2011 Scholars

Keynote Speaker: Timothy W. Lenoir

Professor and Kimberly Jenkins Chair for New Technologies and Society
Duke University

Professor Lenoir has published several books and articles on the history of biomedical science from the nineteenth century to the present. His more recent work has focused on the introduction of computers into biomedical research from the early 1960s to the present, particularly the development of computer graphics, medical visualization technology, the development of virtual reality and its applications in surgery and other fields. Lenoir has also been engaged in constructing online digital libraries for a number of projects, including an archive on the history of Silicon Valley. Two recent projects include a web documentary project to document the history of bioinformatics funded by the Bern Dibner and Alfred P. Sloan Foundations, and “How They Got Game,” a history of interactive simulation and video games. With economists Nathan Rosenberg, Henry Rowen, and Brent Goldfarb he has just completed a collaborative study for Stanford University on Stanford’s historical relationship to Silicon Valley entitled, Inventing the Entrepreneurial Region: Stanford and the Co-Evolution of Silicon Valley. In support of these projects, Lenoir has developed software tools for interactive web-based collaboration. In this connection he is currently engaged with colleagues at UC Santa Barbara in developing the NSF-supported Center for Nanotechnology in Society, where he contributes to the effort to document the history, societal, and ethical implications of bionanotechnology.


Keynote Speaker: Richard White

Margaret Byrne Professor of American History
Stanford University

Richard White is a Pulitzer Prize Nominated historian specializing in the History of the American West, Environmental History and Native American History. He is the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University, a Faculty Co-Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West and the former President of the Organization of American Historians. He received a MacArthur fellowship in 1995 and was awarded a Mellon Distinguished Professor grant in 2007. Professor White is the principal investigator for ‘Shaping the West’, a project in the Spatial History Lab at Stanford University, which explores the construction of space by transcontinental railroads during the late nineteenth-century. By connecting data analysis and complex visualization graphical algorithms with traditional historical sources, Professor White’s team is examining historic perceptions of space in the newly settled American West. He has been conducting this research for the last twelve years.


Bill Kirkpatrick

Assistant Professor 
Communication Department
Denison University

Professor Kirkpatrick received a Ph.D. in media and cultural studies from University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Department of Communication Arts. His ongoing research and teaching interests include media history and cultural policy; impacts of popular culture on American public life; theories, practices, and future of citizen-produced media; and media and disability. His publications include articles in Radio Journal, Television and New Media, Critical Studies in Media Communication, the Journal of the Society for American Music, the Journal of Popular Culture, and several anthologies.  His book project, Air Spaces: Localism in American Thought and Media Policy, 1920-1934, explores how regulators, the radio industry, and the public used discourses and structures of localism in a range of struggles to shape the media system.


Matt Cohen
Associate Professor
Department of English
University of Texas at Austin

Professor Cohen received a Ph.D. from the College of  William and Mary and is affiliate faculty in American Studies and Comparative Literature while holding membership in the Visioning Circle of the Native American and Indigenous Studies group at University of Texas. He is the editor of a collection of letters by the creator of Tarzan, titled Brother Men: The Correspondence of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Herbert T. Weston (Duke University Press, 2005), and the author of a book on early American writing in the context of seventeenth-century English and Native American communications technologies, The Networked Wilderness: Communicating in Early New England (U of Minnesota Press, 2009). He’s at work on a book about intercultural theory and method in early American studies and, with Jeffrey Glover, an edited collection of essays on media and power in the colonial Americas, Early American Mediascapes (under advance contract from the University of Nebraska Press).  Cohen has been the recipient of fellowships and grants from the Huntington Library, the American Council for Learned Societies, the Newberry Library, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For The Networked Wilderness, he was awarded the Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship from the Texas A & M Center for Humanities Research.


Fan Yang
Assistant Professor
Media and Communication Studies
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Professor Yang received a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from George Mason University in 2011. She also holds an MA from the Ohio State University and a BA from Fudan University, Shanghai. Yang is currently working on a book manuscript that examines the cultures of branding and counterfeiting in twenty-first-century China. Her research interests include visual culture, globalization, nation and nationalism, and new media. Her articles have appeared in the journals antiTHESIS and PUBLIC.



Scott Laderman
Associate Professor
History Department
University of Minnesota, Duluth  

Professor Laderman received a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in American Studies and is the author of the book Tours of Vietnam: War, Travel Guides, and Memory (Duke University Press, 2009), as well as numerous articles and book chapters on war and empire, film history, and the politics of U.S. neoliberalism. Laderman is also co-editor of a collection of essays on the transnational legacies of the Second Indochina War that is under contract with Duke University Press.  His current book project, which combines his professional interest in international history with his personal background as a California-raised surfer, is entitled Empire in Waves: Surfing, Surf Culture, and U.S. Foreign Relations.


