Digital Resistance to Asian-American Hate during COVID-19: Study of Photography and Art on Instagram


  • Nanditha Narayanamoorthy University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill



 In this research, I study the digital resistance to Asian-American hate, isolation, alienation, and ‘othering’ visibilized during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21 in the Global North. Specifically, I draw attention to the role of personal and artistic representations of Asian female bodies that perform both a resistance to hate, in the context of the pandemic, and an affirmation of ethnic and racial heritage and belonging of the self in North America. Through the engagement with #stopasianhate and #haterisavirus hashtags on Instagram, I uncover the rejection of historic and contemporary racial and gendered violence, harassment, xenophobia, and othering that emerges through visual activism and personal and artistic performativity online. I focus on the interplay between body politics and anti-racist feminist digital activism in order to understand how performativity of the self through photography and art can empower Asian-American female bodies.

Author Biography

Nanditha Narayanamoorthy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Nanditha Narayanamoorthy is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a Siegel Family Endowment Fellow. Her work draws from a Humanities-based framework to understand the relationship between technology and democracy and rethink digital infrastructure and platform design, particularly for marginalized communities in the Global South. As an interdisciplinary scholar at the intersection of Critical Digital Studies, Gender Studies, and Social Justice, she investigates the role digital infrastructures play in centering vulnerable groups online. 


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How to Cite

Narayanamoorthy, N. (2023). Digital Resistance to Asian-American Hate during COVID-19: Study of Photography and Art on Instagram. Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, 14(1), 63–86.