Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet


Olga Goriunova gave a stunning presentation a few weeks ago at the PARGC 2016 Symposium, Convergence and Disjuncture in Global Digital Culture. It was called Idiot, Lurker, Troll: Conceptual Personae in Digital Media and it got me looking up her work. Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet (2012) does not disappoint. In it Goriunova provides a new way of looking at how cultural forms on the Internet are developed. To this end she deploys the concept of “art platforms” which does a lot of heaving lifting throughout the book. I’ve pulled a few excerpts from the Introduction that tease out what she means by it. This book is part of the  Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies which has a lot of other great titles though, sadly, they all have the same cover designs (less work for artists).

from INTRODUCTION: Departing from an Art Platform

“…Everyday digital objects, gestures, and the assemblages, such as file uploads and downloads, form filling, data handling, searches and postings, protocols, scripts, software structures, and modification parameters are all plugged in to contemporary aesthetics and coconstruct the ways in which the individual, cultural, and social spheres are produced, organized, and disrupted. Art platforms both conform to and are part of this overall development, but they also stand out from it in very striking ways.

…an art platform can be a stand-alone website that, together with other actors, forms an ecology of aesthetic production, but might also take place as a subconnection of a large platform, or even as a space between a corporate service, artists’ work, hacking, collaborative engagement, and a moment of aesthetic fecundity. An art platform engages with a specific current of technosocial creative practices and aims at the amplification of its aesthetic force.

…As a process of emergence, an art platform is an assemblage of structures, notes, codes, ideas, emails, decisions, projects, databases, excitement, humour, mundane work, and conflict. Here an art platform is best understood through the metaphor of a railway platform, as an element that unfolds in its arriving and departing trains, in tracks that cover vast spaces, in the forests those rails run through and the lakes they pass by, in the hills and sunsets forming the landscape, in the rain on the train’s window, in the mechanics of an engine, logistics of rolling stock, semaphores, encounters, but it is a resonance, a movement, an operation. The capillaries of aesthetic emergence in art platforms draw from the technical materiality of networks, databases, and software; from grass-roots, folklore creativity; from forces of repetition and sociality; from conflictual border zones and disjuctures between normality, capitalism, politics, quotidian labour and despair, escape, and creation.”  –pp. 1, 2, 3

Booknotes — Winter 2015

Acid Hype: American News Media and the Psychedelic Experience, by Stephen Siff (University of Illinois, acid2015). “The rich content of consumer magazines, especially those published before television became culturally dominant, remains largely unexamined by media historians…illustrates how rewarding [the] study of mass-circulation magazines can be.” –Joseph Bernt, Ohio University

Audience Responses to Real Media Violence: The Knockout Game, by Mary Grace Antony (Lexington Books, 2015). Presents quantitative assessments of student reactions to watching videos of an activity called the ‘knockout game,’ in which adults are physically attacked by other adults for the sheer ‘entertainment’ of the attackers. The book “points our attention to a controversy that has been known to researchers for a long time: real portrayals of violence are likely to have greater effects than fictional ones…[Book] is casual and accessible, and shares some uncomfortable truths about what we’re watching on the internet.” –Joanne Savage, American University

Broadcasting Modernity: Cuban Commercial Television, 1950-1960, by Yeidy M. Rivero (Duke, 2015) “A riveting account of the complex struggles over the introduction of television as both a symbol and site of Cuban modernization during the 1950s. Set against the backdrop of hemispheric politics and Cold War struggle, television proved to be a linchpin of political and cultural transformation throughout the island nation and ultimately across the Americas.” –Michael Curtin, University of California, Santa Barbara

cementThe Cement of Civil Society: Studying Networks in Localities, by Mario Diani (Cambridge, 2015). “By moving beyond aggregative, trait-based views of social and political structure to relational conceptions, Diani deftly turns the kaleidoscope to reveal heretofore unseen patterns in civil society. His fascinating findings supplement some existing literature while turning some traditional conclusions on their heads. This work creates a new, compelling imperative for incorporating complex network dynamics into research on civil society organizing.” –Janet L. Fulk, University of Southern California

Complex TV: The Poetrics of Contemporary Television’s Storytelling, by Jason Mittell (New York University, 2015). “One of the most exciting books I have ever read. Each chapter contains useful and well-defined terms to put to work in formal analysis, and every argument is backed up with lively, detailed, and entertaining complexreadings of familiar TV texts. The result is a rich and thorough piece of scholarship that will do for television studies what David Bordwell’s historical poetics has famously done for film.” –Robyn Warhol, Ohio State University

Deep Mapping the Media City, by Shannon Mattern (University of Minnesota, 2015). Author “advocates for urban media archaeology, a multisensory approach to investigating the material history of networked cities…explores the material assemblages and infrastructures that have shaped the media city by taking archaeology literally—using techniques like excavation and mapping to discover the modern city’s roots in time.” –publisher’s description

Extreme Weather and Global Media, edited by Julia Leyda and Diane Negra (Routledge, 2015) “This is a highly original collection of essays, bringing the insights of a critical media studies to the environmental humanities in order to elaborate the complexities of the cultural politics implicated in the ‘hypermediation’ of extreme weather events.” ―Graeme Turner, University of Queensland

Going to War in Iraq: When Citizens and the Press Matter, by Stanley Feldman (University of Chicago, 2015). “The most comprehensive investigation into how news coverage influenced American public opinion during the run up to the Iraq War…presents a novel and well-written analysis that will make a lasting contribution to the scholarly literatures on American politics, international relations, public opinion, and political communication.” –Scott L. Althaus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

gourmandGourmands and Gluttons: The Rhetoric of Food Excess, by Carlnita P. Greene (Peter Lang, 2015). An analysis of how we talk and write about food revealing that the 19th century glutton and gourmand characters (and characatuers) are alive and well in contemporary media and pop culture.

The Informal Media Economy, by Ramon Lobato and Julian Thomas (Politty, 2015). “Reaching beyond the tired platitudes and self-interested rhetoric of media piracy debates, Lobato and Thomas examine the elaborate interdependence between formal and informal media economies. The book ranges across seemingly discrete corners of the media economy, examining such issues as innovation, circulation and value. Along the way, the authors deliver lucid, thoughtful and provocative insights regarding topics that are absolutely central to media industry studies today.”–Michael Curtin, University of California, Santa Barbara

#iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online Life, by Negar Mottahedeh (Stanford, 2015). “Offers a fresh perspective on the role of social media in the 2009 protest movement in Iran. Moving beyond clichéd analysis, Mottahedeh offers a nuanced mapping of the ways social media was integrated into the lived experiences of Iranian political life. In tracing the organic development of the Green Movement, the book provides glimpses into the ways Iran’s history continues to color political memory and animate social movements.” —Shiva Balaghi, Brown University

islamicIslamic State: The Digital Caliphate, by Abdel Bari Atwan (University of California, 2015. “Based on visits to the Turkish-Syrian border, online interviews with jihadists, and the access to leaders he enjoys as one of the Arab world’s most respected journalists, Atwan draws a convincing picture of the Islamic State as a well-run organization that combines bureaucratic efficiency and military expertise with a sophisticated use of information technology.”—Malise Ruthven, New York Review of Books

It’s Been Beautiful: Soul! and Black Power Television, by Gayle Wald (Duke, 2015) “Offers new ways of interrogating the imbricated discourses of Civil Rights and Black Power politics in the context of popular culture…contributes to cultural and televisual studies, adds new dimensions to sonic studies and black performance studies, intervenes in and expands the racial and political dimensions of affect studies, and builds in exciting ways on new advances in black queer cultural studies.” –Daphne A. Brooks, Yale University

Making “Nature”: The History of a Scientific Journal, by Melinda Baldwin (University of Chicago, 2015). “We often think of scientific journals as receptacles for knowledge created elsewhere. But Baldwin shows that Nature, one natureof the premier journals in the world, was not a passive vessel, but rather a site where the rules of science themselves were debated and developed. Its pages were where scientists defined what it meant to do science: professionalization, peer review, science and internationalism, and the role of science in the public sphere…presents a powerful argument for the critical role of publishing in the creation of modern science.” –Mathew Stanley, New York University

indiaMaking News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics, by Sahana Udupa (Cambridge, 2015) “Ranks among the most important theoretical and ethnographic studies of news media in South Asia to be published in recent years. [Author] argues convincingly that our assumptions about publicity and privacy, vernacular and standard, local and global need to be rethought in order to fully understand the operations of news media in India’s ‘world-class’ cities.”–Dominic Boyer, Rice University

