remembering preliminary exams

To some extent this exam was very important, and I think the questions that I was asked are indicative of why I think this is.  It is 12 years after I took this exam, and well being able to answer these questions today are just as important as them.  I only have the questions that I wrote and the answers, each question was answered offline over a 3 hour writing period in a morning or afternoon, over a 4 day period.  There was an oral exam afterwards.

The topics were:

Internet Studies

Philosophy of Technology

Politics of Technology

Cultures of Technology

1. You are to write about security issues on networks – from electrical networks, to telegraph and telephone, and then to the Internet and wireless networking.  Discuss the engineering and design considerations, such as Vannevar Bush’s work on electrical networks (and as expressed in more recent work like Networks of Power).  Relate the earlier work to contemporary issues in Internet and network security.  How were the concerns expressed in the earliest days of networking similar and different than the ones expressed now?  Is there something fundamental about the concept of a network that demands considerations of security (i.e., is security an element of network infrastructure), or is the consideration of security external to networks, a social, cultural, economic, political (etc.) “overlay,” or do those intertwine, and with what consequences?

2. You have just agreed to write a review essay on Internet Studies for the journal of Science, Technology, and Human Values.  Produce a first draft of your essay, taking care to draw extensively from your reading list while clearly identifying, describing, and comparing the main approaches in this field.  Also be sure to identify questions that merit greater attention but have not yet been pursued sufficiently?
3. What are the differences of approach between philosophy of science as it is practiced in American-Anglo traditions and continental traditions of philosophy?

4. Who are some of the contemporary philosophers of science and technology and what are their primary differences and similarities?  Where do you place my work in relation to their wok in the philosophy of science and technology, especially given the problems for philosophy posed by an age of autonomous technologies?

5.Where are the relations of power in science and technology?  How do power and knowledge interplay in technoscience systems? What is the role of the state and other actors in science and technology policy?

6.Discuss various approaches to the relation of technology and politics.  In what sense are technologies political?  Do artifacts have politics, does politics use artifacts, or should we invoke a seamless techno-politics?

7. Identify three central problems or issues in the STS literature that a focus on Internet studies helps clarify, extend, or otherwise exemplify.  What gaps or omissions in the STS literature can Internet studies help resolve or fill in?  In other words, what does Internet studies contribute to the knowledge of STS more broadly?  Here the focus should be upon the STS literature per se.

8. Connection metaphors abound in STS, critical theory, and on the Internet – networks, rhizomes, webs, links, social worlds, communities, etc.  Compare and contrast various such metaphors, discussing their strengths and weaknesses for the type of theorizing you hope to do.

Thank you for the thank yous

Over the years I’ve helped several people and many have thanked me personally, some have thanked me online, and some have thanked me in print. I’ve returned the thanks to many already, but as I have been working on various summaries of my career as an academic lately… Here’s a thank you also to those that printed a thank you to me in their acknowledgements or elsewhere. So i am acknowledging the acknowledgements so to speak

Thanks for the print.

  • Falco, E. (2012). The New River. In Putting Knowledge to Work and Letting Information Play (pp. 135-166). SensePublishers.
  • Garnar, A. W. (2007). An essay concerning subjectivity and scientific realism: Some fancies on Sellarsian themes and onto-politics (Doctoral dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University).
  • Hillis, K. (2009). Online a lot of the time: Ritual, fetish, sign. Duke University Press.
  • Jankowski, N., Jones, S., & Park, D. (2011). Ten years and onwards. New Media & Society, 13(1), 3-6.
  • Klein, M. J. (2007). The Rhetoric of Repugnance: Popular Culture and Unpopular Notions in the Human Cloning Debate (Doctoral dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University).
  • Lawrence Lessig. (2004). Free culture: How big media uses technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity. Penguin.
  • McCaughey, M. (2012). The caveman mystique: Pop-Darwinism and the debates over sex, violence, and science. Routledge.
  • Petzold, T. (2011). The uses of multilingualism in digital culture: the case of inter-language linking. (Doctoral Dissertation, Queensland University of Technology)
  • Shea, P. J. (2014). Community arts and appropriate internet technology: participation, materiality, and the ethics of sustainability in the digitally networked era.(Doctoral Dissertation, Queensland University of Technology)
  • Pearce, W. (2013). The meanings of climate change policy: implementing carbon reduction in the East Midlands (Doctoral dissertation, University of Nottingham).
  • Stutzman, F. D. (2011). Networked information behavior in life transition (Doctoral dissertation, THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL).
  • Wadley, G. R. (2011). Voice in virtual worlds (Doctoral dissertation, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne).

