#AoIR2023 Travel Scholarship Recipient – Silas Udenze

by | Oct 5, 2023 | Awards, Conferences | 0 comments

Each year a small portion of AoIR conference fees go toward several travel scholarships for junior scholars to attend the conference. We want to recognize our scholarship recipients and share with you a little bit about them and their research interests.

Who are you? 
My name is Silas Udenze, a second-year doctoral holder at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

Where are you from?
I am from Enugu State, Nigeria.

What is your current area of study?
My current area of study is digital activism through the methodological lens of digital ethnography. My work precisely explores Nigeria`s EndSARS Movement.


Describe the research you will present at AoIR2023.
Well, tentatively, the title of my work is Assessing Nigeria’s EndSARS Movement through the lens of memory. As I mentioned earlier, I try to understand how young people use social media, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram to construct memory of the EndSARS Movement in Nigeria from 2020 until its Anniversaries in 2021, 2022, and 2023. One of the key findings in my work is the discovery of bottled-up implicit memory in the participants. What is implicit memory in this context? Implicit memories are the socio-economic challenges that these young people have to confront in their daily lives—for instance, unemployment, endemic corruption, galloping inflation, police brutality, among others. Also, I found that the EndSARS is what I referred to as an “umbrella” or conduit pipe for other demands. Furthermore, the ephemeral media function of social media (24-hour Story on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) were deployed from some critical perspectives. I will talk more about this in my presentation. Firstly, I would say that my work, coming from the Global South, contributes to the literature on digital activism, social movement, and memory studies, which is dominated by Western studies. Also, from the theoretical angle of memory, I have been able to expand the meaning and understanding of memory. In my opinion, memories are not just happenings or things we remember but phenomena that dwell with us for a long time and daily, as in the case of the bottled-up implicit memory.

Have you presented at AoIR in the past? If so, what was your experience? If #AoIR2023 in Philadelphia is your first AoIR conference, what made you choose this conference? What do you expect from it?
This is my first time at the AoIR conference. I would say I choose to attend the AoIR conference because, in my opinion, it is a must-attend for any online digital methods researcher, especially for cub and early career researchers such as me. Of course, I was also attracted to the AoIR conference due to its commitment to promoting transdisciplinary research in the field of Internet studies. For instance, my current research is highly cross-disciplinary- encompassing a dose of media/communication, anthropology, memory study, and political communication. I anticipate an excellent experience at this year´s conference. I expect to receive intriguing feedback that will help me improve my work. And, of course, I look forward to meeting people and establishing lasting networks. Lest I forget, the AoIR Guide on Ethical Online Research has been very useful to my research.