#AustraliaOnFire: Hashtag Activism and Collective Affect in the Black Summer Fires

Taylor and Francis Group
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Australian Studies, 2022
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
The 2019–2020 “Black Summer” bushfire season woke Australian and global populations to the harsh realities of a changing climate. The impact was profound, and it remains ongoing. Social media cast a spotlight on—and propelled into a mediatised, virtual space—the suffering of humans and other species. In particular, the iconic and severely threatened koala was a highly visible non-human species directly harmed alongside thousands of species in the order of individual billions. This article explores what comes to matter in the realms of affect, care and action, as observed in the public sphere via social media and the use of hashtags to interpret and performatively frame events. The catastrophic bushfires prompted a heightened multispecies awareness in the greater population. This article argues that the disaster produced a transversal event through social media communications, one that de-centred the human, allowing for novel connections between the human and non-human, prompting new questions and creating new responsibilities.
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