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Selfies are often dismissed as vain attempts at self-promotion, yet nearly every candidate in the 2016 presidential election has stopped to take them with their supporters. This discussion—featuring interdisciplinary researcher David A. Banks and journalist and author Melissa Gira Grant—centers on how the selfie took on a new identity through dissemination over social networks and moved into the political mainstream.


David A. Banks is an interdisciplinary researcher, organizing committee member for Theorizing the Web, and an editor of The Society Pages' technology and society site Cyborgology. His work has been featured in Real Life, The New Inquiry, Tikkun Magazine, The Baffler, and McSweeney's. David’s work focuses on the intersections of digital networks, urban form, and structures of power. He holds a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a BA in Urban Studies from New College of Florida.

Melissa Gira Grant is a journalist and author, covering sexual politics and human rights. She's a contributing writer for Pacific Standard, and her reporting and commentary have appeared in The Nation, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, VICE, Wired, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and Dissent, among other publications. Her latest book is Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work. She's also a visiting scholar at The Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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TOP IMAGE: Various photographers, [Selfies with presidential candidates], 2015-16, International Center of Photography.