309 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Technology about their New Books
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    • Technology
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Interviews with Scholars of Technology about their New Books
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/technology

    Pallavi Guha, "Hear #metoo in India: News, Social Media, and Anti-Rape and Sexual Harassment Activism" (Rutgers UP, 2021)

    Pallavi Guha, "Hear #metoo in India: News, Social Media, and Anti-Rape and Sexual Harassment Activism" (Rutgers UP, 2021)

    Hello Everyone, and welcome to New Books in Gender and Sexuality, a channel on the New Books Network. I’m your host, Jana Byars, and I’m here today with Pallavi Guha, assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communication at Towson University in Towson, MD, to talk to her about her new book, Hear #MeToo in India: News, Social Media, and Anti-Rape and Sexual Harassment Activism, out this year, 2021 with Rutgers University Press.
    This book examines the role media platforms play in anti-rape and sexual harassment activism in India. Including 75 interviews with feminist activists and journalists working across India, it proposes a framework of agenda-building and establishes a theoretical framework to examine media coverage of issues in the digitally emerging Global South.
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    Jean Burgess and Nancy K. Baym, "Twitter: A Biography" (NYU Press, 2020)

    Jean Burgess and Nancy K. Baym, "Twitter: A Biography" (NYU Press, 2020)

    As Twitter enters its own adolescence, both the users and the creators of this famous social media platform find themselves engaging with a tool that certainly could not have been imagined at its inception. In their engaging book Twitter: A Biography (NYU Press, 2020), Jean Burgess and Nancy K. Baym (@nancybaym) tell the fascinating and surprising story of how this platform developed from a quirky SMS tool for publicly sharing intimate details of personal life to a major source of late-breaking news, political activism, and even governmental communication. This story explores how many of Twitter's most ubiquitous and iconic conventions were not systematically rolled out from a centralized corporate strategy, but so often driven by users who continued to innovate within the limitations of the platform they had to democratically create the platform they desired. Yet this story highlights the tensions along the way as Twitter has adapted to new and unforeseen challenges, business models, and social consequences as the experiments of social media have become increasingly powerful, influential, and contested. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the wild and changing landscape of internet communication and communities.
    Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.
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    Jillian C. York, "Silicon Values: The Future of Free Speech Under Surveillance Capitalism" (Verso Book, 2021)

    Jillian C. York, "Silicon Values: The Future of Free Speech Under Surveillance Capitalism" (Verso Book, 2021)

    What is the impact of surveillance capitalism on our right to free speech? The Internet once promised to be a place of extraordinary freedom beyond the control of money or politics, but today corporations and platforms exercise more control over our ability to access information and share knowledge to a greater extent than any state. From the online calls to arms in the thick of the Arab Spring to the contemporary front line of misinformation, Jillian York charts the war over our digital rights. She looks at both how the big corporations have become unaccountable censors, and the devastating impact it has had on those who have been censored.
    In Silicon Values: The Future of Free Speech Under Surveillance Capitalism (Verso Book, 2021), leading campaigner Jillian York, looks at how our rights have become increasingly undermined by the major corporations desire to harvest our personal data and turn it into profit. She also looks at how governments have used the same technology to monitor citizens and threatened our ability to communicate. As a result our daily lives, and private thoughts, are being policed in an unprecedented manner. Who decides the difference between political debate and hate speech? How does this impact on our identity, our ability to create communities and to protest? Who regulates the censors? In response to this threat to our democracy, York proposes a user-powered movement against the platforms that demands change and a new form of ownership over our own data.
    Marci Mazzarotto is an Assistant Professor of Digital Communication at Georgian Court University in New Jersey. Her research interests center on the interdisciplinary intersection of academic theory and artistic practice with a focus on film and television studies.
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    Daniel Greene, "The Promise of Access: Technology, Inequality, and the Political Economy of Hope" (MIT Press, 2021)

    Daniel Greene, "The Promise of Access: Technology, Inequality, and the Political Economy of Hope" (MIT Press, 2021)

    Why do we keep trying to solve poverty with technology? What makes us feel that we need to learn to code--or else? In The Promise of Access: Technology, Inequality, and the Political Economy of Hope (MIT Press, 2021), Daniel Greene argues that the problem of poverty became a problem of technology in order to manage the contradictions of a changing economy. Greene shows how the digital divide emerged as a policy problem and why simple technological solutions to complex social issues continue to appeal to politicians and professionals who should (and often do) know better.
    Patrick Sheehan is a PhD student in Sociology at UT Austin studying work and careers in the digital economy.
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    • 1 hr 6 min
    Douglas M. O'Reagan, "Taking Nazi Technology: Allied Exploitation of German Science after the Second World War" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2021)

    Douglas M. O'Reagan, "Taking Nazi Technology: Allied Exploitation of German Science after the Second World War" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2021)

    In his new book Taking Nazi Technology: Allied Exploitation of German Science After the Second World War (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019), Douglas O’Reagan describes how the Western Allies gathered teams of experts to scour defeated Germany, seeking industrial secrets and the technical personnel who could explain them. Swarms of investigators invaded Germany's factories and research institutions, seizing or copying all kinds of documents, from patent applications to factory production data to science journals. They questioned, hired, and sometimes even kidnapped hundreds of scientists, engineers, and other technical personnel. They studied technologies from aeronautics to audiotapes, toy making to machine tools, chemicals to carpentry equipment. They took over academic libraries, jealously competed over chemists, and schemed to deny the fruits of German invention to any other land—including that of other Allied nations.
    Drawing on declassified records, O'Reagan looks at which techniques worked for these very different nations, as well as which failed—and why. Most importantly, he shows why securing this technology, how the Allies did it, and when still matters today. He also argues that these programs did far more than spread German industrial science: they forced businessmen and policymakers around the world to rethink how science and technology fit into diplomacy, business, and society itself.
    Douglas M. O'Reagan is a historian of technology, industry, and national security. He earned his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.
    Craig Sorvillo is a PhD candidate in modern European history at the University of Florida. He specializes in Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust. He can be reached at craig.sorvillo@gmail.com or on twitter @craig_sorvillo.
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    • 50 min
    Joel Waldfogel, "Digital Renaissance: What Data and Economics Tell Us about the Future of Popular Culture" (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Joel Waldfogel, "Digital Renaissance: What Data and Economics Tell Us about the Future of Popular Culture" (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Digitization is reshaping creative industries. Old gatekeepers in music, publishing, television, movies, and other industries no longer play such an important role, and digital piracy makes it easy for consumers to avoid paying companies, artists, and writers for what they produce. On the other hand, independents can now cheaply produce and distribute creative works both to niche and mass market audiences.
    In Digital Renaissance: What Data and Economics Tell Us about the Future of Popular Culture (Princeton UP, 2020), Economist Joel Waldfogel uses data about the quantity, quality, and mass appeal of these works to make the case that this has on balance made us all better off, resulting in a digital renaissance.
    In this interview, we discuss the findings in his book and how he arrives at them. I also get his perspective on some developments since his book came out, like the rise of Spotify, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the impact of the pandemic on digitization. He also unwittingly gives me the opportunity to tell everyone with an Amazon device in the house to say “Alexa, Beethoven’s pathetic!” and enjoy the result.
    If you want to buy the NFT for Waldfogel’s famously Scroogey paper “The Deadweight Loss of Christmas,” he is open to bids and promises to donate the proceeds to charity, unlike Scrooge. You can also follow him on Twitter.
    Host Peter Lorentzen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of San Francisco, where he leads a new digital economy-focused Master's program in Applied Economics.
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    • 47 min

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