitol Riots: Affect, Cruelty, and QAnon

    iowyth hezel ulthiin

    8. Performance Crime and Self-Surveillant Subjects in the Capitol Riots

    Sandra Jeppesen

    9. Tailgaters and Militants: Unpacking Masculinities at the Capital Riots

    Michael Hoechsmann and David VanDyke

    10. Alt-Right QAMoms, Mobilizers, Militias, and Martyrs: The Women of the Capitol Riots

    iowyth hezel ulthiin and Sandra Jeppesen

    11. Race, Riots, and the Political Imaginary

    Chenjerai Kumanyika


    Sandra Jeppesen is Professor in Media, Film, and Communications at Lakehead University Orillia, Canada; activist-researcher; and co-founder of the Media Action Research Group.

    Michael Hoechsmann is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University Orillia, Canada. His research focuses on digital and media literacies and cultural studies.

    iowyth hezel ulthiin is a PhD Student in Communications and Culture at X University, Canada. Their research centers around embodiment, affect, outsider communities, and hopeful imaginaries engaged through praxis.

    David VanDyke is a Data Scientist and Graduate Student in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University Orillia, Canada. He is interested in data visualization and the use of large datasets to improve education and digital media literacy.

    Miranda McKee is a Visual Arts Educator and Curator and a Graduate Student in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University Orillia, Canada. Her exhibitions and public programmes examine the role of photography within the context of contemporary visual culture.