In 2016 as a Duke University Continuing Studies graduate student I embarked on a research project on #GeekGirls that charted the transformative history and varied uses of the hashtag across social platforms from 2009 to present day. Duke Story Lab awarded me a graduate fellowship for my work in fandom and supported my travel to continue the research project. My #GeekGirls project spanned several semesters and eventually led me to Seattle for GeekGirlCon 2017, where I participated as a fan, spread the word about the community-based project, and was asked (on site!) to join a panel about Geek Mythology and talk about West African trickster figure, Eshu. I’m always ready to share what I’ve learned!
Check out a couple of Tweets about this work below. I tagged many of the key women influencers in the history of female fandom and #GeekGirls and they helped spread the word about the project! You may recognize Jill Pantozzi, former editor of The Mary Sue and current managing editor at i09/Gizmodo.
— Story Lab at Duke (@dukestorylab) January 24, 2018
— Tracy Deonn Walker (@tracydeonn) October 7, 2017
— Jill Pantozzi ♿ (@JillPantozzi) October 7, 2017
The Duke Story Lab/FHI invitation to my talk in February read as follows:
Tracy Walker will discuss the history of the #geekgirls hashtag and broader social movement. The hashtag was first used on Twitter in 2009 and has since operated as a ping in networked fandom, a call to action for engagement, and a connector between digital communities and material spaces. Tracy’s research began in 2016 and included a trip to Seattle for GeekGirlCon 2017, a convention born from the digital movement. Her talk will draw on her background in communication studies, new media, and performance studies as she examines the #geekgirls hashtag as a digital anthropologist, considering selfies as rituals and hashtag campaigns as artifacts of this new, digital identity group.