Announcements: Daniel Kreiss to give talk at Cornell University and Ted Striphas to give talk at Temple University

Networked Politics from Howard Dean to Barack Obama and the 2012 Elections

Daniel Kreiss
October 29, 4:15-5:30pm
700 Clark Hall
Cornell University

Update: Due to Hurricane Sandy, Daniel Kreiss’ talk has been cancelled. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Kriess tells the previously untold history of the uptake of new media in Democratic electoral campaigning from 2000 to 2012. He follows a group of technically-skilled Internet staffers who came together on the Howard Dean campaign and created a series of innovations in campaign organization, tools, and practice. After the election, these individuals carried their innovations across Democratic politics and contributed to a number of electoral victories, including Barack Obama’s historic bid for the presidency, and currently occupy senior leadership positions in the president’s re-election campaign. This history provides a lens for understanding the organizations, tools, and practices that are shaping the 2012 electoral cycle.  Kriess details how, from Howard Dean to Barack Obama, new media have facilitated a resurgence in political activity among the electorate – though this participation has come in long institutionalized domains: fundraising, volunteer canvassing, and voter mobilization. Meanwhile, participation is premised on sophisticated forms of data profiling, targeted persuasive communications, and computational managerial practices that coordinate collective action. As such, Kriess argues that the uptake of new media in electoral campaigning is a hybrid form of organizing politics, that combines both management and empowerment.

Sponsored by Culture Digitally, the Department of Communication, and the Department of Science & Technology Studies


An Infernal Culture Machine: Intellectual Foundations of Algorithmic Culture

Ted Striphas
Wednesday, Nov. 7, 4:00–5:30 pm
Center for the Humanities at Temple (CHAT) Lounge
Temple University

The idea of culture has changed dramatically over the last sixty years, stretching its meaning in ways that may not yet be able to grasp fully or articulate eloquently. Ted’s talk traces that shift to culture’sencounter with cybernetic theory, a body of research whose central concern is the process of communication and control in complex systems. The main focus of this talk is the prevailing sociological and anthropological literature on culture of postwar America, particularly that of the third quarter of the 20th century. The writings of Talcott Parsons and Clifford Geertz are exemplary in this regard, but an individual lesser known to the human sciences figures prominently here as well: the termite scientist Alfred. E. Emerson, whose influence on Parsons’ conceptualization of culture was particularly deep and abiding. I intend to show how, within this constellation of work, we can begin to register the historical rudiments of what, in our own time, has coalesced into the phenomenon of “algorithmic culture,” or the use of computational processes to sort, classify, and hierarchize people, places, objects, and ideas.

Sponsored by Culture Digitally and the Center for the Humanities at Temple University