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Feb 22 2024

Virus, Violence, and (In)Visible Women: #LockDownMeinLockUp and Embodied Resistance During COVID-19

Feminisms Lunch Lectures

February 22, 2024

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


1700 SSB & Zoom


1200 W. Harrison St., Suite 1700, Chicago, IL 60607

Promotional poster: At the top is a collage of black-and-white photos of people's faces posted as part of an anti-domestic-violence social media campaign. Below that is a photo of Dr. Ishani Mukherjee and text describing the program (same info on this page).

Join us for a talk by Dr. Ishani Mukherjee exploring digital media and hashtivism as interventions against domestic violence on Indian women during the pandemic.

Dr. Mukherjee's presentation draws on the constructs of embodied resistance, performed connectivity, and in/visibility politics to explore how gender, body, power, affect, celebrity, performance, and in/justice are framed by digital media in the context of a global health crisis and an increase in domestic violence (DV) against women. During India’s pandemic-induced lockdown, women in abusive relationships had no choice but to cohabit with their abusive partners/families. Reported DV cases hit a record high of 131% within months of the 2020 lockdown, and many Indian NGOs working to rehabilitate abused women saw 100% increase in helpline calls. Mainstream media coverage prioritized health and economic implications of COVID-19, and little if any attention was paid to the impact of the pandemic on Indian women and their daily and layered oppressions.

At this juncture, select Indian NGOs, gender rights advocates, and celebrities took to digital media to advocate against the heightened abuse that Indian women were facing during the pandemic, of which the Instagram visual campaign #LockDownMeinLockUp is a potent exemplar. Based on an inductive thematic analysis of 1,624 Instagram images (May 2020 - January 2021) related to the hashtivism, its celebrity selfies, and digital posters, this study reveals four themes relating to representations of, and interventions against, domestic violence on Indian women during the pandemic, including, (1) names, stories & victim visibility, (2) violence visuals, (3) celebrity selfie-resistance, and (4) action, connection, and transformation. This study reasons that the #LockDownMeinLockUp campaign, and its resistance images, surface as complex tools of localized activism with short-term interventional affordances amidst India’s COVID-19 lockdown, but poses long-term limitations brought on by enduring heteropatriarchal mindsets and a critical lack of structurally-supported resources.

Food, Safety, and Accessibility:

  • Masks are required for in-person attendees.
  • Lunch will be available for takeaway.
  • Building and suite accessibility info is available on our website.
  • Captions will be enabled on Zoom.

Please contact us with any questions or access requests: or (312) 413-1025.


Date posted

Feb 7, 2024

Date updated

Feb 7, 2024


Ishani Mukherjee, PhD | Clinical Assistant Professor of Communication | University of Illinois Chicago

Ishani Mukherjee, Ph.D. is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Communication at UIC, and a certified DEI-practitioner. She is an intercultural communication, social media, DEIB studies, and gender/race and popular media educator and scholar. Her research focuses on digital advocacy, mobility, social justice, feminist activism, intercultural media/film, and South Asia. She has authored and co-authored multiple articles, a book, and is an Honors College Faculty Fellow and Instructor at UIC. She serves on the LAS DEI committee at UIC and chairs the Advancing Racial Equity (ARE) committee in her department. Her research and teaching have been recognized with the Clifford G. Christians Ethics Research Award, Carl J. Couch Internet Research Award, Teaching Sustainability Initiative Award (UIC), and Honoring Our Professor’s Excellence Award (UIC).

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