Robert MacDougall
Assistant Professor
Associate Director of the Center for American Studies
University of Western Ontario

Professor MacDougall received a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is a historian of information and communication. He was the University of Utah’s 2009-2010 David Simmons Visiting Professor of History and Communication. His book, The People’s Telephone: The Rise and Fall of Independent Telephony, will be published next year by the University of Pennsylvania Press. This piece tells the story of two intertwined technologies that rose to prominence in the late nineteenth century: the long-distance telephone and the nation-spanning corporation. Neither was inevitable. Neither was welcomed by all. And fierce debates about the scale of economic and social life—big corporations versus small ones, national markets versus local identities—were embodied in the era’s dueling networks of poles and wires.  His current projects involve the history of pseudoscience and crank invention, games and simulations for history education, and the history of telecommunication in the American West.


Jennifer Clare Woods
Associate Professor
Department of Classical Studies
Duke University

Professor Woods received a Ph.D., MA, and BA in Classics from King’s College in London, funded by the British Academy. Her interest in Classical Studies began at an early age, with a fascination for mythology, and her research interests now surround Carolingian literature and culture. In addition to her work on homiletics, she participates in the Festus Lexicon Project, contributing chiefly to those aspects of the Project concerned with Paul the Deacon’s epitome of the lexicon. She is also interested in the Carolingian cult of Mary, and in examining more closely the spread and development of Marian cult from the late eighth through the ninth century. A new project will look at intellectual networks, teacher-student relationships, and the culture of gift-giving. In recent years, through teaching involving digital games and virtual reality, and through a working group, Experiencing Virtual Worlds, sponsored by Duke’s Franklin Humanities Institute, she has also begun to explore ways in which the pre-modern is represented in new media.  After a Frances Yates Long-term Fellowship at the Warburg Institute, and nearly three years working as a Lecturer in the Classics Department at University College Dublin, Clare moved further west to take up a position, in 1999, in the Department of Classical Studies at Duke.


Kelly Gates
Assistant Professor
Communications and Science Studies
University of California, San Diego

Professor Gates received a Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana with research interests in new media technologies, science and technology studies, and cultural policy. She is currently writing a book that explores the effort, underway since the 1960s, to teach computers to see the human face.  In this work, she examines the social construction of automated facial recognition and automated facial expression analysis, focusing on the conceptual and cultural frameworks that are used to think about these technologies, and on the constellations of interests, institutions and social practices that are shaping their development. At UCSD, Professor Gates teaches the history of communication research, the history of the Internet, and a course on surveillance, the media, and the risk society. She joined UCSD in September 2007 after three years in the Department of Media Studies at Queens College, City University of New York.


Mara Mills
Assistant Professor
School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
New York University, Steinhardt

Professor Mills received a Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard University, as well as an MA in Biology from Harvard and an MA in Education from University of California, Santa Cruz.  Mills is a historian of science who works at the intersection of disability studies and media studies. Her research and teaching interests include telephone and mobile media studies, science and technology studies, and disability theory. Her current book project traces the historical relationship between the telephone system, deafness, and signal processing. Other projects include: a history of talking books, reading machines, and print disability; a collaborative study of the history and politics of “miniaturization” in the electronics industry. Mills has lectured widely, including recent talks at National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan); the Insitute of Media Archaeology at Kulturfabrik Hainburg (Austria); Université Paris Diderot; the Stanford Seminar on Science, Technology, and Society; and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of History.


John Durham Peters
Professor of International Studies
University of Iowa

Professor Peters received a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Communication Theory and Research and is now the A. Craig Baird Professor of Communication Studies at University of Iowa.  Peters is the author of two books, Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999) and Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).  He is the author of over fifty journal articles and book chapters on the philosophy of communication, intellectual history of communication research, democratic theory, and cultural history of media.  He has also published in fields as sociology, anthropology, music, film studies, cultural studies, religious studies, history, theater, and philosophy.  His writing has been translated into many languages including Albanian, Bulgarian, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, and Ukrainian, and he has been a visiting professor in England, Greece, and the Netherlands, and has lectured in many countries.

Robert Gehl
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication

Robert W. Gehl received a PhD in Cultural Studies from George Mason University in 2010. He is currently an assistant professor of new media in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. His research draws on science and technology studies, political economy, and critical/cultural studies and focuses on the intersections between social media, computer networking, and software studies. He has published research that critiques the architecture, code, culture, and design of social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and blogs in The International Journal of Cultural StudiesNew Media and SocietyTelevision and New MediaFirst Monday, and Social Text (forthcoming). He is currently working on a book on the architecture and political economy of social media. At Utah, he teaches courses in communication technology, composition in new media, and political economy of communication.