Cogut Institute for the Humanities

Alexander Ávila

2022–23 Undergraduate Fellow, Concentrator in Sociology
Project “Legitimate and Illegitimate Resistance in Pandemic Times”
Last updated June 20, 2023, based on June 2022 biographical sketch


Alexander Ávila ’23 graduated from Brown magna cum laude, with honors in Sociology.

His research interests include sociological theory, critical theory, political sociology, and social media. As someone with experience studying online communities, his general academic interests aim to understand identity and social experience in postmodern societies. His honors thesis, “Legitimate and Illegitimate Resistance in Pandemic Times,” reformulates Jürgen Habermas’ theory of colonization through the case studies of antimask and antivaccine movements in Chiapas, Mexico, and Orange County, California. This project explores how the online social media space redirects political resistance across the globe at the behest of economic and state mechanisms. He hopes to bring sociology and theory to the general public to bridge everyday understandings, and is the founder of a media production company that produces AreTheyGay, a channel that brings queer and social theory to millions of viewers on YouTube.

He received the best thesis award from the Department of Sociology.

Meet the Fellows talk: “The Colonization of Online Discourse”