Media and Cosmopolitanism, edited by Aybige Yilmaz, Ruxandra Trandafoiu, and Aris Mousoutzanis (Peter Lang, 2015). Essays exploring the existing research and theory about cosmopolitanism via case studies and dialogues with the broader disciplines of media and cultural studies to illuminate “the central issue of the book: the role played by the media, in its various forms, in either encouraging or discouraging cosmopolitanist identifications among its audiences.” –publisher’s description

The Media and Public Life: A History, by John Nerone (Polity, 2015). “A masterpiece of media history, a lively, sensible story of memorable moments involving the press, politics, and public. John Nerone’s definitive social and institutional account will guide everyone from beginners to experts studying communication media at the core of late modern life.”– Kevin Barnhurst, University of Leeds

Media Matter: The Materiality of Media, Matter as Medium, edited by Bernd Herzogenrath (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015) “In recent years the concept of medium (and with it the whole field of media studies) has been repeatedly redefined, particularly by scholars in the German-speaking countries. Media|Matter is an original and important contribution to that process of redefinition. Contributors to this anthology address a range of media forms and practices, including print, film, video and performance art, and sonic art. They apply and often critique a range of theoretical approaches, including media philosophy, systems theory, actor-network theory, feminist theory, the work of Deleuze and Guattari, the art theory of Kraus and Foster, and more. Their varied contributions share a foundational concern with the question of the materiality of media: each essay seeks within its domain to explore the form and matter of contemporary media without resorting to either technological or cultural determinism. Everyone interested in the current condition and the future of media studies should read [this].” –Jay David Bolter, Georgia Institute of Technology

fandomMillennial Fandom: Television Audiences in the Transmedia Age, by Louisa Ellen Stein (University of Iowa, 2015). “Traverses the networked contours of a rapidly fragmenting media culture to represent fandom in positive, political, and productive ways…spotlights a new generation and offers an important window on contemporary developments in transmedia storytelling and net-based fan cultures.”—Mark Duffett, University of Chester

The Motherhood Business: Consumption, Communication, and Privilege, edited by Anne Teresa Demo, Jennifer L. Borda, and Charlotte Krolokke (University of Alabama, 2015). “The synergy between motherhood and the marketplace demonstrated across the essays affirms the stronghold of ‘intensive mothering ideology’ in decisions over what mothers buy and how they brand their businesses even as that ideology evolves. Across diverse contexts…also identifies how different forms or privilege shape how mothers construct their identities through their consumption and entrepreneurship.” –publisher’s description

Participatory Culture in a Networked Era: A Conversation on Youth, Learning, Commerce, and Politics, by Henry Jenkins, Mimi Ito, and danna boyd (Polity, 2015). “The idea of scholarship as dialogue is one that particlies buried deep within the humanities. In the pages of this engaging and accessible book, Jenkins, Ito and boyd have brought the ethos of dialogue very much to the surface. Their conversation is an entirely apt technique for reflecting on what is by now a sustained history of collaboration on questions of informal learning, participation and power in the evolving digital media environment.” –Jean Burgess, Queensland University of Technology

Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up, by Philip N. Howard (Yale, 2015). “Addresses the implications of digital media, big data, and related phenomena for democracy and public life. Pundits, policymakers, and those curious about the changing landscape of media, politics, and global affairs should take note.”—Seth Lewis, University of Minnesota

Post-TV: Piracy, Cord-Cutting, and the Future of Television, by Michael Strangelove (University of Toronto, 2015). Insight into the practices of the growing television audience that bypasses traditional television viewing.

Reporting in the MENA Region: Cyber Engagement and Pan-Arab Social Media, by Mohammad Ayish and Noha Mellor (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). “The authors “bring to life journalists’ ongoing struggles with—and accommodations to—the state, the market, civil society, and their own news organizations to define the future of social media. In so doing, [they] challenge over-optimistic claims about the Arab Spring’s democratizing legacy and provide a benchmark for future comparative research.” –Rodney Benson, New York University

Surveillance Cinema, by Catherine Zimmer (New York University, 2105). “[A] genuinely groundbreaking study. cinemaTimely, ideologically engaged and passionate in its critique both of contemporary geopolitics and the cinematic works that depict its sites of contestation, this is a book of significant interest to scholars in the fields of film studies and surveillance studies…and to those of us who are, quite justifiably, haunted by the sense that someone, somewhere is watching.” —Linnie Blake, Times Higher Education

That’s the Way It Is: A History of Television News in America, by Charles L. Ponce de Leon (Chicago, 2015). “A brisk and informative history of television news since its inception in the late 1940s, covering the more than six decades of TV news from Douglas Edwards to Diane Sawyer, from the Camel News Caravan to Countdown with Keith Olbermann. The narrative moves quickly, yet pauses to offer extended discussions of such topics as the genesis of PBS, the establishment of CNN, the innovations of Roone Arledge at ABC, and the ways that local news helped to reshape the network evening newscasts.” –Chester Pach, Ohio University

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture, by Whitney Phillips (MIT, 2015). “Given the social anxiety surrounding online antagonism and mischief generally, and the confusion surrounding trolling specifically, it is about time someone wrote this book. Building on deep empirical research, Phillips has given us a rich, comprehensive, and wonderfully engaging account of the identities and practices of trolling, both as a historically situated subculture and as a dynamic of the digital media environment.” —Jean Burgess, Queensland University of Technology

Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone, edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe (Duke, 2015). “Shows how the Israeli Occupation of Palestine is driven by the unequal access to visual rights, or the right to control what can be seen, how, and from which position. Israel occupationsmaintains this unequal balance by erasing the history and denying the existence of Palestinians, and by carefully concealing its own militarization. Israeli surveillance of Palestinians, combined with the militarized gaze of Israeli soldiers at places like roadside checkpoints, also serve as tools of dominance. Hochberg analyzes various works by Palestinian and Israeli artists, among them Elia Suleiman, Rula Halawani, Sharif Waked, Ari Folman, and Larry Abramson, whose films, art, and photography challenge the inequity of visual rights by altering, queering, and manipulating dominant modes of representing the conflict. These artists’ creation of new ways of seeing—such as the refusal of Palestinian filmmakers and photographers to show Palestinian suffering or the Israeli artists’ exposure of state manipulated Israeli blindness —offers a crucial gateway, Hochberg suggests, for overcoming and undoing Israel’s militarized dominance and political oppression of Palestinians.” –publisher’s description

Who Governs?: Presidents, Public Opinion, and Manipulation, by James N. Druckman and Lawrence R. Jacobs (University of Chicago, 2015). “based on confidential documents from three US presidents, sheds new light on the relationship between America’s political elites and its citizens. The picture is not pretty: presidents of both political parties seek to manipulate, distract, and often mislead the public in their pursuit of narrow interests that do not benefit the majority of citizens. A compelling, important, and sobering account that underscores just how far America has drifted from the democratic ideal of a government of, by, and for the people.”—Martin Gilens (Princeton, 2015)

Worker Resistance and Media: Challenging Global Corporate Power in the 21st Century, by Lina workerDencik and Peter Wilkin (Peter Lang, 2015). “For anyone interested in globalisation, inequality, new communications technology and social movements… lucid, anchored in empirical research, engages intelligently with globalisation theory, and is not confined to the west…an important and original book.” –James Curran, Goldsmiths, University of London

You’re Dead—So What: Media Police and the Invisibility of Black Women as Victims of Homicide, by Cheryl L. Neely (Michigan State University, 2015). “Just as the media are effective in helping to increase police response, law enforcement officials reach out to news outlets to solicit help from the public in locating a missing person or solving a murder. However, a deeply troubling disparity in reporting the disappearance and homicides of female victims reflects racial inequality and institutionalized racism in the social structure that need to be addressed. It is this disparity this important study seeks to solve.” –publisher’s description

Spring 2015 Booknotes

The Agon of Interpretations: Towards a Critical Intercultural Hermeneutics, edited by Ming Xie (Toronto University Press, 2015). “Writers from eight countries on five continents not only lay out  agon3the importance of critical hermeneutics to intercultural understanding but also probe the conditions under which a hermeneutics that is both intercultural and critical can be possible.” –publisher’s description

American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street, by Paul Ravinowitz (Princeton, 2015). The role of pulp in widening the landscape of Americans’ experience. . . . An ardent collector of pulp fiction, Rabinowitz brings to this scholarly study a passion for the genre and an authoritative analysis of its meaning in American culture.”-Kirkus Reviews

Animating Film Theory, edited by Karen Beckman (Duke, 2014).  Film theory and animation have existed in separate towers for the most part, until this book.  The contributors bring these two together, accounting for the separation and proceeding to tackle theoretical concepts such as “the still, the moving image, the frame, animism, and utopia” as they relate to animation.

jussiThe Anthrobscene, by Jussi Parikka (University of Minnesota, 2015). The author sees discarded media as our geological legacy. The term “anthropocene” is “an alternative deep time in which media live on in the layer of toxic waste we will leave behind.” Wild stuff.  This book is part of the Forerunners: Ideas First Series at the University of Minnesota Press (gray literature publishing at it best).

