Assistant Professor, African Cultural Studies & School of Information
1466 Van Hise
Ph.D. African Diaspora Studies & New Media Studies University of California, Berkeley
M.A. African American Studies University of California, Berkeley
B.A. Anthropology and Philosophy Howard University
I am media anthropologist and digital humanities researcher, jointly-appointed in the School of Information (formerly SLIS) and the Department of African Cultural Studies. I teach courses on the political economy of information, race/class/gender/identity in tech, Africa, and internet practices in developing world contexts. I coordinate the Black Arts + Data Futures group through the Borghesi-Mellon Interdisciplinary Workshop in the Humanities at the UW-Madison Center for Humanities.
My research interests include New Media and innovation in the African Diaspora. I do ethnographic research in Ghana, the U.S., and the Netherlands, examining Ghana’s digital diaspora. As a researcher, developer and professor of information and technology studies, I have produced and designed dozens of new media apps and campaigns with students and collaborators. I worked for 15 years as a reporter, graphics designer, and cultural critic for Knight Ridder, Village Voice Media, and National Geographic.com. I have been active in community organizations in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, and Oakland, CA.
Additional interests: Africana Cultural Studies; New Media and Sound Studies; Philosophy and History of Information and Communications Technology; Diaspora and Transnationalism; Black Studies; Anthropology; Online Education; Civic Technology for the Public Good.
Social Media: @raroyston
“Reterritorializing Twitter: African Moments 2010-2015” with Krystal Strong. #Identity: Twitter and The Politics of Representation. eds. Abigail De Kosnik and Keith Feldman. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2018 (accepted)
“At Home, Online: Affective Exchange and the Diasporic Body in Ghanaian Internet Video” in Migrating the Black Body: The African Diaspora and Visual Culture
. eds. Leigh Raiford and Heike Raphael-Hernandez. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 2017
“Muslims and New Media in West Africa,” review of Muslims and New Media in West Africa: Pathways to God, by Dorothea Schulz. Journal of West African History, Spring 2016
“Hacking Development: The Techno-politics of Entrepreneurship in Ghana” (in progress)
African 405: Africa + The Internet
African 605: Sonic Afro-Modernity: Digitizing Body and Soul in African Life