The 2015 Frontiers of New Media Symposium features scholars and activists drawn from multiple disciplines, countries, and approaches to understanding media, surveillance, and history.

Keynote Speaker: Marwan M. Kraidy


Marwan M. Kraidy is the Anthony Shadid Chair in Global Media, Politics and Culture, and Director of the Project for Advanced Research in Global Communication (PARGC) at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, USA.

The recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Kraidy has published more than 100 essays and 6 books, including Hybridity, or the Cultural Logic of Globalization (Temple University Press 2005) and Reality Television and Arab Politics (Cambridge University Press 2010), which won three major prizes.

Kraidy has been the Edward Said Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut, the Albert Bonnier Jr. Professor of Media Studies at Stockholm University, Visiting (Chaire Dupront) Professor at the Sorbonne in Paris, Assistant Professor of International Relations at American University in Washington, DC, and Assistant Professor of Critical-Cultural Studies at the University of North Dakota.

A frequent lecturer and media commentator worldwide on global and Arab media issues, Kraidy’s next book, The Naked Blogger of Cairo: Creative Insurgency in the Arab World, which focuses on the human body as a locus of power and rebellion, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press in 2016. He tweets at @MKraidy.

This year’s theme, “Digital Democracy, Digital Divides,” asks scholars, activists, and journalists to consider the past, present, and possible futures of the Internet as a force for good in the world.

2:30 PM – Digital Democracy | Digital Divides: A Roundtable

Jonathan Stone

Jonathan Stone, Assistant Professor, Writing and Rhetoric Studies, University of Utah

Jon studies rhetoric within and across its historical, cultural, and vernacular contexts. His current research is focused on the sonic rhetorics of American vernacular music in the 1930s. His book project, “Listening to the Lomax Archive,” investigates the careers of John A. Lomax and his son Alan during the Great Depression with focus on field recordings made for and stored by the Library of Congress’s Folklife Archive. Generally, Jon is interested in the mythologies that surround the notion of technological advance; particularly as such narratives reveal the tensions and rhetorics at the intersection of “traditional” and “progressive” ways of thinking and being.


Ben Peters

Benjamin Peters, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, University of Tulsa

Ben Peters is a historian of modern technology and a media theorist with emphases on the history and philosophy of information science and technology. He currently holds the position of Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Tulsa, where he also teaches in the Honors Program and the Russian Studies Programs as well as directs the Digital Working Group.

His fundamental fascination with how and why technologies—especially digital technologies—change over regimes of time, space, and power has led to several projects: His first book—The Soviet Internet: How Not to Network a Nation, scheduled for release from the MIT Press this coming summer—puts that foundational question into sharp focus by examining why the Soviet Union, despite repeated attempts at the height of the cold war tech race, failed to develop a contemporary to the ARPANET. His current book project—tentatively titled The Computational Turn: Thought Labs and the Dawn of Digital Media, 1890-1990—looks to trace the formative networked forums driving twentieth-century digital work and thought, ranging from the Golden Age of Philosophy at Harvard, to the interwar Vienna Circle and Moscow School of Mathematics, to the cold war cybernetics and information theory, to cognitive and computer science, to contemporary complex network and big data research, among others. He is also editing Digital Keywords, a critical reference featuring short provocations on concepts central to the current information age.

Ben holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Communications from Columbia University and has held fellowships at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project, the Harriman Institute, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Some of his work materials and other activities may be found at here ( Twitter: @bjpeters

Joy Pierce

Joy Pierce, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Utah

Joy Pierce (PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication. Her research focuses on new media technologies and underserved populations, particularly Black and Mexican immigrant populations. Dr. Pierce employs critical cultural and contemporary social theories as well as qualitative research methods to interrogate inequities in digital media use among historically
marginalized populations. Her works in new and emerging technologies, digital literacies, information communication policy and social problems have been presented at national and international conferences. She has published in communication, sociology, and qualitative methods journals and served as guest editor for a special issue of Social Identities. Dr. Pierce’s, Digital Fusion: A Society Beyond Blind Inclusion (Peter Lang Press, February 2015), is a culmination of more than a decade of community-based ethnographic research in two regions of the United States. Multi-vocal and multi-lingual narratives from racial and ethnic minorities as well as institutional administrators lay the groundwork for potential policy implications and digital infrastructure and design. She is working on a methodology book (Left Coast Press) that articulates the theoretical and practical significance of using autoethnography when working with underserved and marginalized populations.

Past Participants

FONM 2013 Scholars

2011 Scholars

2009 Scholars

2007 Scholars