Bio-pics: A Life in Pictures, by Ellen Cheshire (Columbia, 2014). “Unlike other genre forms bio-pics seemingly share no familiar iconography, codes or conventions. They can be set anywhere and at any time. What links them is quite simply that the films depict the life of an ‘important’ person. Through a carefully selected range of thematically linked (English-language) bio-pics released since 1990 this book explores key issues surrounding their resurgence, narrative structure, production, subject representation or misrepresentation, and critical response. The films under discussion are grouped around a profession (writers, singers, politicians, sportsmen, criminals, artists)…”—publisher’s description

Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words That Made an American Movement, by Michael J. Lee (Michigan State University, 2014). Discusses the postwar books that nourished the conservative and libertarian movements.

Digital Rebellion: The Birth of the Cyber Left, by Todd Wolfson (University of Illinois, 2015) ” By situating the independent media center historically and theoretically, Wolfson offers a superb clear-eyed analysis of contemporary leftist politics. Through ethnographic research he carefully documents the emergence of this new politics and also points to its ideological and strategic limitations. This is a must-read book for not only academics interested in the relationships between technology, democracy, and activism, but also for anyone concerned about creating social change.” –Victor Pickard, University of Pennsylvania

Expect Us: Online Communities and Political Mobilization, by Jessica L. Beyer (Oxford, 2014).”Contrary to many scholars’ assumptions that entertainment-based media uses are corrosive to political participation, Beyer shows that a large amount of political talk and notable political action can develop from entertainment-focused spaces. This book is a must read for scholars of online activism and contemporary activism more generally.” –Jennifer Earl, University of Arizona expect

Feed-Forward: On the Future of Twenty-First Century Media, by Mark B.N. Hansen (University of Chicago, 2015). “embarks on a rigorously philosophical appraisal of Whitehead in relation to our contemporary socio-technical milieu and in the process unfolds a remarkable constellation of interlocking theses about human experience. A Hansen book is always an anticipated event but Feed Forward is truly extraordinary. It fundamentally alters the terms of the debate about human perception and cognition in twenty-first-century media environments.” –Rita Raley, University of California at Santa Barbara

Feeling Mediated: A History of Media Technology and Emotion in America, by Brenton J. Malin (New York University, 2014). Explores the historical roots of much of our recent understanding of mediated feelings, showing how earlier ideas about the telegraph, phonograph, radio, motion pictures, and other once-new technologies continue to inform our contemporary thinking. With insightful analysis, Feeling Mediated explores a series of fascinating arguments about technology and emotion that became especially heated during the early 20th century.” –publisher’s description mediated

Flicker: Your Brain on Movies, by Jeffrey M. Zacks (Oxford, 2015) . Cognitive neuroscience looks at physical and emotional responses to watching movies.

Forensic Media: Reconstructing Accidents in Accelerated Modernity, by George Siegel (Duke, 2015) “considers how photographic, electronic, and digital media have been used to record and reconstruct accidents, particularly high-speed crashes and catastrophes…demonstrates that forensic media are as much technologies of cultural imagination as they are instruments of scientific inscription, as imbued with ideological fantasies as they are compelled by institutional rationales.” –Publisher’s description foren

Harold Innis’s History of Communications: Paper and Printing–Antiquity to Early Modernity, edited by William J. Buxton, Michael R. Cheney, and Paul Heyer (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). The editors mount the three core chapters from Innis’s legendary history of communications manuscript. “Ranging widely across time and space, Innis presents a kaleidoscopic portrait of the various surfaces, writing systems, and practices that have shaped human communication. Framed by the authors’ excellent introduction, this book offers a fascinating new perspective on the linkages between material and cultural history that Innis was making in his later work.”–Michigan State University

Hate Crime in the Media: A History, by Victoria Munro (Praeger, 2014). “Analysis of how media texts signify sociocultural hierarchies that function to produce and maintain intergroup hate…employs a discourse analysis approach to show how the mass media serve as a “ring” in which ideologies of dominance and subjugation clash to manifest cultural meanings of Otherness.” –Choice

The Invention of News: How the World Came to Know About Itself, by Andrew Pettegree (Yale, 2014). “A study of the development of a commercial culture of news in the five centuries between the late middle ages and the breakthrough to a daily press at the end of the eighteenth century. It draws on research in ten European countries and North America, and charts the growth of a multimedia information culture that encompassed manuscript and print, correspondence and conversation, gossip, singing and official proclamations.  This multi-media world proved a challenging news environment for the first newspaper, published at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and it would be two hundred years before newspapers became the normative, or even predominant form of news delivery.”— invent

Language of Terror: Now Neuroscience Influences Political Speech in the United States, by Wesley Kendall, Joseph M. Siracusa, and Kevin Noguchi (Rowan and Littlefield, 2015). “Examine[s] how the human brain reacts to expressions of political ideology regarding terrorism. [The authors] apply these reactions to specific forms of political communication, many of which are designed to elicit a desired response in creating support for a policymaker’s agenda. By comparing and contrasting a variety of case studies, they demonstrate how similar acts accompanied by starkly different political language can create cognitive dissonance in the minds of the electorate and influence policy choices.” –publisher’s description

The Marketplace of Attention: How Audiences Take Shape in a Digital Age, by James G. Webster (MIT, 2014). “Theories of selective exposure, bubbles, preference formation, rational ignorance, uses and gratification, scheduling patterns, and counter-programming all vie for attention. This book skillfully draws these theories and evidence together to answer a simple but vexing question: how much do we know about how audiences are generated, and what does that imply about the marketplace of ideas?” —James T. Hamilton, Hearst Professor of Communication, Stanford University atten

The Media Welfare State: Nordic Media in the Digital Era, by Trine Syvertsen, et al. (University of Michigan, 2014) “While many in critical media studies bemoan a homogeneous media culture and global neoliberalism, the authors undertake a sophisticated analysis of a ‘Nordic model’ of the media welfare state that is culturally and institutionally grounded, but avoids crude comparativism and is sensitive to economic and technological forces challenging long-established policy settlements.” –Terry Flew, Queensland University of Technology

Necromedia, by Marcel O’Gorman (University of Minnesota, 2015) “Inspired in part by the work of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, O’Gorman begins by suggesting that technology provides human beings with a cultural hero system built on the denial of death and a false promise of immortality. This theory adds an existential zest to the book, allowing the author not only to devise a creative diagnosis of what Bernard Stiegler has called the malaise of contemporary technoculture but also to contribute a potential therapy—one that requires embracing human finitude, infusing care into the process of technological production, and recognizing the vulnerability of all things, human and nonhuman.” –publisher’s description necro

On ‘The Wire”, by Linda Williams (Duke, 2014)  “Revolutionizes the ways we approach the series…a provocative, productive analysis that makes an essential contribution to the sociology of television: not only how to think of television as social force but its own ability to constitute sociological investigation.”
–Dana Polan (Film Quarterly)

A Press Divided: Newspaper Coverage of the Civil War, edited by David B Sachsman (Transaction Books, 2014). “The sheer variety and range of contentious opinions, issues, and events in every area treated will startle many readers. Problems besetting seven states discussed, for example, and multiple divisions in government (especially in the South, where top leaders espoused divergent ideologies) raise anew questions about how a viable union survived. The book underscores the continuing value of this era as a site for study of a nation in crisis, as well as for study of solutions and of the human condition.”
—Hazel Dicken-Garcia, professor emerita, University of Minnesota

playersPlayers and Their Pets: Gaming Communities from Beta to Sunset, by Mia Consalvo and Jason Begy (University of Minnesota, 2015) “A deep dive into a rich online world and a rare opportunity to see a the nearly complete life cycle of a game. A great read for anyone interested in studying, designing, or thinking about online games and virtual worlds.”—Christopher A. Paul, Seattle University

The Real Cyber War: The Political Economy of Internet Freedom, by Shawn M. Powers and Michael Jablonski  University of Illinois, 2015).”Connect[s] disparate and significant dots; weave history, technology, and law together; and explain interrelated complex concepts imaginatively. They tell a compelling story key for any student of transnational information flows.”–Monroe Price (University of Pennsylvania) real

Rhetorical Touch: Disability, Identification, Haptics, by Shannon Walters (University of South Carolina, 2015). The author makes a strong case for role of touch in rhetorical practices for populations often excluded by such practices.

