FoNM 2009: Region, Place, and Geography

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Our second panel this coming Saturday will continue exploring the persistence of place in supposedly space-annihilating communication networks. It features a mix of history, historical geography, and communications scholarship, grouped under the general theme of “Region, Place, and Geography.” (Here’s the complete symposium schedule.) The speakers on this panel will be Jennifer Light, Craig Robertson, Fred Turner, and Casey O’Donnell.

Jennifer Light, of Northwestern University, will be talking about “Mapping Risk: Cartography as Computation in Early Twentieth Century Social Science and Policy” This comes out of her work on the history of urban mapping as an analytic tool. (Jennifer is also working on a history of “civic games” in the U.S.–she had a recent article in Technology & Culture on this topic that I enjoyed a lot.) She’ll be followed by Craig Robertson, of Northeastern University, whose research focuses on the intersection of communication history and surveillance. He’ll give us some thoughts from his forthcoming book on the history of the U.S. passport. Stanford’s Fred Turner will then give a talk entitled “Information Everywhere: What Art Worlds Do For Computers.” Fred is an expert on intersections of art, culture, and computing, and his talk considers how art worlds constitute temporary but influential places in which computers can be made to take on cultural meanings. Finally, Casey O’Donnell, of the University of Georgia, will talk about “Managing the Wild, Wild East: Controlling the Frontiers of the Global Videogame Industry.” Casey’s talk, which should really complement AnnaLee Saxenian’s keynote address on regional advantage in high-tech industries, examines the fiercely guarded “frontiers” of the game industry in India as well as China, Korea, and Vietnam.

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