Anatomy of Disinformation (Academic, small-scale ecosystem style) A Long, long Thread. 1/
I have mostly been away from Twitter this week b/c personal/family/work stuff including looming work deadlines, end of semester teaching/meetings/etc., and now I am managing not just childcare, but eldercare, so I literally am living the Gen-X sandwich life. 2/
I am having to write this thread while still dealing w/ all this b/c apparently the way to stir up the premodern pot is to somehow announce that I am “bullying” or “harassing” someone when there is no evidence at all for it. 3/
So this thread is a dissection of how digital disinformation campaigns happen and also what it’s like for me, as an academic, to be the focus of disinformation in relation to white supremacists/fascists outside in the larger networks involved in the US and also w/in academia. 4/
This is @ the nuances of specific academic field ecosystems & how that works online. This is also about digital literacy & actually understanding that academics, particularly white ones, seem unwilling to stop & critically ask some questions 5/
about why racist/gendered stereotypes continue to be the go-to explanation for some of this disinformation campaigns and why they believe that rather than to actually do some good digital literacy practices like check for evidence, etc. 6/
Academics are not immune to disinformation campaigns. White academics must consider how to research evidence, evaluate their sources, and do what we ask our students to do in relation to digital literacy before they go w/ the racist/gendered stereotypes as the explanation. 7/
I am and have been for several years a target of the white supremacist/fascists both in the wider world and within my field. Yes, medieval studies has a huge white supremacy/fascist problem. 8/
In fact, there is a group (100ish) who hang out in an open social media space w/ known white supremacist who calls Milo my best buddy, wrote for Breitbart, interviewed J. Kessler after Charlottesville (on the anniversary in fact) on podcasts. Read here 9/:
It’s pretty impossible not to call that pretty entwined with the white supremacist/fascist US machinery that has been so front and center of our politics for the last 5 years. I have called them the “alt-medieval” in publication 10/:
One person who is part of the “alt-medieval” & a digital harasser which I have outlined the early moves of this in this Society of Classical Studies newsletter (he has done way more now) is the person who was outed as “Gay Girl from Damascus” 11/….
I mention that since apparently this all started with some idea of “unmasking” someone in early modern who has written exactly to explain what is going on here 12/:…
As Sydnee has asked people not to take this further, I am respecting her wishes though I will point out the people who were attempting this “unmask” were white women. They seem to be angry that it did not have traction & the premodern BIPOC scholars did not follow them. 13/
So let’s talk about Disinformation. What is the disinformation about me in relation to the white supremacists/fascists in medieval studies & publicly. Milo used a 13,000 word hit piece about me in 2018 to try to reboot his media empire. [Middle Rages, google it] 14/
The gist of that goes back to what my medieval studies chief harasser at the U of Chicago did in round 1 in 2017 [discussed in the article "What's with Knights and Nazis." The alt-medieval disinformation line about me follows some of these tenets. 15/
1. I have never published 2. I am a bully & harasser 3. I am actually a white supremacist. It very much follows a version of what Ahmed writes about “naming the problem & becoming the problem” & what happens to BIWOC when they do this but w/ a stochastic violence scale-up 16/
Point 1. “I have never published anything”—this was a disinformation point that circulated publicly & in academia amongst medievalists. Apparently, medievalists or academics cannot google. The sign that I did not “publish anything” is that I do not post my c.v. 17/
If U know how the far right doxxes & goes after people (read Zoe Quinn’s Crash Override or Femtechnet) then you do not post a c.v. so that these far-right swarms come for you, your info, & your collaborators. But yes, you can find what I have published by doing a search. 18/
Point 2. I am a “bully and harasser.” This is a classic racist/gendered tactic that has been discussed regularly here. If WOC say, let’s be antifascist & work on antiracism, critique white women suddenly they are called “bullies and harassers.” 19/
You can read Mikki Kendall’s book here for a whole discussion of this that started online w/ #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen in 2013 20/:…
This is a regularly happens in my life especially w/ white women. I say nothing, do nothing, respond not at all (the advice that senior folk give me) but I am still roped into some “issue” and called a “bully” or “harasser” even when it has nothing to do w/ me. 21/
Point 3. “She is a white supremacist.” I am a regular target of violent white supremacists. But apparently this does not matter b/c I must be a white supremacist even though these folks hang out w/ ppl who say Milo is her best friend, podcast violent white supremacists. 22/
So we have come to this point because of Disinformation issues. I want folks to read this and understand the 3Ds of Disinformation: Detect, Document, and Debunk. @BostonJoan's piece 23/:…
OK. I need to add a second thread to this, so coming back soon. 24/
Unfortunately we are going to have to do this b/c the disinformation about me in this case is not going away & apparently M*stress Sn*w has now intersected w/ the “alt-medieval” folks which means this will mushroom & I will have to deal with potential security issues. 25/
I am doing this as a form of 3. “Pre-Bunking”. I am the “wedge issue” in this disinfo. campaign b/c “In order for a lie to take hold in public discussion, audiences usually have to encounter it numerous times.” As I have said the alt-medieval have been at this since 2017. 26/
