Friday, October 31, 2008

new reviews in cyberculture studies (november 2008)

each month, the resource center for cyberculture studies publishes book reviews and author responses.

books of the month for november 2008 are:

Reclaiming the Media: Communication Rights and Democratic Media Roles
Editors: Bart Cammaerts & Nico Carpentier
Publisher: Intellect, 2007
Review 1: Arthur L. Morin

Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art
Editor: Caroline A. Jones
Publisher: MIT Press, 2006
Review 1: Kathleen O'Riordan
Author Response: Caroline Jones

there's lots more where that came from.


gone gallery

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

my old office

sometime in may 2006, my old office, located on the first floor of the communications building at the university of washington, looked like this:

it started with a NO IRAQ WAR sign.

sometime in 2003, i taped a NO IRAQ WAR sign to the hallway window of my office. within days, it was stolen. so i got another NO IRAQ WAR sign and taped it to the outside window of my office. within a day, it was taken down, torn into four or five pieces, and pushed under my door and into my office. so i got a third NO IRAQ WAR sign and taped it to the outside of my office. within a day, it was taken down and torn up, into dozens of pieces this time, and jammed under my door and into my office.

so i got a fourth NO IRAQ WAR sign. but this time, i taped it from the inside.

soon after, the stickers began to appear.

i put up the first few - war is terrorism. keep santa cruz weird. god bless the freaks.

within days, people, students i assume, began sticking stickers to my office window. stickers with all kinds of slogans - arms are for hugging. arthur magazine. keep abortion legal. chicago bulls. indian country. kexp. are you part of the problem or part of the solution? trust women.

one day, a UW student-athlete enrolled in my intro to communication class and playing on the football team asked me if i would stick a husky football sticker on my office window. "sure," i answered, "but it would be cooler if you did it."

miraculously - and beautifully - none of the stickers covered the NO IRAQ WAR sign.

about once a semester, i'd drag out some boxes, cover them in colorful tapestries, and offer free books, magazines, tapes, CDs, masks, canteens, candle-sticks, stickers, and other assorted freebies. above the colorful boxes, i taped a sign that said FREE STUFF. most of the stuff would disappear by the end of the day.

one time, i put out 10-15 years-worth of issues of journal of communication, a prestigious journal in the field of communication. no issues were taken. on the other hand, this wooden cow head mask got taken within minutes.

the last detail was a vertical column of print-outs of my gone series. starting with the resignation of tom delay, the gone series is an archive of politicians, mostly linked to george w. bush, who have recently resigned, been fired, or been thrown in jail.

back in may 2006, i began to print out the blog entries and tape them to the wall next to the window. if i had stayed at UW, the print-outs of the criminals would have taken over my office wall, window, and door.

last weekend, i traveled to UW for irina gendelman's dissertation defense. while on campus, i skipped down the hall to see my old office. it's much cleaner and more shiny. and it has less stickers.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

doctor gendelman

i met irina gendelman at the university of washington in 2001. we were both studying communication - she as a grad student, me as a new assistant professor. within a year, she was assigned to be my research assistant and our collaborations began.

over the years, we taught each other and taught together. i taught irina a thing or two about teaching when she was one of my teaching assistants for intro to communication. irina taught me a thing or two about community collaboration with the september project mural and about student-created digital content with urban archives. and we taught - and teach - each other during our marathon walkabouts, our aimless and mindful walks around seattle and san francisco looking for nothing and everything.

yesterday morning, i flew to seattle for one last task at the university of washington - irina's dissertation defense. and by the end of the day, irina gendelman - with help from committee chair crispin thurlow, from committee members, and from honorary committee member deb kaplan - became doctor gendelman.

congratulations irina. you done make us proud.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

a trip to copenhagen

last week was the association of internet researchers (or aoir) annual conference in copenhagen, denmark. sarah took vacation time and joined me. before the conference, we stayed in hørsholm, where sarah's old-time seattle friend, michelle, and her family live. one day, we hopped on a train to see frederiksborg castle.

copenhagen is a beautiful city and sarah and i hoofed it all over, from vesterbro through the city to christianshavn, up to the kastellet and down beautiful bredgade. we spent plenty of time admiring the black diamond and had a few long delicious dinners. one of the trip's highlights was the day michelle and her daughter mabel introduced us to christiania, the magical part of town.

over the years, aoir has been the closest thing to my academic home conference. since 2000, i've attended six aoir conferences, including the first one in lawrence, kansas, the ones in minneapolis, maastricht, toronto, and chicago, and last year's conference in vancouver. this year's conference - aoir's 9th! - was expertly organized by lisbeth klastrup (conference chair) and brian loader (program chair) and took place at IT university of copenhagen's dramatic campus.

