Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the sponsor of the "Research Works Act"

It seems as though Congress, having grown tired of pissing off large swaths of the country, are now opting to write bills that anger a very particular group of people. Almost a month ago, on December 16, 2011, California Republican Congressman Darrel Issa introduced the “Research Works Act” which would kill government-assisted open-access journals. As PJ said before, journals (especially the closed private ones) are the dinosaurs of academia and as Patricia Hill Collins later noted, more...

The Cyborgology blog turns one today! [our first post]

We are thrilled with the blog’s success and the community that has grown around it. It has been exciting to see the increase in page views, high quality comments, and discussions on sites like Twitter and Facebook. The Faux-Vintage photo essay took on a life of its own and a recent post on Chomsky was rewritten for (here). The blog has advanced a theoretical position we call “augmented reality,” positioned art as theoretically significant, focused on social justice issues and has played host to much audio and video from a range of events. The highlight was watching this community come to life at the Theorizing the Web conference that grew out of the blog.

We began Cyborgology to fill a void we observed in popular and academic discourse: conversations about technology often lacked theory, and theoretical debate often neglects technology.

Since we created the blog 365 days ago, more...

Photo Credit: Wyatt Kostygan

Cyborgology editor Nathan Jurgenson will be in Zuccotti park Saturday, and contributing author David Banks will be participating in a new occupation in Albany, NY. Nathan will be providing his insights on social media and the OWS movement. David will be watching closely and commenting on the birth of a local occupation.


I am attempting to organize a session on online play, gaming & leisure at the Eastern Sociological Society Meetings, February 23-26, 2012 in New York City.

If you’re working on a relevant project, submit a title and a 200-250 word abstract (anything over 250 words will not be accepted) here. I’ll review the submissions on October 1st and see if we have enough to make a proposal.  Feel free to submit you papers through the ESS general submissions process as well if you plan to attend regardless of whether we are able to get a panel into the program. more...

Cyborgology Editors Nathan and PJ have teamed up with Dr. Chris Donoghue to organize a session (or sessions, or perhaps a mini-conference, depending on the number of quality submissions) on social media at the Eastern Sociological Society Meetings, February 23-26, 2012 in New York City.

If you follow Cyborgology, Theorizing the Web, or know anyone who wants to present on social media at a Sociology conference, please see our Call for Abstracts. All we need is a title and a 200-250 word abstract (anything over 250 words will not be accepted). Papers will be competitively chosen.

Submit your abstracts here.

The Cyborgology team will be hosting a meet up @ 8pm tonight (Friday) at the Flamingo Garden Bar. Hope you’ll join us.

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I’m currently doing field work in Kumasi, Ghana and will be back next week with some really great original content. Until then, I am sharing a piece of media that I have been looking forward to, but currently have absolutely no time to watch. Amy Goodman moderates a discussion between Lacanian Philosopher and pop-culture critic  Slavoj Zizek and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. This is the first interview Assange has given since being put under house arrest without charges filed against him by Sweden or the UK. Zizek considers operations like Wikileaks are the “harbingers for the end of global capitalism as we know it.” Again, I haven’t watched this yet, but I go into it with the following questions in mind: Can we make this kind of conclusion? Or is this a matter of digital dualism mixing with the cautious optimism of the far left? Are we fetishizing information technology to such a degree that we conflate its revolutionary capacity to disrupt technological systems, with its ability to tear apart similar social systems? Technological and social systems can and do follow isomorphic and parallel organizational structures but that does not mean that a technology’s ability to disrupt one, is on par with its ability to disrupt the other.


The card being used to advertise the service
The SMS service will be advertised using an ad campaign that is based on field work from the previous year by Dr. Audrey Bennett of RPI's Language Literature and Communication Department..

Next month I’ll be in Kumasi, Ghana doing field research and I thought I’d share what I hope to accomplish over there, since my work is informed by much of what I write about on this blog. (I will be blogging over here.) We hope to set up an information system by which Ghanaians can find condom sellers nearby. The primary interface will be text messaging using a fantastic open-source project called FrontLineSMS. By texting a certain number, the user will be asked to send their district and a list of nearby landmarks. The database will send back a list of condom sellers within a reasonable walking distance. We also hope to have several other front-end access points that are already becoming popular places to socialize. Our aim is to increase access to condoms in order to reduce the infection rate of HIV/AIDS. As of 2009, according to UNICEF, 230,000 people (about 2% of the population) live with HIV in Ghana. I should also note that cell phones are not a luxury item in Ghana. Adoption has exploded over the past several years, and it is estimated that about 67% of Ghanians own a cell phone.



Contents of the suitcase include a cell phone, some antennae, and modems.

In a sort of 21st century version of Radio Free Europe, the US State Department has sponsored a project that develops suitcase-sized kits that set up cell-phone based mesh networks. These private networks are to be deployed in countries that have totalitarian governments (with anti-American sentiment).

Full story at the New York Times.

Cyborgology is sponsoring a local meetup event at PJ’s place on Wednesday, June 1st.  We’ll be enjoying a Tron Double Feature.  Use this link to contact PJ for details: