AAA Annual Meeting 2021
November 18, 2021
Baltimore, United States
Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology & Computing (CASTAC) Invited Lecture with Dr Tamar Shirinian: "A Politics without Authenticity: Thinking through the Pitfalls and Potentialities of ‘Fake’ in Armenia"
In this year's invited lecture, "A Politics without Authenticity: Thinking through the Pitfalls and Potentialities of ‘Fake’ in Armenia", Dr Tamar Shirinian highlights the contradictions that plague the “information age”. Information travels fast and much depends on it but, information is haunted by the possibility of inauthenticity. Information is a critical component of modern political economy and has always been subject to manipulation and inauthenticity. In this age, particularly, “fake news” as a rhetoric has emerged to signal how false information spreads rapidily and with the potential for virality; contaminating other sites of knowledge and with little to trace its origins. The notion of “fake news” contaminates all information • pointing to the possibility that if it exists then all other information is also suspect. “Fake news” as a major topos of information politics has produced a reality in which authenticity is no longer a foundation for the political, and where political positions and decisions are driven • sometimes expressly • by emotion and affect rather than facts. In this talk, I interrogate the emergence of the rhetoric of “fake” as a political signifier in Armenia. Investigating Fakebook profiles (fake social networking pages), the right-wing discourse of NGOs as fakes, as well as information coming from official national and international sources as already suspect and thus fake, I contemplate this new era in which “truth” may no longer be the basis of political action. In this context, however, I show how there might be potentialities of a politics without authenticity.