i was part of a first-day panel titled "beyond place: using concepts and methods of practice theory to study mediated experience." edgar gomez cruz (presentation title: "from virtual communities to co-presence practices: some theoretical notes from the field") got us started, followed by annette markham ("methods for studying lived experience with technology: revisiting the past to find new paths"), and then elisenda ardevol and adolfo estalella ("constructing localities: blog events and situated practices"). my presentation was last and titled "practice theory and pedagogy: teaching internet studies."

i began by talking about dichotomies and traced the history of internet studies through three historical either/ors: a) people who use the internet vs those who don't (or what we used to call the wired generation); b) people who have access to the internet and those who don't (or the digital divide); and c) people who participate in and contribute to web 2.0 and those who don't (or what some now call digital natives). i mentioned others - books vs web; libraries vs wikipedia; the internet will produce a utopia vs a dystopia - and said that it was a sign of academic maturity that we as a field have gone beyond such limiting dualisms.

next, i offered my teaching philosophy for teaching internet studies - log off before you blog off. i tried to illustrate my methods by showing three examples: lulu mcallister's flickr set How to Make a Delicious Omelet Using Wild Foods; miles simcox's blog post USF Organic Garden Project; and my teaching reflections on the davies forum at stonelake farm. with each example, i highlighted how i require my students to log off of their computers, do something with their hands, document that something with notes and photos, and then log on and blog about it.

at some point i think i said: "it is very important to say publicly, and say publicly at conferences filled with internet researchers, that we spend, and our students spend, way too much time online and connected. we need to log off and disconnect more often."

with time running out, i concluded by arguing that a) my teaching style and students' work goes beyond dichotomies (something that was challenged by the very smart anne beaulieu and others during the Q and A session), that b) our students' inability to disconnect for significant periods of time should be a major concern of ours, and that c) green media, or the intersections between sustainable living and participatory do-it-ourselves media, merits further attention.

here's how things looked from my side.

conference highlights! watching recent USF graduate sara bassett give an excellent paper on gender and world of warcraft. catching up with friends and super smarties christian sandvig and michele white. having lunch with ken hillis and hearing about his farm in canada. having lunch with edgar gomez cruz, hearing about his dissertation about barcelona-based flickr photographers, telling him about my new course on food and media, and sharing our love for staring at oceans.

at some point, teresa senft joined edgar and me and we began talking about how things feel a bit too tame and comfortable around here. teresa asked who could best shake things up as a keynote speaker for next year's aoir conference. i answered, without hesitation, david de ugarte.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

election exhibit in gleeson library: students teaching students

it's hard to believe that we're about to finish week six of fall semester. summer feels like yesterday.

this fall, i'm teaching two sections (about eighty students in all) of intro to media studies. for the first three weeks of class, i mostly gave lectures (about newspapers and magazines and the magic of wikipedia) and led discussions (about thinking and literacy and whether google is making us stupid). on week four, students wrote and turned in paper one - a mixed bag ranging from this-is-awesome to you-can-do-better. last week, professors susana kaiser and michael robertson gave excellent guest lectures.

this week, week six, all minds were focused on our group show and tell in gleeson library.

first, the assignment:


Assignment: Create an exhibit in Gleeson Library that encourages and educates people to vote in the upcoming US election.

o You must work in groups. Groups can be as small as 3 and as large as 8.
o Your exhibit should be interesting to your audience and make them smarter.
o Your exhibit must be supported by evidence from at least 3 legitimate sources, 2 of which must be print resources from the library. If you are not sure what I mean by legitimate, ask. If you would like ideas about what kinds of resources the library offers, ask a reference librarian at Gleeson.
o Select a spokesperson/s to present your exhibit to the rest of class.
o In addition to your exhibit, each group is required to turn in a brief essay addressing the following: a) Explain your topic and its importance; b) Explain why you designed your exhibit the way you did; and c) Explain why you used the sources you did. The essay can be between 1-2 single-spaced pages.

o Meet as a group early and often.
o Meet with librarians early and often.
o Distribute the workload so that all group members are contributing.

