Graduate Student Spotlight: Abena Ofori
I recently met with Abena Ofori, an English graduate student completing research at Clemson in memes and ESL.
Ofori is originally from Ghana, where she completed her French and English literature undergraduate degree. After she completed her undergraduate degree, she taught English at an all-girls high school in Ghana.When she was accepted into Clemson’s graduate program, she was very excited to broaden her experience outside the classroom.
Ofori enjoys her graduate classes, including lit theory and criticism and digital literacy, her work at the Writing Lab, and especially her research in meme culture. Meme culture is cultural and societal critiques and ideas depicted by humorous images across the internet.
When asked about memes as part of her research, she said her love for memes stemmed from the original rage meme, where cartoon drawn faces expressed different “rage faces.” Ofori discussed how memes are not very popular back home because of cultural differences.
“When I would post a meme on my WhatsApp, people would ask, ‘what does this mean, why is it funny?’ This made me realize how memes connect with culture and can play a role in telling how widely read a person or culture are.”
Ofori is passionate about how memes contextualize the 21st-century culture of different countries, and can dictate how societies understand and engage with the world through social media.
By: Olivia Almeida