Call: closed systems / open worlds

Closed Systems / Open Worlds

Edited by: Jeremy Hunsinger (Wilfrid Laurier University), Jason Nolan (Ryerson University) & Melanie McBride (York University)

This book will consist of explorations at the boundaries of virtual worlds as enclosed but encouraging spaces for exploration, learning, and enculturation. Game/worlds like Second Life, OpenSim, Minecraft, and Cloud Party are providing spaces for the construction of alternatives and reimaginings, though frequently they end up more as reproductions. We seek to challenge those spaces and their creativities and imaginings.

These worlds exist as both code and conduct. Code is a modulating multiple signifier, in that the interpreters of the code vary from human to machine and that our understanding of the signifier changes the worldliness in itself. The conduct of both participants and administrators of these spaces influences how they flourish and then fade. As such the worlds and their anima/animus are socially constructed fictions where authors/creators/users, both above and below the actions are sometimes in concert, yet often in conflict with the space and intentions of the originators.

This book seeks critically engaged scholars who want to risk the possibility of change in the face of closed systems. We are looking for critical or speculative essays that must be theoretically, empirically and/or contextually grounded chapters of 5000-6500 words plus apparatus. Doctoral students and non-tenure faculty members will be afforded blind peer review upon request.

We are aiming for 12 -14 chapters that define the boundaries and thus likely futures of research on virtual worlds.

Aug 1, 2014 – 250 word précis with 5-10 key references
Aug. 30, 2014 – accept/reject proposals
Feb 1, 2015 – final draft due
July 1, 2015 – feedback from reviewers
September 1, 2015 – final version
December 1, 2015 – in press

Queries and submissions:

Topics may include:

  • alternative and minor game/virtual/etc. worlds
  • archeologies/genealogies of virtuality
  • augmented and mixed-reality worlds
  • distributed cognitions
  • early explorations in virtual learning environments
  • the freedom of limitations
  • identity construction and/or identity tourism
  • the limits of simulation and emulation
  • memories and forgetting in virtual worlds
  • multisensory virtual environments
  • multisensory exclusions in virtual worlds
  • narratival and post-narratival andragogies, ‘learning worlds’
  • negative spaces as learning spaces (bullying, trolling, flaming, etc.) in virtual worlds
  • non-social virtual worlds (dwarf fortress, some forms of minecraft, etc.)
  • real world virtual worlds and boundaries (Lego, Hello Kitty, WebKinz, etc.)
  • replication of real world environments/problems
  • surrealism, unrealism and constructable alterities of/within virtual worlds
  • transformative virtual classroom
  • vapourware and virtuality
  • the virtuality of learning
  • Call for Abstracts for Chapters Volume 2 of the International Handbook of Internet Research

    Call for Abstracts for Chapters
    Volume 2 of the International Handbook of Internet Research
    (editors Jeremy Hunsinger, Lisbeth Klastrup, and Matthew Allen)

    Abstracts due June 1 2014; full chapters due Sept. 1 2015

    After the remarkable success of the first International Handbook of Internet Research (2010), Springer has contracted with its editors to produce a second volume. This new volume will be arranged in three sections, that address one of three different aspects of internet research: foundations, futures, and critiques. Each of these meta-themes will have its own section of the new handbook.

    Foundations will approach a method, a theory, a perspective, a topic or field that has been and is still a location of significant internet research. These chapters will engage with the current and historical scholarly literature through extended reviews and also as a way of developing insights into the internet and internet research. Futures will engage with the directions the field of internet research might take over the next five years. These chapters will engage current methods, topics, perspectives, or fields that will expand and re-invent the field of internet research, particularly in light of emerging social and technological trends. The material for these chapters will define the topic they describe within the framework of internet research so that it can be understand as a place of future inquiry. Critique chapters will define and develop critical positions in the field of internet research. They can engage a theoretical perspective, a methodological perspective, a historical trend or topic in internet research and provide a critical perspective. These chapters might also define one type of critical perspective, tradition, or field in the field of internet research.

    We value the way in which this call for papers will itself shape the contents, themes, and coverage of the Handbook. We encourage potential authors to present abstracts that will consolidate current internet research, critically analyse its directions past and future, and re-invent the field for the decade to come. Contributions about the internet and internet research are sought from scholars in any discipline, and from many points of view. We therefore invite internet researchers working within the fields of communication, culture, politics, sociology, law and privacy, aesthetics, games and play, surveillance and mobility, amongst others, to consider contributing to the volume.