So M*stress Sn*w is using me as “wedge issue” & upholding the white supremacist disinformation. In this instance, b/c M*stress Sn*w seems to have now intersected w/ the alt-medieval, 27/
we have reached a stage where I cannot ignore it & it is affected others who have are public about antiracism in medieval studies since this usually triggers some potential violent targeting. It’s been a week, and M*stress Sn*w seems to want to continue to fuel this fire. 28/
“Media manipulators & disinformation agents are not as numerous as once thought. However, manipulators are having an outsized impact on the news media b/c they employ a diverse set of tactics & do whatever it takes to keep their campaign alive.” 29/
Disinformation: I am attacking M*stress Sn*w, “bullying and harassing” her, and am a “white supremacist.” 30/
Document: In this instance, I have not even said anything. I have not tweeted, responded, said a thing about this on here. But apparently M*stress Sn*w decided that I was “harassing” her even when there is no evidence at all & everyone can find that by looking at my TL. 31/
Also, let's debunk more disinformation. I have not "reported her tweets" (she can ask Twitter, though I doubt they will tell her) & "called up people's employees." The medieval white supremacists targeting me can't show evidence that I have done this b/c there is no evidence. 32/
Debunk:There are no “receipts” anywhere. But apparently you should go ahead & believe the disinformation b/c it’s easier than doing the digital literacy work to check or wonder why this terminology & what it says @ how much racialized/gendered stereotypes are easier to repeat.33/
As she seems to be happy to share screen shots, there is no evidence of me doing this & erasing either b/c someone would have screen shot it. But I am the “harasser” on here even though I have not tweeted, said, responded to a thing. 34/
“She is a white supremacist.” I expect by now by watching our politics for the last 4 years, we’ve seen the moves to this particular play. It’s the same move as the “antifascists are the violent ones, not the white supremacists w/ guns” etc. 35/
I hope this “Pre-Bunk” is enough & this will stop, b/c the intersection of this ARVO (no D in this since I had not said anything to her or accused her of anything before she waved all this disinformation) w/ the alt-medieval means issues w/ my security. Alt-med talking here 36/:
People can disagree w/ me, critique me & also ask for accountability, people can also dislike me. I can also disagree w/ others, critique & ask for accountability, & also dislike other people. I can also try to make amends, work on accountability, fix my mistakes, etc. 37/
But this is none of that. If she is happy to use me as a weapon to stoke some digital misinformation fire, what this does is just put me & others in harm’s way. Medieval is an academic ecosystem where we have a built-in white supremacist/fascist supporting group. 38/
The Disinformation that they use & that you repeat, mainstream, & wave around has consequences & already stochastic violent ones in this field. 39/
We tell students that digital literacy requires that they ask if they trust their online information source. No, I do not trust her as a reliable source of information b/c in regards to me, I have “documented(ing) a pattern of malicious behavior.” 40/
As for the premodern ecosystem, you have to ask why the BIPOC scholars who work on CRT & antiracism did not jump on this “unmasking” & run w/ it. And not like anyone checked w/ #RaceBeforeRace but our work is @ CRT & we have had white scholars present at our events. 41/ FIN.

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More from @dorothyk98

19 Apr
#MedievalTwitter #ShakeRace #RaceB4Race This is a long thread that addresses Safety & Secret FB Groups: There are two separate things happening that Abby Ang has conflated as one thing. The secret FB group is separate from the scholarly activist org. Medievalists of Color.
2/ This is made clear in the Constitution. The secret FB group is there for different BIPOC scholars in medieval studies as a safe space to share safety information, safety resources, address potential violence or other harms targeting various group members;
3/it includes sensitive personal information in the group. In fact, the group often has multiple messages about potential fascist security issues at medieval studies conferences to warn other potential vulnerable group members.Moderators sponsor members; It is not open to anyone.
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27 Nov 19
#MedievalTwitter h/t to @DanielleGAllor for reminding me of the critical medieval studies bibliography on rape culture. Let's look at the titles of these texts to make clear the utter disingenuous/libelous and/or badly researched comments of @Real_HistoryGuy et. al. 1/
@DanielleGAllor @Real_HistoryGuy #MedievalTwitter We can begin w/ Kathryn Gradval's 1991 book Ravishing Maidens: Writing Rape in Medieval French Lit. and Law. Hmmm, so are you saying Kathryn Gradval's title is also an indication that "she wants to ravish maidens". 🤔
@DanielleGAllor @Real_HistoryGuy #MedievalTwitter Then we have Suzanne Edwards 2015 book The Afterlives of Rape in Medieval English Literature. Which is on sale at the Palgrave sale for $9.99.
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6 Nov 19
#MedievalTwitter @KristenCarella So I am going to do this thread to directly address issues that have come up in the last several days. So bear w/ me folks, it is going to be long. 1/
#MedievalTwitter It has been announced that ISXX has appointed a new director. However, a number of us who have asked for the org to address its racism, its toxic masculinity, its sexual predator problem, are not seeing this appointment as anything but tokenism. 2/
#MedievalTwitter @KristenCarella was involved in a set of exchanges on Twitter in relation to several medievalists, a few who were non-binary and BIWOC, asking about why the issue of antiracism will not be addressed in relation to ISXX. A screenshot has been shared & you can 3/
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