In this talk I draw on long-term anthropologicalresearch to tell the story of how the ‘anti-woke’ movement came into being – aloose network of alt-media personalities that includes Jordan Peterson, JoeRogan, Bari Weiss and Chris Rufo within its ranks. I discuss four major formativeevents for the movement, namely the first Trump presidency, the Covid-19pandemic, the George Floyd protests, and the Ukraine war. Each event, Isuggest, sheds light on the key causal relations and media practices that have shapedthis controversial space of content creation since 2016), paying special attentionto how the Covid and Ukraine crises split the movement into two rival factions:conspiracists vs. consensualists.
John Postill (PhD, UCL 2000) is ananthropologist currently working at RMIT University, in Melbourne. Hespecialises in the study of media, communication and socio-political change. Todate he has conducted fieldwork in Malaysia, Indonesia, Spain and (online) inthe Anglosphere. He is the author of numerous publications, including TheRise of Nerd Politics (2018, Pluto), and is currently completing a book onthe online culture wars (Routledge) while preparing for fieldwork in Madrid onSpanish humour, a subject he takes very seriously.