Meme Studies Research Network
The Meme Studies Research Network is an international and interdisciplinary research network for scholars who study memes. The main goal of the network is to collaboratively establish a meme studies canon, and offer researchers an index of resources that centre memes as their main object of interest.
The research network’s members employ a wide variety of methods in their study of internet memes, such as digital ethnography, autoethnography, practice-based research, social network analysis, archival and historical research.
Methodological Challenges and Questions
The network is organised around an object of study: internet memes. This means that it attracts scholars from different disciplines and methodological backgrounds, which makes speaking across disciplines the key challenge. The rationale for setting up such a network was to increase dialogue and discussion about researching memes in a trans-disciplinary manner. This turns the challenge of trans-disciplinary collaboration into a critical point of reflection for the network, and also a learning opportunity for all members. Two more existential questions which the network grapples with are, whether or not there can be a “meme studies” field, and what this field could potentially look like. These questions have informed our general discussions, but the inception of our meme bulletin project as well. The meme bulletin is a monthly newsletter curated by members exploring different themes through a topical “meme of the month” and various academic texts that reflect the topic. The first issue will be circulated on January 15, 2020.
The network uses Discord, an instant messaging platform, for everyday discussions, announcements and meetings. The meme studies reading list is managed and edited on Google Docs. The mailing list is set up using MailChimp, a marketing platform. The network’s website is maintained on Word Press. Twitter is the main social media account used for public engagement.
Idil Galip, who is a PhD student in sociology at the University of Edinburgh, founded the network.
The network is facilitated by a group of moderators, who are all postgraduate researchers:
- Idil Galip
- Giulia Giorgi
- Madeleine Hunter
- Laura March
- Hester Hockin-Boyers
- Hannah Barton
- Giulia Villanucci