Abstract: The digital aesthetics of activism

My research will be focused on the digital aestheticizing of activism in the 21st century and how activist groups are strategizing and capitalizing on the 24/7 news cycle to promote their causes. Activism movements in the past have often exploited the media to publicize their beliefs during a time when social media and self-promotion was much less common. The Black Panthers relied on theatrical self-presentation, creating an image of strength and intimidation in order to be seen as worthy of coverage. AIDS activists carefully calculated what types of protests and demonstrations would garner media attention and used their knowledge to draw crowds of reporters. All the movements took place during a time when a reliance on formal news institutions was necessary. In this digital age, with tools like Twitter and Instagram, activists can create their own images and promote their causes on their own terms. How do activists use the digital realm to spread their messages and through which routes do they do so?

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Salt Marsh Response to Sea Level Rise

Salt marshes are an important part of barrier systems. The ability of salt marshes to keep pace with sea level rise is dependent on balances between rates of sediment accretion and subsidence, erosion and stabilization of slopes, as well as biomass and subsequent decomposition of organic matter. Broad scale processes such as change in sea level also affect the amount of incoming sediment and the ability of the salt marsh to incorporate sediment and continue to grow. As sea level continues to rise globally and coastal communities and ecosystems combat the adverse affects of the increasingly intruding tide, we wish to discover if salt marshes can keep pace with sea level rise. In 2017, multiples storms, including Hurricane Irma, made landfall on the eastern coasts of the United States. In my research, I will look at sediment from salt marshes in the geographic locations where Irma made landfall. Specifically, I seek to address the following scientific question: What thickness of sediment can be deposited on salt marshes by hurricane-related flooding, and how are salt marshes able to incorporate that sediment into their shallow stratigraphy?

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