Savage Preservation: The Savage Origins of Modern Media Technology, by Brian Hochman (University of Minnesota, 2014). Drawing extensively on seldom-seen archival sources—from phonetic alphabets and sign language drawings to wax cylinder recordings and early color photographs—Hochman uncovers the parallel histories of ethnography and technology in the turn-of-the-century period. While conventional wisdom suggests that media technologies work mostly to produce ideas about race, Savage Preservation reveals that the reverse has also been true. During this period, popular conceptions of race constructed the authority of new media technologies as reliable archives of the real.’—Chris Sterling, Communication Booknotes Quarterly

seeingSeeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images, by Finis Dunaway (University of Chicago, 2015).”surveys the relationships among visual images and American environmentalism from the Cold War 1950s to the eco-consciousness of today, looking at a wide variety of images and media sources including ads, photo-essays, movies, cartoons, and comic books, and contextualizing them within larger discussions about affect, public life, environmental citizenship, and the limits of visual democracy. This accessible and informative book is sure to appeal to numerous readers including those in American history, American Studies, geography, media studies, and environmental studies.” –Erika Doss, University of Notre Dame

Sexting Panic: Rethinking Criminalization, Privacy, and Consent, by Amy Adele Hasinoff (University of Illinois, 2015).”Challenges the idea that sexting inevitably victimizes young women…encourages us to recognize young people’s capacity for choice and recommends responses to sexting that are realistic and nuanced rather than based on misplaced fears about deviance, sexuality, and digital media” –publisher’s description

Social Media in the Courtroom : A New Era for Criminal Justice?, by Thaddeus A. Hoffmeister. (Praeger, 2014) “Social media hasn’t just changed society–it’s changing the way in which criminal law is prosecuted, defended, and adjudicated.” –publisher’s description

Theories of the Mobile Internet: Materialities and Imaginaries, edited by Andrew Herman, Jan Hadlaw, and Thom Swiss. (Routledge, 2015). The mobile internet (via phones or tablets) is a discussed by scholars from a variety of disciplines with an eye on the concepts of materialities (the political economy of communication, physical devices) and imaginaries (cultural values, desires and perceptions).

tribalTribal Television: Viewing Native People in Sitcoms, by Dustin Tahmahkera (University of North Carolina, 2015).”Focusing on the need for critical indigenous popular cultural studies, this ambitious book offers an important and timely frame through which to consider how discourses on indigenous identities and relations between Natives and non-Natives have been shaped by decades of situational comedies. Providing important insights into an archive that is generally dismissed as frivolous, Tahmahkera assesses television history to chart some of the major developments in twentieth-century federal Indian policy and their impact on popular culture.” –Jodi Byrd, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Vital Conversations: Improving Communication Between Doctors and Patients, by Dennis Rosen. (Columbia, 2014) Drawing upon research in biomedicine, sociology, and anthropology and integrating personal stories from his medical practice in three different countries (and as a patient), Rosen shows how important good communication between physicians and patients is to high-quality–and less-expensive–care.”–publishers’ description

What We See When We Read: A Phenomenology, by Peter Mendelsund (Vintage Books, 2014). Philosophical look at what we see when we read that includes, according to the New York Times book review of 3/31/14, “a sketch of Anna Karenina produced from police composite-sketch software, based on descriptions from the text.”

Communication and the Moon

Two interesting books came out this year relating to the moon.  marketingthemoonIn Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program by David Meerman Scott, Richard Jurek (MIT Press, 2014), the authors give us a detailed account of the PR campaigns and subsequent media coverage of the Apollo missions. It is not only a well written book, it’s a beautiful book, full of photographs and  illustrations.

Joshua Rothman in the  New Yorker’s August review observes: “…If there was a central pillar to the Apollo P.R. effort, it was live television. Scott and Jurek chart the continual battle within NASA over live TV. On one side were the engineers and military types, who viewed onboard television cameras as an unnecessary addition to the mission payload, or even as an invasion of astronaut privacy. On the other side were the administrators and public-relations specialists, who argued that television was, in some ways, the point of the mission. To the pro-TV faction, the medium had an ideological meaning: when faced with opposition from the engineering team, Julian Scheer, NASA’s director of P.R., said, “We’re not the Soviets. Let’s do this the American way….CBS covered the Apollo 11 landing for thirty-two continuous hours; it set up special screens in Central Park so that people could watch in a crowd. Ninety-four per cent of TV-owning American households tuned in. Without television, the moon landing would have been a merely impressive achievement — an expensive stunt, to the cynical. Instead, seen live, unedited, and everywhere, it became a genuine experience of global intimacy.”

Then there’s No Requiem for the Space Age: The Apollo Moon Landings and American Culture by Matthew D. Trippe (Oxford University Press, 2014) which takes a more cultural view.  It looks at the space program through the lens of of cultural artifact such as movies, novels, rock albums, and religious tracts of the 1960s and 70s and proceeds to analyze why support for the NASA missions decreased throughout the 70s.  requiem One of the reasons had to do with the growing conflict between the more straightlaced-rational-military/scientific culture versus the more mystical-rebellious-skeptical of authority (including scientific) counterculture. NPR’s Robert Krulwich reviewing the book in his blog, Krulich Wonders (July 16, 2014), points out another of Tribbe’s explanations which I find even more interesting (at least it’s less obvious), one that has to do with rhetoric, which he devotes a whole chapter to.

“People, he thinks, were eager to hear what it was like to escape the Earth’s atmosphere, to travel weightlessly, to touch down on an alien planet, to be the first explorers to leave “home,” and too often (much too often), the astronauts talked about these things using the same words — “beautiful,” “fantastic” — over and over. If space exploration was to be a grand adventure, it needed explorers who could take us there, tell us how it felt, explorers who could connect with those of us who can’t (but want to) come along. Inarticulateness, Tribbe thinks, hurt the space program.”

Even if your research these days has no lunar bearings whatsoever, both books look like fascinating reads.


Winter 2013 Booknotes

The Allure of the Archives, by Arlett Farge (Yale, 2013) A new translation of a classic. “Originally published in 1989, Farge’s classic work communicates the tactile, interpretive, and emotional experience of archival research while sharing astonishing details about life under the Old Regime in France. At once a practical guide to research methodology and an elegant literary reflection on the challenges of writing history, this uniquely rich volume demonstrates how surrendering to the archive’s allure can forever change how we understand the past.” –publisher’s description 

The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World, by Howard Gardner and Katie Davis (Yale, 2013). The authors “approach their subject in a constructive spirit, providing analytical tools to distinguish among apps, the ones that will stifle and the ones that will nurture.” –Sherry Turkle, MIT

The Arab Avant-Garde: Music, Politics, Modernity, edited by Thomas Burkhalter, Kay Dickinson, and Benjamin J. Harbart (Wesleyan University, 2013). “Investigates the plethora of compositional and improvisational techniques, performance styles, political motivations, professional trainings, and inter-continental collaborations that claim the mantle of “innovation” within Arab and Arab diaspora music.” –publisher’s description
Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace (Random House, 2013). An in-depth look at the growing insecurity of the Internet…a meticulous examination of the “malicious threats that are growing from the inside out” and which “threaten to destroy the fragile ecosystem we have come to take for granted.”—Adam Thierer, George Mason University

Communicating Climate Change and Energy Security: New Methods in Understanding Audiences, by Greg Philo and Catherine Happer (Routledge, 2013). “Examines the contemporary public debate on climate change and the linked issue of energy security…The authors address fundamental questions about how to adequately inform the public and develop policy in areas of great social importance when public distrust of politicians is so widespread. The new methods of attitudinal research pioneered here combined with the attention to climate change have application and resonance beyond the UK. –publisher’s description

The Cool School: Writing from America’s Hip Underground, edited by Glenn O’Brien (Library of America, 2013). “A kaleidoscopic guided tour through the margins and subterranean tribes of mid-twentieth century America—the worlds of jazz, of disaffected postwar youth, of those alienated by racial and sexual exclusion, of outlaws and drug users creating their own dissident networks. Whether labeled as Bop or Beat or Punk, these outsider voices ignored or suppressed by the mainstream would merge and recombine in unpredictable ways, and change American culture forever.” –publisher’s description

Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter, by Ilya Somin (Stanford, 2013). “Illuminates both the extent of political ignorance and why maintaining such ignorance is rational for voters who recognize the near-futility of their efforts at political engagement.”—Sanford Levinson, The University of Texas Law School

The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism From World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties, by Fred Turner (University of Chicago. 2013). “Adazzling cultural history that demonstrates how American intellectuals, artists, and designers from the 1930s to the 1960s imagined new kinds of collective events—different from fascism’s crowds—that were intended to promote a powerful experience of American democracy in action. Drawing parallels across a wide set of venues—from MoMA’s Road to Victory and Family of Manshows of the mid-century period to the 1959 National Exhibition in Moscow to the Happenings of the sixties counterculture, Turner challenges us to think about the lines between information, entertainment, art, and propaganda. Along the way he shows how important the media have become to the design of collective experiences and forms of democratic citizenship” –Lynn Spigel, Northwestern University
Different Bodies: Essays on Disability in Film and Television, edited by Marja Evelyn Mogk (McFarland, 2013). ”Collection of 19 new essays by 21 different authors from the United States, the UK, Canada, Australia and India focusing on contemporary film and television (1989 to the present) from those countries as well as from China, Korea, Thailand and France.