Your exhibit is due in the library at the beginning of class on Thursday, October 9.


while my students were working hard on their projects, USF librarians were working hard preparing and enhancing gleeson library's first-floor reading room and exhibit space. debbie benrubi collected and displayed voter registration materials (last day to register to vote in the state of california: october 20). carol spector culled and displayed a few dozen excellent books about obama, mccain, and other relevant topics. and joe garity, who also serves as the library liaison for media studies, helped pave the way to make a library reading room into a student gallery space.

the students' work ranged from very good to outstanding. they designed posters and voting boxes and interactive maps and info graphics and animal kennels and a huge three by two feet issue of time magazine. they used paper and pens and paint and tape and glue and yarn and cardboard and photographs. at least two of the projects were made entirely from recycled materials.

their show and tells addressed the many topics that make this election so important and so dizzying - the economy, human rights, war, immigration, the environment, abortion, animal rights, same sex marriage. some projects juxtaposed the views and voting records of obama and mccain and of palin and biden. and two projects explored who the world thinks our next president should be.

by the time the afternoon class was over, there were nearly twenty student exhibits on the walls, upon the bookshelves, and in the windows of the reading room of gleeson. as the students filed out of the reading room, i stayed behind to appreciate their collective creativity and to learn a bit more about the issues. about ten minutes later, a student returned to the reading room with a friend in tow. a few minutes later, another student returned, also with a friend. as the students guided their friends through the exhibit, i tip-toed out of the room and thought to myself students teaching students.

election exhibit - students teaching students can be viewed in the first-floor reading room in gleeson library. it runs through the election.

Friday, October 03, 2008

call for book reviewers

each month, the resource center for cyberculture studies, or RCCS, publishes book reviews and author responses related to the field of contemporary media and culture. these book reviews and author responses are free, public, and available here:

if YOU are interested in writing a 1000-1500 word book review and can write the review by january 30, 2009, please contact me (dmsilver [ at ] usfca [ dot ] edu) by OCTOBER 20, 2008. please include:

a) your name and affiliation (if any);
b) 1-2 books you wish to review (selecting more than 2 books automatically disqualifies you);
c) a short paragraph explaining your qualifications/interest in reviewing the book or books you selected; and
d) your agreement to provide a 1000-1500 word book review by january 30, 2009.

if selected, i will send you a free review copy of the book and ask you to send me your review by the end of january. if you are busy or already have too many commitments, please pass until next time. the deadline to express interest in reviewing books is OCTOBER 20, 2008.

the following books are available for review:

Rasha A. Abdulla, The Internet in the Arab World: Egypt and Beyond (Peter Lang, 2007)

John Amman, Tris Carpenter, and Gina Neff, eds, Surviving the New Economy (Paradigm Publishers, 2007)

Mark Andrejevic, iSpy: Surveillance and Power in the Interactive Era (University Press of Kansas, 2007)

William Aspray and Paul E. Ceruzzi, eds, The Internet and American Business (MIT Press, 2008).

Andrea J. Baker, Double Click: Romance And Commitment Among Online Couples (Hampton Press, 2005)

Antonina D. Bambina, Online Social Support: The Interplay of Social Networks and Computer-Mediated Communication (Cambria Press, 2007)

Megan Boler, Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics in Hard Times (MIT Press, 2008).

Christine L. Borgman, Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet (MIT Press, 2007).

Axel Bruns, Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (Peter Lang, 2008)

Fiona Cameron and Sarah Kenderdine, eds, Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage: A Critical Discourse (MIT Press, 2007)

Andre H. Caron and Letizia Caronia, Moving Cultures: Moblie Communication in Everyday Life (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007)

Paul E. Ceruzzi, Internet Alley: High Technology in Tysons Corner, 1945-2005 (MIT Press, 2008)

Samir Chopra and Scott Dexter, Decoding Liberation: The Promise of Free and Open Source Software (Routledge, 2008)

David Ciccoricco, Reading Network Fiction (University of Alabama Press, 2007)

Mia Consalvo, Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames (MIT Press, 2007)

Hilde G. Corneliussen and Jill Walker Rettberg, Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader (MIT Press, 2008)

Edgar Gomez Cruz, Las Metaforas de Internet (Editorial UOC, 2007 - written in Spanish)

Mark Deuze, Media Work (Polity Press, 2007)

Daniel Downes, Interactive Realism: The Poetics Of Cyberspace (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005)

Susan Driver, Queer Girls and Popular Culture: Reading, Resisting, and Creating Media (Peter Lang, 2007)

Anthony Dunne, Hertzian Tales: Electronic Products, Aesthetic Experience, and Critical Design (MIT Press, 2005)

David S. Evans, Andrei Hagiu, and Richard Schmalensee, Invisible Engines: How Software Platforms Drive Innovation and Transform Industries (MIT Press, 2006)

Herve Fischer and Rhonda Mullins, Digital Shock: Confronting the New Reality (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2006)

Anthony Fung, Global Capital, Local Culture: Transnational Media Corporations in China (Peter Lang, 2008)

Martin Hand, Making Digital Cultures: Access, Interactivity, and Authenticity (Ashgate, 2008)

Kristen Haring, Ham Radio's Technical Culture (MIT Press, 2007)

