A License to Hate: Anti-Asian Prejudice in Digital Communication (ADDA3 panel)

Proposals are invited for a thematic panel on anti-Asian hate in digital discourses. It is organized by Massimiliano Demata (University of Turin) and Natalia Knoblock (Saginaw Valley State University). It will be held at the 3rd International Conference: Approaches to Digital Discourse Analysis (ADDA3), which will take place at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, FL, USA on May 13–15, 2022.

As reported, racism and anti-Chinese sentiments increased significantly after the start of the pandemic and have been directly linked to it (Vachuska, 2020). Disturbingly, over ¾ of Chinese Americans polled about their experiences reported being victim of at least 1 incident of COVID-19 racial discrimination online and/or in person, and over half perceived health-related Sinophobia in America and media-perpetuated Sinophobia (Cheah et al., 2020). Verbal and physical attacks on Asian Americans have been linked to racism and xenophobia deeply entrenched in the US society, and to the “us vs. them” worldview relegating Asian Americans to the bottom of the social hierarchy (Gover, Harper & Langton, 2020). Such feelings have been at least partly caused or exacerbated by the inflammatory rhetoric by the US politicians (Wu, 2020), and there has been evidence of ex-president Trump’s tweets to cause an uptick in anti-Asian verbal aggression on Twitter (Ziems et al., 2020). Researchers have analyzed the victims’ narratives (Satoh & Hata 2021) and even identified counter-discourses employing linguistic creativity to oppose hate (Zhu, 2020)

This panel aims to continue and expand the research into the racially motivated anti-Asian hate speech and verbal aggression, amplified during the Coronavirus pandemic, and it will examine the role of the digital medium in their shaping and dissemination. We invite proposals (not limited to the US context) that address discursive representations of anti-Asian sentiment, the spread of hateful messages through networks, the role of the hateful rhetoric by pundits and politicians, denialism and legitimation strategies, discursive constructing of otherness, counter-hate messages, and similar themes. This panel has a particular interest in the issues of inequality, prejudice, and discrimination. A variety of methods and approaches are welcome, and interdisciplinary studies are appropriate.

Please submit your abstract of up to 350 words to Natalia Knoblock (nlknoblo@svsu.edu) or Massimiliano Demata (massimiliano.demata@unito.it) by September 25th.  In your abstract, clearly state the aims and research questions of your paper, its theoretical foundations, the data and methods used to analyze it, as well as some of the findings.


Cheah, C. S., Wang, C., Ren, H., Zong, X., Cho, H. S. & Xue, X. (2020). COVID-19 racism and mental health in Chinese American families. Pediatrics146(5). DOI: https://doi.org/ 10.1542/peds.2020-021816

Gover, A. R., Harper, S. B., & Langton, L. (2020). Anti-Asian hate crime during the COVID-19 pandemic: Exploring the reproduction of inequality. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 45(4), 647-667.

Satoh A. & Hata, K. (2021). The Impact of COVID-19 on Communication: Immigration, Media Representation, and globalization. Panel at the 17th International Pragmatics Conference. Retrieved from https://cdn.ymaws.com/pragmatics.international/resource/collection/ 3960B891-EE4B-4DB1-A7F5-47C668E86C8D/Abstracts_book_-_Winterthur_ IPrA2021.pdf

Vachuska, K. F. (2020). Initial Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Racial Prejudice in the United States: Evidence from Google Trends. SocArXiv. DOI:10.31235/osf.io/bgpk3.

Wu, N. (2020, March 18). USA Today: GOP senator says China 'to blame' for coronavirus spread because of 'culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs'. USA Today. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/03/18/coronavirus-sen-john-cornyn-says-chinese-eating-bats-spread-virus/2869342001/

Ziems, C., He, B., Soni, S., & Kumar, S. (2020). Racism is a virus: Anti-asian hate and counterhate in social media during the covid-19 crisis. arXiv[Preprint].arXiv: 2005.12423.

Zhu, H. (2020). Countering COVID-19-related anti-Chinese racism with translanguaged swearing on social media. Multilingua39(5), 607-616.