Digital Politics in Western Democracies: A Comparative Study by Cristian Vaccari (Johns Hopkins, 2013). “Greatly advances our understanding of digital politics while engaging with the wider debates in political science, as well as media and communications studies, through rigorous comparative analysis and engaging writing.” –Bruce Bimber, University of California, Santa Barbara

Framing the Net: The Internet and Human Rights, by Rikke Frank Jorgensen (Edward Elgar, 2013). “Deconstructing four key metaphors– the Internet as infrastructure, public sphere, medium and culture…shows where the challenges to human rights protection online lie and how to confront them…develops clear policy proposals for national and international Internet policy-makers, all based on human rights.”Wolfgang Benedek, University of Graz, Austria

The Future of Social Movement Research: Dynamics, Mechanisms, and Processes, edited by Jacquelien van Stekelenburg, Conny Roggeband, and Bert Klandermans (University of Minnesota, 2013). “ Major, very important work which brings together the leading lights in the international, interdisciplinary, invisible college of social movement scholars…combines thoughtful essays on the state of the art in the study of contentious politics with grounded speculation on the many still unanswered or incompletely answered questions. The authors do an excellent job of distinguishing what is based on solid empirical research and what would require additional research to answer with confidence.” –William Gamson, Boston College 

The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election,by John Sides and Lynn Vavreck (Princeton, 2013). “The 2012 election was when Moneyball defeated Game Change–and Sides and Vavreck explain why political scientists and number-crunchers were able to forecast the results well in advance, while the conventional wisdom was so often wrong…definitive account of what really happened and what really mattered in the campaign.”–Nate Silver, author of The Signal and the Noise

Hatemail, by Salo Aizenberg ( University of Nebraska, 2013). Examines the content and usage of anti-Semitic postcards throughout the world, especially during the pre-Holocaust years. 

How Media Inform Democracy: A Comparative Approach, edited by Toril Aalberg and James Curran (Routledge, 2013). Leading researchers consider how media inform democracy in six countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.

How to Watch Television, edited by Ethan Thompson and Jason Mittell (New York University, 2013). “Brings together forty original essays from today’s leading scholars on television culture, writing about the programs they care (and think) the most about. Each essay focuses on a particular television show, demonstrating one way to read the program and, through it, our media culture.” –publisher’s description 

Listening Publics: The Politics and Experience of Listening in the Media Age, by Kate Lacy (Polity, 2013). A sparkling synthesis of broadcast history and social theory that is full of original insights and nuggets from primary research…unfolds the neglected politics and ethics of the ear. A marvelously sane plea for listening as a key mode of participation in the public sphere.” –John D. Peters, University of Iowa 

Saturday Night Live and American TV, edited by Nick Mar, Matt Sienkiewicz, and Ron Becker (Indiana University Press, 2013). Critical assessment of the show in relation to its media environment.

Serial Fu Manchu: The Chinese Supervillain and the Spread of Yellow Peril Ideology, by Ruth Mayer (Temple University Press, 2013). Chinese characters in books, movies, comic books, and television since 1913. 

Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity, by Hartmut Rosa (Columbia, 2013).“…the most developed and most important social theoretical analysis of the acceleration of time from the perspective of critical theory. His theory of social acceleration is of great importance, since it explains how our social lives are speeding up, and extends critical theory into a new and fruitful avenue of inquiry — and maybe even into a new generation of social theorizing and critique.” –Jerald Wallulis, University of South Carolina.

Social Media and the Law: A Guidebook for Communication Students and Professions, edited by Daxton R. Stewart (Routledge, 2013). The legal ramifications of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Flickr in relation to issues of free speech, defamation, privacy, terms of use, intellectual property, student speech, government information, obscenity, cyberbullying, social media in courtrooms, and policies for journalist, advertisers and public relations professionals. 
Social Media in the Courtroom: A New Era for Criminal Justice?by Thaddeus A. Hoffmeister (ABC-Clio, 2013). Social media is now used as proof of a crime; further, social media has become a vehicle for criminal activity. How should the law respond to the issue of online predators, stalkers, and identity thieves? This book comprehensively examines the complex impacts of social media on the major players in the criminal justice system: private citizens, attorneys, law enforcement officials, and judges. It outlines the many ways social media affects the judicial process, citing numerous example cases that demonstrate the legal challenges; and examines the issue from all sides, including law enforcement’s role, citizens’ privacy issues, and the principles of the Fourth Amendment. –Publisher’s website
Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet, by Finn Brunton (MIT, 2013).  “Shows us how spam has coevolved with social media, an arms race where new communal tools and behaviors designed to fight spam lead to new kinds of spam, which leads to still newer tools and behaviors.” –Clay Shirky, New York University

Supercinema: Film-Philosophy for the Digital Age, by William Brown (Berghahn Books, 2013). Drawing on a variety of popular films, including Avatar, Enter the Void, Fight Club, The Matrix, Speed Racer, X-Men and War of the Worlds… studies the ways in which digital special effects and editing techniques require a new theoretical framework in order to be properly understood… proposes that while analogue cinema often tried to hide the technological limitations of its creation through ingenious methods, digital cinema hides its technological omnipotence through the continued use of the conventions of analogue cinema. As such, digital cinema is analogous to Superman hiding his powers behind the persona of Clark Kent – as opposed to most other superheroes who hide their limitation behind their superheroic alter ego. –publisher’s description

Surveillance on Screen: Monitoring Contemporary Films and Television Programs, by Sebastien Lefait (University of Corsica, 2013)  “Drawing on the rapidly developing field of surveillance studies, Lefait offers an in-depth analysis of television shows and films, which complement current theoretical approaches to those subjects. This unique combination of surveillance theories with the latest concepts of film, television, and Internet studies is based on a large and diversified range of popular series and films, including the shows 24, Lost, and Survivor as well as such films as Minority Report, Paranormal Activity, The Truman Show, and the on-screen version of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.”—publisher’s description