    Initially, we ask scholars and researchers to submit an 500 word abstract detailing their own chapter for one of the three sections outlined above. The abstract must follow the format presented below. After the initial round of submissions, there may be a further call for papers and/or approaches to individuals to complete the volume. The final chapters will be chosen from the submitted abstracts by the editors or invited by the editors. The chapter writers will be notified of acceptance by January 1st, 2015. The chapters will be due September 2015, should be between 6,000 and 10,000 words (inclusive of references, biographical statement and all other text).

    Each abstract needs to be presented in the following form:

    · Section (Either Foundations, Futures, or Critiques)

    · Title of chapter

    · Author name/s, institutional details

    · Corresponding author’s email address

    · Keywords (no more than 5)

    · Abstract (no more than 500 words)

    · References

    Please e-mail your abstract/s to:

    We look forward to your submissions and working with you to produce another definitive collection of thought-provoking internet research. Please feel free to distribute this CfP widely.

    Thank you
    Jeremy, Lisbeth, and Matt

    scos presentation proposal

    I proposed this for the annual standing conference on organizational symbolism conference “serious fun”… and it was accepted. it is a spin off the darknets research i’ve been pursuing on the side for a year… so now there are two papers in development on this topic… I’m sharing it so people can see more clearly some of the topics that i engage with for ‘fun’.

    Toying with governance: darknets, surveillance, and resistance
    By jeremy hunsinger

    This paper argues that ethics of playful hacking as a mode of resistance that operate within and through internet systems counteracts government control of the darknets. Specifically, I argue that as governments seek more surveillance and control over the internet, they will have less control of technical elites, who in a mode of playful jouissance construct oppositional technologies.

    Darknets are securitized internet networks that operate either over existing networks through encrypted traffic on those networks, or increasingly they are mixes of those networks and either planned or ad-hoc mesh networks. Mesh networks are computer to computer networks that route date across, by routing it through the computers themselves sans intermediation by the internet. While these darknets exist within and through the commercial internet, their traffic can be governed by the commercial providers and the governments that govern those providers, mesh routing bypasses even that control and forces a different strategy to address the governance of content and its distribution. This new strategy for surveillance and control of media is device based monitoring, but even that might be bypassed by using non-standard operating environments.

    Thus I conclude that given the socio-technical parameters of future darknets, that the governments who seek to regulate and control content on the internet are forced into position of either hypersurveillance of individual devices or to abdicate monitoring and content provision to the communities themselves.

    However, no matter how the government constructs the system of governance, the playful mode of resistance will enable the creative re-creation of darknets and other securitizing technics that will allow darknet technologies.

    a semester of finishing instead of a semester of starting

    personal reality check time… I can’t do everything and get it all done. I need to get this hacking/maker research out the door (granted there is a special issue underway, but…), finish the altmetrics that i started with Abby Goodrum get at least one more paper out on the slow university idea, and i have a book on the history of online learning underway, and there is a new volume of the handbook of internet research in progress. SO i should just admit that until i finish the maker/hacker stuff and get that out the door, i won’t really have time to start a funded grant project that requires extensive travel or the other grant project that requires international collaboration, at best i should try to get one paper each out the door to justify both grant projects. so instead of grant writing, i should be writing up research. If i get the hacker/maker stuff done, the altmetrics stuff done, and the slow university stuff done, i think i will still be batting above average… oh and did i mention the Academic Fraud-o-sphere research i’m doing… yeah… that needs more work too. so yeah, i declare this semester and summer the semester and summer of finishing instead of the semester of starting new things.

    so the todo list is:
    1. finish the hacker/maker stuff
    2. make significant progress on the altmetrics project
    3. work on one paper for slow university
    4. work on one paper for the new digital sensorium
    5. work on online learning book
    6 work on second volume of handbook
    7. work on academic fraud-o-sphere stuff

    and 7 is enough for now…

    nodes, actors and networks

    nodes, or actors, or networks. This is a response to jeremy's comments on actor construction? and a response entry (June 30, 2003) in his blog regarding the relationship of actors and networks as used/presented by the actor-network theory and methodology. Jeremy: “i replied to this on his blog too, but ultimately my position is to… [infoSophy: Socio-technological Rendering of Information]

    I continued this conversation on his blog. it is interesting how different people can come to the same theory in different ways. I wrote some of one of the answers to one of my prelim questions on actor-network theory. I think i have a different position than most people on this topic. It is heavily informed by sts literature and continental philosophy.

    Happy new year

    This year…. Ummm. I think I’ll publish a few things, lose weight, exercise more, travel a bit, and try to spend much less…. Normal stuff… Of course today I am still currently sick with a cold. Weee!