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Current Mediations : Roundtable

When Dec 02, 2016
from 01:00 PM to 03:00 PM
Where STS Room # 1246
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This Friday! 1:00 – 3:00 

STS Room (SS # 1246)


“Current Mediations” 

What are these recent turns towards the figures of ecology, infrastructure, labor, and materiality in media? What might these framings have to say to one another - to expand adjacent social theory or reach across fields of study?  What shifts have laid the conditions for these contemporary reconfigurations in thinking? Conversely, what types of politics may emerge out from these varied attentions and methodologies? How might we better think within and between these new constellations - what is enabled, restricted, clarified, or omitted? 


Please join us for a round-table conversation with an inter-disciplinary array of scholars - discussing these multifarious engagements in thinking about mediation!




Nicole Starosielski’s research focuses on the global distribution of digital media, and the relationship between technology, society, and the aquatic environment. Her book, The Undersea Network, examines the cultural and environmental dimensions of transoceanic cable systems, beginning with the telegraph cables that formed the first global communications network and extending to the fiber-optic infrastructure that carries almost international Internet traffic. Starosielski has published essays on how Fiji’s video stores serve as a nexus of digital media access (Media Fields Journal), on Guam’s critical role in transpacific digital exchange (Amerasia), on the cultural imbrications of cable systems in Hawaii and California (Journal of Visual Culture), and photo essays on undersea cables (Octopus and Media-N).


Lilly Irani’s research investigates the cultural politics of high-tech work practices with a focus on how actors produce “innovation” cultures. These questions work through two sites: entrepreneurial development efforts in India and the Amazon data processing outsourcing site Mechanical Turk. Irani’s book, Innovators and their Others: Entrepreneurial Citizenship in Indian Development (under contract with Princeton University Press) explains why politics and development translate into a call for innovation, with entrepreneurialism as its engine. A central concern of this book is how this regime sorts and values citizens as innovators, and how innovators’ others are valued or problematized through these processes.

Irani also collaboratively designs, builds, and maintains software (TurkopticonDynamo) that intervenes, resists, or demonstrates alternatives to existing platforms.

Fernando Rubio’s research, though trained as a cultural sociologist, is remarkably interdisciplinary - drawing from disciplines as diverse as science and technology studies, anthropology, art and architecture. Rubio’s work focuses on the study of the material ecologies and infrastructures enabling contemporary cultural, aesthetic, and political forms.

Cori Hayden’s research focuses on the anthropology of the biochemical sciences, global pharmaceutical politics, and postcolonial engagements with intellectual property, copying, and the politics of innovation and appropriation. These themes animated Hayden’s 2003 book, When Nature Goes Public: The Making and Unmaking of Bioprospecting in Mexico, which examined the consequences of novel drug discovery partnerships linking global drug companies, Latin American research scientists, and indigenous communities. A key theme emerging from that work was how new deployments of the idioms of intellectual property serve as engines of both privatization and ‘public-ization,’ or the reconfiguration of notions of the public, the commons, and the public domain.  Subsequent projects have taken up this concern in a variety of ways, including in the ethics of benefit-sharing in clinical trials (Taking as Giving), the ways that liberal concerns over piracy and improper copying continue to animate liberatory projects undertaken in the name of the public domain (The Proper Copy), and an investigation of how appeals to the ‘popular’ and populism may disrupt liberal epistemologies organized around public and private. 


Presented by Cloud and Crowd MultiCampus Research Group

With support from UC Davis Science and Technology Studies 


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