Summer 2013 Booknotes

The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games, by Jesper Juul (MIT, 2013). “We may think of video games as being ‘fun,’ but…Juul claims that this is almost entirely mistaken. When we play video games, our facial expressions are rarely those of happiness or bliss. Instead, we frown, grimace, and shout in frustration as we lose, or die, or fail to advance to the next level. Humans may have a fundamental desire to succeed and feel competent, but game players choose to engage in an activity in which they are nearly certain to fail and feel incompetent. So why do we play video games even though they make us unhappy? Juul examines this paradox. In video games, as in tragic works of art, literature, theater, and cinema, it seems that we want to experience unpleasantness even if we also dislike it. Reader or audience reaction to tragedy is often explained as catharsis, as a purging of negative emotions. But, Juul points out, this doesn’t seem to be the case for video game players. Games do not purge us of unpleasant emotions; they produce them in the first place. What, then, does failure in video game playing do? Juul argues that failure in a game is unique in that when you fail in a game, you (not a character) are in some way inadequate. Yet games also motivate us to play more, in order to escape that inadequacy, and the feeling of escaping failure (often by improving skills) is a central enjoyment of games. Games, writes Juul, are the art of failure: the singular art form that sets us up for failure and allows us to experience it and experiment with it…” –Publisher’s description
Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S., by H. Samy Alim (Oxford University Press, 2012)“A fabulously original work! Two of America’s leading authorities on Black Language and Culture draw on their expertise and extensive scholarship to profoundly reshape the national conversation on race–by “languaging” it. In complicating compliments about President Obama’s “articulateness,” they brilliantly analyze his artful use of language–and America’s response to it–as a springboard to consider larger, thought-provoking questions about language, education, power and what Toni Morrison has referred to as “the cruel fallout of racism.” Few sociolinguists tackle these complex issues with as much insight, sophistication, and downright directness as Alim and Smitherman. As they firmly conclude, it’s time to change the game – and this book does just that.”–John R. Rickford, Stanford University
The Ashgate Research Companion to Moral Panics, edited by Chrles Krinksy (Ashgate, 2012). “Assemblage of cutting-edge critical and theoretical perspectives on the concept of moral panic… Chapters come from a range of disciplines, including media studies, literary studies, history, legal studies, and sociology, with significant new elaborations on the concept of moral panic (and its future), informed and powerful critiques, and detailed empirical studies from several continents…addresses themes including the evolution of the moral panic concept, sex panics, media panics, moral panics over children and youth, and the future of the moral panic concept.”—Publisher’s description
Discourse 2.0: Language and New Media, by Deborah Tannen and Anna Marie Trester (Georgetown, 2013). Topics include: “how Web 2.0 can be conceptualized and theorized; the role of English on the worldwide web; how use of social media such as Facebook and texting shape communication with family and friends; electronic discourse and assessment in educational and other settings; multimodality and the “participatory spectacle” in Web 2.0; asynchronicity and turn-taking; ways that we engage with technology including reading on-screen and on paper; and how all of these processes interplay with meaning-making.” –Publisher’s description
Authentic ™: The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture, by Sarah Banet-Weiser (New York University, 2012). “…reveals how the pervasiveness of branding culture requires us to rethink our investments in authenticity and our understandings of citizenship and social membership….offers us the first fully theorized analysis of how the hegemony of branding culture and the eclipse of typographic culture by digital culture combine to make us fundamentally new kinds of social subjects.”-George Lipsitz
Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government, by Gavin Newsom and Lisa Dickey (Penguin Press, 2013) “Makes a fascinating case for a more engaged government, transformed to meet the challenges and possibilities of the 21st century, and where technology brings the critical tools of our democracy closer to its citizens than ever before.” President William J. Clinton
Contrastive Media Analysis: Approaches to Linguistic and Cultural Aspects of Mass Media Communication, edited by Stefan Hauser and Martin Luginbuhl (John Benjamins, 2012). “Brings together linguistic mass media studies with intercultural, diachronic, intermedia and interlingual perspectives…aim[s]…to advance and to broaden the methodological and theoretical discussions involved [by] comparing such diverse formats and genres like newspapers, TV news shows, TV commercials, radio phone-ins, obituaries, fanzines and film subtitles…”—Publisher’s description
Digital Memory and the Archive, by Wolfgang Ernst. (University of Minnesota, 2013). “Explores how media infrastructure, not content, shapes contemporary digital culture… the first English-language collection of the German media theorist’s work, brings together essays that present Wolfgang Ernst’s controversial materialist approach to media theory and history. His insights are central to the emerging field of media archaeology, which uncovers the role of specific technologies and mechanisms, rather than content, in shaping contemporary culture and society.” –Publisher’s description
The Digital Rights Movement: The Role of Technology in Subverting Digital Copyright, by Hector Postigo (MIT, 2013) “Postigo is among the first to provide a comprehensive discussion of the development of the digital rights movements, its key actors, and its major arguments. If you are interested in online social movements, digital rights, or participatory culture, this book is for you!” —Jennifer Earl, Professor of Sociology, University of Arizona


Documentary Film (Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies), edited by Ian Aitken (Routledge, 2012). “An authoritative reference work to enable users to navigate and make sense of the subject’s large literature and the continuing explosion in research output…brings together in four volumes the foundational and the very best cutting-edge scholarship on documentary film.” –Publisher’s description

Drugs & Media: New Perspectives on Communication, Consumption, and Consciousness, edited by Robert C. MacDougall. (Continuum, 2012). “The contributors to this cutting-edge collection apply media ecological concepts to consider how drugs function as communication technologies; literally media in and for the human sensorium. In these essays, drugs are considered as communication media in a practical sense, not merely in the metaphorical way they tend to be discussed in the popular press. Media and drugs are thus conceived as communicative tools that enhance and/or inhibit physical, social and symbolic experience–our ways of seeing and being in the world.” –Editors
iPolitics: Citizens, Elections, and Governing in the New Media Era, edited by Richard L. Fox and Jennifer M. Ramos. (Cambridge University Press, 2012). “A lively collection of essays exploring digital media and politics in the United States as well as comparatively. iPolitics covers a wide range of crucial topics, from political knowledge and participation to governance and campaigning. This book demonstrates persuasively that the implications of digital media are often complex, nuanced, and contingent.” –Bruce Bimber, University of California at Santa Barbara
The Ironic Spectator: Solidarity in the Age of Post-Humanitarianism, by Jane Abbate (MIT, 2013). “Lilie Chouliaraki is the Aristotle of mediated humanitarianism. With empirical finesse and theoretical bite, she shows how compassion for distant suffering turned from pity into glitz. And yet she defends theatricality as a potential moral force if checked by critical self-awareness. This book casts desperately needed light onto media and morality today.” —John Durham Peters, University of Iowa
Juan in a Hundred: The Representation of Latinos on Network News, by Otto Santa Ana (University of Texas, 2013). “Santa Ana calculated that among approximately 12,000 stories airing across four networks (ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC), only 118 dealt with Latinos, a ratio that has remained stagnant over the past fifteen years. Examining the content of the stories, from briefs to features, reveals that Latino-tagged events are apparently only broadcast when national politics or human calamity are involved, and even then, the Latino issue is often tangential to a news story as a whole. On global events involving Latin America, U.S. networks often remain silent while BBC correspondents prepare fully developed, humanizing coverage. The book concludes by demonstrating how this obscurity and misinformation perpetuate maligned perceptions about Latinos. Santa Ana’s inspiring calls for reform are poised to change the face of network news in America.” –Publisher’s description
Misunderstanding the Internet, by James Curran, Natalie Fenton, and Des Freedman (Routledge, 2012). “the book I have been waiting for since the late 1990s. It is a superb examination of the Internet, how we got to this point and what our options are going forward… a signature work in the political economy of communication“–Robert W. McChesney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Mommyblogs and the Changing Face of Motherhood, by May Friedman (University of Toronto, 2013). Examining the content of hundreds of mommyblogs to observe the ways that online maternal life writing provides “a front row seat to some of the most raw, offbeat, and engaging portraits of motherhood imaginable.” 
Media Commercialization and Authoritarian Rule in China, by Daniela Stockman (Cambridge University, 2013). A “multi-method analysis of the introduction of market forces in Chinese media. By communicating from the bottom up as well as from the top down… Stockmann argues that market-based media provide regime stability rather than simply a democratizing force for change in China. She enriches our understanding of China’s dynamic media environment by making cogent comparisons to trends in other authoritarian regimes. These comparisons reveal the importance of institutional factors in determining the impact of media commercialization.” –Ann N. Crigler, University of Southern California
Off the Network: Disrupting the Digital World, by Ulises Ali Mejias (University of Minnesota, 2013) “Makes the case that it is not only necessary to challenge the privatized and commercialized modes of social and civic life offered by corporate-controlled spaces such as Facebook and Twitter, but that such confrontations can be mounted from both within and outside the network. The result is an uncompromising, sophisticated, and accessible critique of the digital world.”—Publisher’s description


Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication, edited by Jason Hannan (Peter Lang, 2012). “There are many philosophers who have struggled with conceptions of communication, whether in constructing a philosophy of mind, of language, or of being. The editor of this volume has wisely selected the works of philosophers who are less known in the communication literature, yet have something to say to its students and scholars. To shed light on the positions these philosophers have taken, these essays reveal not only their life experiences and personal struggles, but also who influenced them. Thus, the volume reproduces a fascinating network of intellectual connections that can enrich the conversations among present generations of communication theorists. Reading this volume is a pleasure and an encouragement to go on.” Klaus Krippendorff, University of Pennsylvania

A Social History of Contemporary Democratic Media, by Jesse Drew (Routledge, 2013). “Beginning with a look at the inherent weaknesses of the U.S. broadcasting model of mass media, Drew outlines the early 1960s and 1970s experiments in grassroots media, where artists and activists began to re-engineer electronic technologies to target local communities and underserved audiences. From these local projects emerged national and international communications projects, creating production models, social networks and citizen expectations that would challenge traditional means of electronic media and cultural production. Drew’s perspective puts the social and cultural use of the user at the center, not the particular media form. Thus the structure of the book focuses on the local, the national, and the global desire for communications, regardless of the means.” –Publisher’s description
Supervision: An Introduction to the Surveillance Society, by John Gilliom and Torrin Monahan (University of Chicago, 2012). “Authors chart the pitfalls and the potentials of emerging monitoring practices in an engaging fashion, pointing out some of the more colorful examples along the way. Above all, the book forces all of us fish in the bowl to confront the universal medium we are swimming in: the pervasive practices of surveillance that have colonized our world, from workplace to social space, in the name of efficiency, productivity, and security.” – Mark Andrejevic, University of Queensland
Terrorism TV: Popular entertainment in Post-9/11 America, by Stacy Takacs (University Press of Kansas, 2012). “The role of entertainment programming in building a national consensus favoring a War on Terror, taking a close look at programs that comment both directly and allegorically on the post-9/11 world. In show after show, she chillingly illustrates how popular television helped organize public feelings of loss, fear, empathy, and self-love into narratives supportive of a controversial and unprecedented war.” –Publisher’s description
Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, by Andrew Blum (Ecco Press, 2012). “An engaging reminder that, cyber-Utopianism aside, the internet is as much a thing of flesh and steel as any industrial-age lumber mill or factory. It is also an excellent introduction to the nuts and bolts of how exactly it all works.” –The Economist 
Virality: Contagion Theory in the age of  Networks, by Tony D. Sampson (University of  Minnesota, 2012). “Tarde and Deleuze come beautifully together in this outstanding book, the first to really put forward a serious alternative to neo-Darwinian theories of virality, contagion, and memetics. A thrilling read that bears enduring consequences for our understanding of network cultures. Unmissable.” —Tiziana Terranova
War Culture and the Contest of Images, by Dora Apel (Rutgers, 2012). Analyzes depiction of war in not only photography but performance art, video games and other media in the Middle East and the United States. 