Byron Hawk, David M. Rieder, and Ollie Oviedo, eds, Small Tech: The Culture of Digital Tools (University of Minnesota Press, 2008)

N. Katherine Hayles, Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary (University of Notre Dame Press, 2008)

Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom, eds, Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice (MIT Press, 2007)

Tim Jordan, Hacking: Digital Media and Technological Determinism (Polity, 2008)

Eduardo Kac, ed, Signs of Life: Bio Art and Beyond (MIT Press, 2007)

Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination (MIT Press, 2008)

Sharon Kleinman, ed, Displacing Place: Mobile Communication in the Twenty-First Century (Peter Lang, 2007)

Stephen Kline, Nick Dyer-Witheford, and Greig De Peuter, Digital Play: The Interaction of Technology, Culture, and Marketing (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003)

Christophe Lécuyer, Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930-1970 (MIT Press, 2006)

Rich Ling, New Tech, New Ties: How Mobile Communication Is Reshaping Social Cohesion (MIT Press, 2008)

Eugene Loos, Leslie Haddon, and Enid Mante-Meijer, The Social Dynamics of Information and Communication Technology (Ashgate, 2008)

Geert Lovink, Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture (Routledge, 2008)

Geert Lovink and Trebor Scholz, eds, The Art of Free Cooperation (Autonomedia, 2007)

Annette N. Markham and Nancy K. Baym, eds, Internet Inquiry: Conversations About Method (Sage, 2009)

Sharon R. Mazzarella, ed, 20 Questions About Youth & the Media (Peter Lang, 2007)

Paul D. Miller, ed, Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (MIT Press, 2008)

Kathryn C. Montgomery, Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet (MIT Press, 2007)

Karen Mossberger, Caroline J. Tolbert, and Ramona S. McNeal, Digital Citizenship: The Internet, Society, and Participation (MIT Press, 2008)

David E. Nye, Technology Matters: Questions to Live By (MIT Press, 2006)

Lisa Nakamura, Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet (University of Minnesota, 2008)

Kate O'Riordan and David J. Phillips, Queer Online: Media Technology and Sexuality (Peter Lang, 2007)

Laikwan Pang, Cultural Control and Globalization in Asia: Copyright, Piracy and Cinema (Routledge, 2006)

Amelia Sanz and Dolores Romero, Literatures in the Digital Era: Theory and Praxis (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007)

Shayla Thiel Stern, Instant Identity: Adolescent Girls and the World of Instant Messaging (Peter Lang, 2007)

Tanja Storsul and Dagny Stuedahl, Ambivalence Towards Convergence: Digitalization and Media Change (Nordicom, 2007)

Melanie Swalwell and Jason Wilson, Pleasures Of Computer Gaming: Essays on Cultural History, Theory and Aesthetics (McFarland, 2008)

May Thorseth and Charles Ess, eds, Technology in a Multicultural and Global Society (NTNU University Press, 2005)

Kim Toffoletti, Cyborgs and Barbie Dolls: Feminism, Popular Culture and the Posthuman Body (I. B. Tauris, 2007)

Sherry Turkle, ed, Evocative Objects: Things We Think With (MIT Press, 2007)

Joseph Turow, Niche Envy: Marketing Discrimination in the Digital Age (MIT Press, 2006)

Victoria Vesna, ed, Database Aesthetics: Art in the Age of Information Overflow (University of Minnesota, 2007)

Barry Wellman and Caroline Haythornthwaite, eds, The Internet in Everyday Life (Blackwell, 2002)

Zach Whalen and Laurie N. Taylor, eds, Playing the Past: History and Nostalgia in Video Games (Vanderbilt University Press, 2008)

David Wills, Dorsality: Thinking Back through Technology and Politics (University of Minnesota Press, 2008)

if YOU are an author/editor of a book related to cyberculture and contemporary media and you do not see your book on the list below, please send a review copy (or, better yet, 2-3 copies) to:

David Silver/RCCS
Department of Media Studies
University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117-1080

i am especially interested in reviewing books published outside the US and UK and books written in languages other than english.

PLEASE NOTE: RCCS is a one-person operation. the last two RCCS call for reviewers generated between 200-250 requests to review books. for that reason, i ask two things: please follow the instructions above and please be patient. if the book or books you have selected have already been assigned to another reviewer, i will do my best to work with you to find another book for review.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

new reviews in cyberculture studies (october 2008)

each month, the resource center for cyberculture studies publishes book reviews and author responses.

the book of the month for october 2008 is:

Gamer Theory
Author: McKenzie Wark
Publisher: Harvard University Press, 2007
Review 1: Denisa Kera
Review 2: Shawn Miklaucic

stay tuned for more.