Communication, School of

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“It’s an Ongoing Bromance”: Counterculture and Cyberculture in Silicon Valley—An Interview with Fred Turner

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-07-16
Abstract: 

Fred Turner is considered one of the most influential experts on, and critical observers of, cyberculture. He is Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication at Stanford University in the Department of Communication. Through his work, he provided a thoughtful analysis of the politics and culture of Silicon Valley. In his books, he explored the connections between the collaborative and interdisciplinary research culture of the Second World War, the protest movements of the 1960s, and the managerial ethos permeating digital and new media industries. In this interview, we discuss about the consequences that the countercultural movements had on the organization of labor in modern tech giants, especially in relation to the substitution of hierarchies for flat and more entrepreneurial structures. We also talk about the consequences that a code of ethics might have in the democratization of technology and the responsibility that we have as citizens and academics.

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Article
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“Finding the Lines to My People”: Media History and Queer Bibliographic Encounter

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-01-01
Abstract: 

This article examines the materiality, construction, and circulation strategies of LGBTQ information interfaces within a longer genealogy of media practices that troubles the Internet’s predominance in understandings of queer self-formation. It focuses on a particular bibliographic project: The Gay Bibliography (1971–1980) produced by lifetime activist Barbara Gittings in her role as coordinator of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Task Force on Gay Liberation. The article examines the role of bibliographies in the gay liberation movement’s broader information activism, and develops a longer history of “queer bibliographic encounters” that connects these older practices with paper to theorizations of queer youth and online media in the present. Methodologically, the paper analyzes a collection of several hundred letters sent to Gittings to request the bibliography, in order to examine the affective economies of information interfaces in LGBTQ contexts. The article argues that the prevalence of bibliographic encounters across a range of “old” and “new” media provides a model for understanding how information interfaces construct the subjects and stakes of social movements across time, and for imagining new forms of knowledge mobilization that expand the terms of movement participation. 

Document type: 
Article
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Bugs: Rethinking the History of Computing

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-11-18
Abstract: 

This paper argues that scholars of computing, networks, and infrastructures must reckon with the inseparability of “viral” discourses in the 1990s. This co-assembled history documents the reliance on viral analogies and explanations honed in the HIV/AIDS crisis and its massive loss of life, widespread institutional neglect, and comprehensive technological failures. As the 1990s marked a period of intense domestication of computing technologies in the global North, we document how public figures, computer experts, activists, academics, and artists used the intertwined discourses surrounding HIV and new computer technologies to explicate the risks of vulnerability in complex, networked systems. The efficacy of HIV as an analogy is visible in the circulation of viral concepts, fears surrounding interdependence, and emergent descriptions of precarity in the face of a widespread “infrastructure crisis.” Through an analysis of this decade, we show how HIV/AIDS discourses indelibly marked the domestication of computing, computer networks, and nested, digitized infrastructures.

Document type: 
Article

Printing the Network: AIDS Activism and Online Access in the 1980s

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-11-20
Abstract: 

HIV/AIDS activists in the 1980s made up a significant cohort of early computer network users, who used Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) to create and circulate health information amongst PWA (People living with AIDS) communities. This article explores how these early adopters extended access to new computer networks by printing online information in newsletters. Their work bridged the sharing of text files over BBS—a novel networked practice—with more traditional activist media tools familiar to readers trained in civil rights, homophile, and feminist organizing. The article focuses on the Philadelphia-based organization Critical Path, led by Kiyoshi Kuromiya, who applied systems theories drawn from Buckminster Fuller’s work to the problem of HIV/AIDS. Critical Path’s print newsletter drew on BBS to put information in the hands of a wide constituency of PWAs and their allies. They targeted, in particular, PWA communities excluded from access to medical research trials based on race, gender, drug use, or carceral status, and did so through a multimedia practice that recognized how access to emerging computer networks was similarly stratified. Through analyzing Critical Path’s digital-to-print practice, I argue that HIV/AIDS activists approached new online networks as a fundamental equity issue shaped by their broader understandings of the structural violence performed by exclusion from good, up-to-date information.

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Article
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Newsletter Networks in the Feminist History and Archives Movement

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-09-30
Abstract: 

This article examines how networks have been critical to the construction of feminist histories. The author examines the publication Matrices: A Lesbian/Feminist Research Newsletter (1977–1996), to argue that a feminist network mode can be traced through the examination of small-scale print newsletters that draw on the language and function of networks. Publications such as Matrices emerge into wide production and circulation in the 1970s alongside feminist community archives, and newsletters and archives work together as interconnected social movement technologies. Newsletters enabled activist-researchers writing feminist histories to share difficult-to-access information, resources, and primary sources via photocopying and other modes of print reproduction.  Looking from the present, the author examines how network thinking has been a feature of feminist activism and knowledge production since before the Internet, suggesting that publications such as Matrices are part of a longer history of networked communications media in feminist contexts.

Document type: 
Article
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Body, Sex, Interface: Reckoning with Images at the Lesbian Herstory Archives

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-05-01
Abstract: 

This article investigates the creation of an online photo database at the Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA). The status of images of sexuality in this collection presents opportunities for reflecting on the cultural politics of digitization in community archives, including the accessibility of sexual materials in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) archives as they move online. I argue that the design of this project has generated moments of reckoning with various political contexts in which the archives moves. The LHA's approach to digitization is improvisational, open to revision and critique, and willfully imperfect in its management of considerations such as metadata. Digitization presents the archives with the opportunity to consider the ways that the historical representations of sexuality it houses challenge the normative imperatives that can accompany digital media practices, including the ways that all kinds of sex practices and gendered ways of being scramble the categorical logics of structured databases.