Pausing for Fiction

I’ve started a little tradition with new students the last few years.  I offer a door prize for the library orientation session I do after Convocation with the new crop of grad students. I pick a work of fiction that speaks to communication or media studies. The students won’t be reading much fiction in the program, little if any, all the more reason for me to remind them tht literature, past and current, is pretty fertile ground for thinking about communication! I try to pick something fairly recent.  Last year’s prize was Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, a May-December romance set in a dystopian New York in the near (as in next Tuesday) future that is dominated by media and brand-ridden consumption.
This year’s offering is a collection  (just out, with very good press) of short stories by Joshua Cohen, Four New Messages.
Reviewer Jesse Singal in The Boston Globe writes:

We still haven’t figured out what the Internet means for us, what it says about us. What does it mean that millions of us have begun obsessively documenting the minutiae of our lives, turning ourselves into abject exhibitionists? What does it mean that one ill-advised post, created by someone at a carefree and feckless age, can live on for decades, if not longer? If a whiff of triteness hangs around these questions, it is perhaps because they are asked so frequently and urgently by so many. So it’s a ripe time for talented literary voices to breathe some fresh life into them, and that’s what Joshua Cohen does in “Four New Messages,” his new book of short stories.

Summer Booknotes

Brazilian Telenovelas and the Myth of Racial Democracy, by Samantha Noguiera Joyce (Lexington Books, 2012). “Examines what happens when a telenovela directly addresses matters of race and racism in contemporary Brazil. This investigation provides a traditional textual analysis of Duas Caras (2007-2008), a watershed telenovela for two main reasons: It was the first of its kind to present audiences with an Afro-Brazilian as the main hero, openly addressing race matters through plot and dialogue. Additionally, for the first time in the history of Brazilian television, the author of Duas Caras kept a web blog where he discussed the public’s reactions to the storylines, media discussions pertaining to the characters and plot, and directly engaged with fans and critics of the program.”—publisher’s description
Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater and the Ad that Changed American Politics, by Robert Mann (Louisiana State University, 2011). “[A]n enterprising book meticulously reconstructing the genesis and impact of this very brief, very devastating piece of film.”  –Frank Rich, New York Magazine
The Digital Condition: Class and Culture in the Information Network, by Randolf Menzel and Julia Fishcher (MIT Press, 2011). How global class inequalities are reflected in and help form digital culture.
Drop Dead Gorgeous: Representations of Corpses in American TV Shows, by Tine Weber (University of Chicago, 2012). The representation of corpses and parts of corpses on TV shows such as CSI Las Vegas, Bones, NCIS, Six Feet under, and Dexter.
The Gospel of Sustainability: Media, Market and Lohas, by Monica M. Emerich (University of Illinois, 2011). From organic produce and clothing to socially conscious investing and eco-tourism, the lifestyles of health and sustainability, or LOHAS, movement encompasses diverse products and practices intended to contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle for people and the planet….first book to qualitatively study the LOHAS marketplace and the development of a discourse of sustainability of the self and the social and natural worlds.” –publisher’s description
Hollywood ‘s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet, by Peter Decherney (Columbia University, 2012). “There was a time when mentioning copyright drew yawns across faculty lounges and barstools, but no longer. This crucial component of our cultural infrastructure is now the topic of the day. Peter Decherney’s sure-handed, able history of Hollywood and copyright gives us a rich perspective on the industry’s past, present, and possible future.” –Toby Miller, University of California, Riverside
Hooked: Drug War Films in Britain, Canada, and the U.S., by Anthony Walsh (Routledge, 2012). “Drug prohibition emerged at the same time as the discovery of film, and their histories intersect in interesting ways. This book examines the ideological assumptions embedded in the narrative and imagery of one hundred fictional drug films produced in Britain, Canada, and the U.S. from 1912 to 2006” –publisher’s description
How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technologies¸ by N. Katherine Hayles (University of Chicago, 2012). “Comprehensive account of how humanities scholars and students apprehend their work differently in the context of the digital turn. The perfect fusion of N. Katherine Hayles’s characteristically lucid technical explanations and virtuosic literary analyses, this book navigates the divide between the traditional and digital humanities and shows us how they might in fact intellectually stimulate and support each other. A discipline supposedly in crisis has never seemed so vibrant.”—Rita Raley, University of California, Santa Barbara
Inter/vention: Free Play in the Age of Electracy, by Jan Rune Holmevik (MIT Press, 2012). “”A unique consideration of the play of new cultural and narrative forms, new media, and the interrelationship between artistic and other knowledge structures and emergent networked global cultures…glints with convertible, reversible, interchangeable attractions, grounding both gameworlds and electronic textuality firmly in the richest tradition of the humanities.”Michael Joyce, Professor of English and Media Studies, Vassar College
Is There a Home in Cyberspace? The Internet in Migrant’s Everyday Life and the Emergence of Global Communities, by Heike Monika Greschke (Routledge, 2012). “How is global togetherness possible? How does the availability of the Internet alter migrants’ everyday lives and senses of belonging? This book introduces an ‘alien people’ inhabiting a specific common virtual space in the World Wide Web, while the members of this space – most of them ethnic Paraguayans – are physically located in many different parts of the world….The concentration on a single case facilitates an in-depth understanding of contemporary migration practices, cultural meanings of digital media and senses of belonging.” –publisher’s description
Liberation Technology: The Social Media and the Struggle for Democracy, edited by Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner. (John Hopkins University, 2012). “Liberation Technology brings together cutting-edge scholarship from scholars and practitioners at the forefront of this burgeoning field of study. An introductory section defines the debate with a foundational piece on liberation technology and is then followed by essays discussing the popular dichotomy of “liberation” versus “control” with regard to the Internet and the sociopolitical dimensions of such controls. Additional chapters delve into the cases of individual countries: China, Egypt, Iran, and Tunisia.” –publisher’s description
The Long History of New Media: Technology, Historiography, and Contextualizing Newness, edited by David W. Park, Nicholas W. Jankowski, and Steve Jones (Peter Lang, 2011). “Chapters by eminent scholars address the connection between historical consideration and new media. Some assess the historical descriptions of the development of new media; others hinge on the issue of newness as it relates to existing practices in media history. Remaining essays address the shifting patterns of storage at work in media inscription, as they relate to the practice of history, and to the past and contemporary cultural formations. Together they offer a ground-breaking assessment of the long history of new media, clearly recognizing that the new media of today will be the traditional media of tomorrow, and that an emphasis on the history of the future sheds light on what this newness can be said to represent.” –publisher’s description
Media, Sound and Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, edited by Alejandra Bronfman and Andrew Grant Wood (University of Pittsburgh, 2010).” “This superb volume brings to light a myriad exciting discoveries: from Brazilian popular music to Bolivian carnival, Alejandra Bronfman and Andrew Grant Wood have assembled a fascinating collection of essays about the intersection of music, sound, radio, and popular culture in Latin America. Never before has Latin America resounded so clearly in a critical anthology.” —Rubén Gallo, Princeton University
Mediating Mental Health: Contexts, Debates and Analysis, by Michael Birch (Ashgate Publishers, 2011). “Looks across fictional and factual genres in film, television and radio examining media constructions of mental health identity. It also questions the opinions of journalists, mental healthcare professionals and people with conditions with regard to mediated mental health meanings.” –publisher’s description
Murder, the Media, and the Politics of Public Feeling: Remembering Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. (Indiana University, 2011). The media’s role in the public reaction to the murders that led to new hate crime legislation.
Muslims and the New Media: Historical and Contemporary Debates, by Goran Larsson (Ashgate Publishers, 2011). “Eexplores how the introduction of the latest information and communication technologies are mirroring changes and developments within society, as well as the Middle East’s relationship to the West.”–publisher’s description 
Noise Channels: Glitch and Error in Digital Culture, by Peter Krapp (University of Minnesota, 2011).  “With a jam-packed intellectual bandwidth, Noise Channels reconfigures how we think about digital culture. Distortion reveals system characteristics: Peter Krapp uses this classic insight to illuminate the vibrant aesthetic and practical offspring of the computer. Marx knew it, Freud knew it, and so do Krapp’s fractious gang of characters. Rarely have the secret affinities among continental high theorists, engineering visionaries, and avant-garde artists been revealed so freshly.” —John Durham Peters, University of Iowa
Oversharing: Presentations of Self in the Internet Age, by Ben Agger (Routledge, 2012). “Text messaging, Facebooking, tweeting, camming, blogging, online dating, and internet porn are vehicles of this oversharing, which blurs the boundary between public and private life. This book examines these ‘presentations of self’, acknowledging that we are now much more public about what used to be private.” –publisher’s description
Persuasion and Power: The Art of Strategic Communication, by James P. Farwell (Georgetown University, 2012). “Using historical examples, Farwell illustrates how its principles have made a critical difference throughout history in the outcomes of crises, conflicts, politics, and diplomacy across different cultures and societies.” –publisher’s description
Politics and the Twitter Revolution: How Tweets Influence the Relationship Between Political Leaders and the Public, by John H. Parmalee and Shannon L. Bichard. (Lexington Books, 2012). How Twitter has been used in Senate and gubernatorial campaigns; includes interview and survey data. 
Super Black: American Popular Culture and Black Superheroes, by Adilifu Nama (University of Texas, 2011). “Examines seminal black comic book superheroes such as Black Panther, Black Lightning, Storm, Luke Cage, Blade, the Falcon, Nubia, and others, some of whom also appear on the small and large screens, as well as how the imaginary black superhero has come to life in the image of President Barack Obama.” –publisher’s description
Theories of Communication, edited by Eric McLuhan (Peter Lang, 2011). “The realization of a project begun in the 1970s with Marshall McLuhan and now brought to completion by his son, Eric McLuhan. This collection of short essays assembles theories of communication from a diverse range of famous people – from Thomas Aquinas and Francis Bacon to Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound – and ends with an essay on Marshall McLuhan’s own theory of communication. While the majority of the essays have been previously published, all are seminal pieces in the field. Their presence together in one volume is a significant contribution to the overall task of understanding culture and communication in our time, and will appeal to both scholars and students interested in the work of Marshall McLuhan.” –publisher’s description
Transnational Protests and the Media, edited by Simon Cottle and Libby Lester (Peter Lang, 2011). “With contributions from leading theorists and researchers, this cutting-edge collection discusses protests focusing on war and peace, economy and trade, ecology and climate change, as well as political struggles for civil and human rights, including the Arab uprisings. At its core is a desire to better understand activists’ innovative uses of media and communications within a rapidly changing media environment, and how this is altering relations of communication power around the globe.” –publisher’s description
TV Cops: The Contemporary American Television Police Drama, by Jonathan Nichols-Pethnick (Routledge, 2012).  Raises a “number of questions that deserve serious critical attention: Under what circumstances have stories about the police proliferated in popular culture? What function do these stories serve for both the television industry and its audiences? Why have these stories become so commercially viable for the television industry in particular? How do stories about the police help us understand current social and political debates about crime, about the communities we live in, and about our identities as citizens?” –publisher’s description

New Reference Titles on the shelf

The Biographical Encyclopedia of American Radio, edited by Christopher H. Sterling (Routledge, 2011). Includes over 200 biographical entries on the most important radio personalities, writers, producers, directors, and network executives. Scholarly but very readable.
 Handbook of Comparative Communication Research, edited by Frank Esser and Thomas Hanitzsch (2012). “…30 topical chapters, contributed by scholars in 11 countries, are organized in three parts that focus on subdisciplinary fields, central research areas, and conceptual and methodological issues. Also included are substantial introductory and concluding chapters in which the editors integrate the contents, elaborate historical and conceptual frames for comparative research, and highlight challenges and opportunities for future work.” –from the Foreward
Handbook of Research Methods for Studying Daily Life,edited by Matthias R. Mehl and Tamlin S. Conner (The Guilford Press, 2012). “This volume–more than any other book published in the last two decades–will change the field of psychology. Psychological scientists have long recognized that ultimately, if their research is to have any meaning, they must venture out of the lab to study psychological processes unfolding in the ‘real world.’ But until now there has not been a comprehensive resource to show them how. As the first complete, authoritative, and practical guide to studying daily life, this handbook is set to change the way research is done. Every behavioral scientist should own a copy.”–Sam Gosling,University of Texas at Austin
Key Concepts in Media and Communications, edited by Paul Jones and David Holmes (Sage 2011). “A sprightly, critical and intelligent guided tour around the mansion of media and communications/cultural research.” –James Curran
Key Readings in Journalism, edited by Elliot King and Jane L. Chapman (Routledge, 2012). The field’s greatest hits? So says Robert McChesney (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Media and Cultural Studies Keyworks, Second Edition, edited by Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). Update to previous edition with new material on new media, social networks,  and social movements
Network Radio Ratings, 1932-1953: A History of Prime Time Programs Through the Ratings of Nielsen, Crossley and Hooper, by Jim Ramsburg (MacFarland & Company, 2012). Radio’s golden age broken down year by year with industry statistics, daily program ratings and a chart of the year’s 50 top programs.
Plunkett’s Entertainment & Media Industry Almanac 2012, edited by Jack W. Plunkett (Plunkett Research, 2012). Complete profiles on top companies with statistics and trends in film and video, radio and television, cable and satellite, magazines and books, gaming, newspapers, and new media.
Plunkett’s Games, Apps & Social Media Industry Almanac 2012, edited by Jack W. Plunkett (Plunkett Research 2012). Complete profiles on the top companies with statistics and trends in mobile gaming, game consoles, 3D games, online gaming, apps and smartphones, social media, games and apps developers, advertising and marketing.
Psychophysiological Measurement and Meaning: Cognitive and Emotional Processing of Media, by Robert F. Potter and Paul D. Bolls (Routledge, 2012). A comprehensive resource for psychophysiological research on media responses.
The Sage Handbook of Social Network Analysis, edited by John Scott and Peter J. Carrington (Sage, 2011). Topics include: network theory, online networks, corporate networks, lobbying networks, deviant networks, measuring devices, key methodologies, software applications.
Television Journalism, by Stephen Cushion (Sage, 2012).
Sections: The role of news in television culture/From radio to television/Redefining what’s newsworthy/Rise of partisan news consumption/Reporting the politics of developed nations/Entering the profession: Who are television journalists/Past, present and future of journalism scholarship.

New Reference Titles

Five new reference books from SAGE are now available in ASC Reference:
SAGE HANDBOOK OF SOCIAL MARKETING, edited by Gerald Hastings, Kathryn Angus and Carol Bryant (2011). “…brings together a systematic framework and state of the art thinking to provide complete coverage of the social marketing discipline…presents a major retrospective and prospective overview of social marketing, helping to define and shape its current and future developments..” –Publisher’s description
SAGE HANDBOOK OF VISUAL RESEARCH METHODS, edited by Eric Margolis and Luc Pauwels (2011). 42 chapters representing the state of the art in visual research, is organized into seven main sections: I Framing the Field of Visual Research / II Producing Visual Data and Insight / III Participatory and Subject-Centered Approaches / IV Analytical Frameworks and Approaches / V Visualization Technologies and Practices / VI  Moving Beyond the Visual / VII Options and Issues for Using and Presenting Visual Research.
SAGE HANDBOOK OF INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION, (4th edition), edited by Mark L. Knapp and John A. Daly (2011).  Revised overview of the field of interpersonal communication, including personal relationships, computer-mediated communication, language, personality, skills, nonverbal communication, and communication across a person’s life span and emerging topics involving biological and physiological processes, family, intercultural and health environments and social networks.
HANDBOOK OF MULTICULTURAL MEASURES, edited by Glenn C. Gamst, Cristopher T. H. Liang, and Aghop Der-Karabetian (2011). “Organizes and summarizes the growing body of measures for use in research, clinical practice, training, and service delivery to a multicultural population..About 250 tests are described in two-to-three page summaries including purpose, description, scoring, reliability, and validity measures.”–CHOICE
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMUNICATION, edited by Susanna Hornig Priest (SAGE, 2010)  Interdisciplinary 2-volulme resource of more than 300 entries on a wide range of topics related to science and technology communication as both a profession and a research specialization. “Entries range from those illustrating the application of media theory and research to problems in science, technology, environment, and health; to case studies of controversial issues in science and technology and biographies of well-known science communicators; to studies of how science journalism is actually done and the problems it faces; and to guidance on using scientific sources.” –Publisher’s description