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Article
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Crisis Infrastructures: AIDS Activism Meets Internet Regulation

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-04-01
Abstract: 

This chapter analyses how AIDS activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya and his internet activist organization Critical Path leveraged its community-based internet infrastructure model to challenge online content regulations about sex in the United States in testimony against the 1996 Communications Decency ACT (CDA). The CDA and AIDS internet activism were intertwined, sociotechnical phenomena, caught up in the rapidly unfolding, neoliberal information environments of the 1990s. Through this case, growing moral panics over sexual expression online were articulated to HIV and related perceptions of risk. I argue that during the 1990s, cultural understandings of HIV were inseparable from attempts to define the place of sexuality online and regulate “appropriate” internet use. The internet as we know it today has been imagined and re-calibrated through AIDS. The “AIDS crisis,” as it was understood during this period by US judicial and legislative systems and the wider public, continues to reverberate in the ways online infrastructures both provide and limit access to information about sex.

Document type: 
Book chapter
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Teaching Business as Business: The Role of the Case Method in the Constitution of Management as a Science-based Profession

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-12-12
Abstract: 

Purpose – This paper aims to explore the early days of business education with the aim of understanding how the Harvard Business School (HBS) contributed to the constitution of “management” as a science-based profession. The research focuses on HBS signature pedagogy, the case method and its role in the institutionalization of managerial knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach – The research is based on a qualitative content analysis of HBS Annals published between 1908 and 1930. Through a manual coding of the Annals, the paper traces the diffusion of the case method in the curriculum and connects it with the institutional transformations that took place between 1908 and 1930.

Findings – The data show how HBS curriculum transitioned from lectures to case teaching in the aftermath of First World War. This pedagogy allowed HBS to demonstrate the possibility of systematically investigate management problems and to deliver business education at scale. The discussion argues that the case method, acting as a boundary object between business praxis and management theories, constituted management as a science-based profession.

Originality/value – Recent debates have emerged about case method’s ability to critically question socioeconomic structures within which business is conducted. This paper contributes to the debate arguing that the historical and institutional factors leading to the affirmation of this pedagogical approach had a substantive role in the type of knowledge produced through its application. The findings challenge the idea that the affirmation of the case method is attributable to its epistemological primacy in investigating business problems.

Document type: 
Article
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Adopting Clinical Genomics: A Systematic Review of Genomic Literacy Among Physicians in Cancer Care

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-02-13
Abstract: 

Background: This article investigates the genomic knowledge of oncology care physicians in the adoption of clinical genomics. We apply Rogers’ knowledge framework from his diffusion of innovation theory to identify three types of knowledge in the process of translation and adoption: awareness, how-to, and principles knowledge. The objectives of this systematic review are to: (1) examine the level of knowledge among physicians in clinical cancer genomics, and (2) identify potential interventions or strategies for development of genomic education for oncology practice. Methods: We follow the PRIMSA statement protocol and conduct a search of five relevant electronic databases. Our review focuses on: (1) genomic knowledge of oncogenomics or genomic services in oncology practices among physicians, and (2) interventions or strategies to provide genomic education of oncogenomics for physicians. Results: We include twenty-one studies in our analysis. Nine focus on interventions to provide genomic education for cancer care. Overall, physicians’ knowledge of oncogenomics among the three types is limited. The genomic literacy of physicians vary by their provider specialty, location, years of practice, and the type of genomic services. The three distinctions of knowledge offer a sophisticated and helpful tool to design effective strategies and interventions to provide genomic education for cancer treatment. In the nine educational intervention studies, the main intervention outcomes are changes in awareness, referral rates, genomic confidence, and genomic knowledge. Conclusion: Rogers’ diffusion of innovation model allows us to differentiate three types of knowledge in the development and adoption of clinical genomics. This analytical lens can inform potential avenues to design more effective strategies and interventions to provide genomic education for oncology practice. We identified and synthesized a dearth of high quality studies that can inform the most effective educational outcomes of these interventions. Future research should attend to improving applications of genomic services in clinical practices, along with organizational change engendered by genomics in oncology practice.

Document type: 
Article
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Audible Efforts: Gender and Battle Cries in Classic Arcade Fighting Games

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-12-20
Abstract: 

Video games are demanding work indeed. So demanding that our screen heroes and heroines are constantly making sounds of strife, struggle, or victory while conducting surrogate labor for us running, fighting, saving worlds. These sounds also represent the very real demanding labor of voice actors, whose burnout and vocal strain have recently come to the fore in terms of the games industries’ labor standards (Cazden, 2017). But do heroes and she-roes sound the same? What are the demands—virtual, physical, and emotional—of maintaining sexist sonic tropes in popular media; demands that are required of the industry, the game program, and the player alike? Based on participatory observations of gameplay (i.e., the research team engaging with the material by playing the games we study), close reading of gendered sonic presence, and a historical content analysis of three iconic arcade fighting games, this article reports on a notable trend: As games self-purportedly and in the eyes of the wider community improve the visual representation of female playable leads important aspects of the vocal representation of women has not only lagged behind but become more exaggeratedly gendered with higher-fidelity bigger-budget game productions. In essence, femininity continues to be a disempowering design pattern in ways far more nuanced than sexualization alone. This media ecology implicates not only the history of best practices for the games industry itself, but also the culture of professional voice acting, and the role of games as trendsetters for industry conventions of media representation. Listening to battle cries is discussed here as a politics of embodiment and a form of emotionally demanding game labor that simultaneously affects the flow and immersion of playing, and carries over toxic attitudes about femininity outside the game context.

Document type: 
Article
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