Tag Archives: ttw

Announcing Theorizing the Web 2014: #TtW14

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As most of Cyborgology readers know, the blog puts on a conference called Theorizing the Web (now in it’s fourth year). We have some exciting new ideas for 2014. By popular demand, #TtW14 will now–for the first time–feature two full days of programming. We’ve also moved out of an academic-institutional space and into a gorgeous warehouse in Brooklyn, NYC. All of this means that, in addition to the competitively-selected papers and invited speakers, we can experiment with more ways to push the norms of academic conferences. The goal of Theorizing the Web has always been to create the event we’d want to attend.

If you are interested in presenting at Theorizing the Web, here’s the call for papers.

Anyone can attend, you just have to sign up. Traditional conferences get expensive and often leave people who don’t have some sort of institutional backing out in the cold. We want to include as many as possible, so TtW works on a pay-what-you-can model (minimum $1). This means that those with limited funds can still attend, relying on the generosity of those who can afford a little more. Register and pay what you can here.

All the information you’ll need should be on the conference website, and, if not, feel free to comment below or write to theorizingtheweb@gmail.com.

If you think others would be interested in this event, please share. The Twitter hashtag is: #TtW14

Thanks for all the support these first three years, and we’re excited for the fourth Theorizing the Web!

Surveillance and Digital Dualism: A Reflection on Theorizing the Web (#TtW13)

This guest-post and #TtW13 review is cross-posted with permission from Technophilosophy, a French digital theory blog

On Saturday, March 2nd, 2013, I made a presentation in New York as part of the International Conference Theorizing the Web. Organized by Nathan Jurgenson (@nathanjurgenson) and PJ Rey (@pjrey) [Yes, I also wonder what his real name is], both doctoral students in sociology at the University of Maryland (Washington, DC), the event was held in the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. A prestigious and perfectly equipped venue (no Wi-Fi issues), which promoted the sharing of high quality insights. (more…)

#TtW13 Preview: Framing an Emergency: Photography in Areas of Conflict

Leading up to Theorizing the Web 2013, we’ll be posting a series of previews of some of the papers we’ll be showcasing at the conference. This is one of those. Stay tuned for more!

In this year’s Theorizing the Web, I will present a research that originated from my preoccupation with volatile encounters between photography and moments of social strife, as these are seen and mediated by traditional and social media. Homeless people in Libya, demonstrators’ confrontations with armed forces in Syria and Egypt, Kurd refugees in Northern Iraq, check points in Gaza, or Sudanese refugees in Sinai are just a few examples of current photographic undertakings, which are continuously mediated in independent and corporate media outlets. In this work in progress, I venture into documented ruptures while aiming to destabilize their initial appearance: to go beyond the immediate danger and visual narratives of an emergency in order to negotiate the apparatuses and discourses in which the photograph circulates, in which this practice is shaped and received. (more…)

Announcing: Theorizing the Web Presents: Free Speech For Whom?

As many of you already know, the third annual Theorizing the Web is fast approaching this March 1st and 2nd. We’ve moved the conference to New York City with help from CUNY’s Just Publics 365 initiative and we’ve also added a Friday event in addition to the main conference on Saturday. [Also, a reminder: the deadline to submit a 500 word abstract is January 6th!]  On Friday, March 1st,  the conference launches with a full slate of invited presentations at the CUNY Graduate Center’s James Gallery followed by an offsite social gathering. (more…)

#TtW12 Panel Spotlight: The Politics of Design

This is part of a series of posts highlighting the Theorizing the Web conference, April 14th, 2012 at the University of Maryland (inside the D.C. beltway). It was originally posted on 3.30.12 and was updated to include video on 7.19.12. See the conference website for

Presider: Kari Kraus (@karikraus)

Drawing on a diverse range of approaches–from media archaeology and ethnography to queer theory and critical code studies–the “Politics of Design” panel will collectively consider where and how power pools and collects in the designed, value-laden spaces of the internet. Individual panelists will take up digital networks and anonymity (Moesch); established and proposed internet architectures (Shilton and Neal); slick Web 2.0 and grungy “dirt style” interfaces (Kane); and the failed rhetoric of the digital sublime by the founders of Google and Second Life (Chia).  Not content to dwell on surface design features, each speaker unearths hidden variables–whether technological, social, or historical–that affect the systems, platforms, and communication structures under discussion. In the process, they expose the faultlines in those structures that allow us to envision them otherwise; the politics of design, that is to say, ultimately point–directly or indirectly–to alt-design and re-design.

Please join us on 4/14 for what promises to be a fabulous #TtW12 panel!

[Paper titles and abstracts are after the jump.] (more…)

#TtW12 Panel Spotlight: Self Documentation

This is part of a series of posts highlighting the Theorizing the Web conference, April 14th, 2012 at the University of Maryland (inside the D.C. beltway). It was originally posted on 4.6.12 and was updated to include video on 6.22.12. See the conference website for additional information.

The issue of self documentation is increasingly fertile ground for theorizing the intersection of the digital and the material, illustrating how our identities are increasingly mediated by new technologies and “digital” forms of sociality. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest (as relatively new forms of sociality) produce requisite changes in our self concepts. In the digital era, identity becomes a project of coordinating, collecting, and curating; self presentation becomes a project of self documentation.

Each of these authors acknowledges the paradigmatic changes new technology (especially social networking sites like Facebook) has introduced into our self concepts. For example, Aimée Morrison looks at how norms are created, encouraged, and enforced in the digital realm of Facebook. The Facebook status update field has gone through several permutations, reflecting changing expectations and norms regarding self presentation and self documentation on this popular social networking site. Somewhat differently, Rob Horning addresses issues of power and control in the promulgation of new forms of sociality. More specifically, Horning discusses Facebook’s role in socializing users into the “digital self,” or the self as curated project. Self documentation is integral to the rise of the digital self and the destruction of the inner/private self. In addition, Jordan Frith reflects on how social media incorporates emerging GPS technology into location based social networks (LBSN) like Foursquare. Drawing from qualitative interviews with over 35 Foursquare users, Frith analyzes the impact of this LBSN on both self-presentation and self-documentation practices.

Finally, social media and the ability to self-document also changes our conception of time. As Nathan has argued, “Social media increasingly force us to view our present as always a potential documented past” (Jurgenson, 2011). In this vein, Sam Ladner addresses the proliferation of digital calendaring (MS Outlook, Google Calendar) and resultant changes such technology engenders to our conceptions and use of time. Digital calendars create new affordances but also new risks in time management.

[Paper titles and abstracts after the jump.]

(more…)

#TtW12 Panel Spotlight: Technologies of Identity

This is part of a series of posts highlighting the Theorizing the Web conference, April 14th, 2012 at the University of Maryland (inside the D.C. beltway). It was originally posted on 4.11.12 and was updated to include video on 6.5.12. See the conference website for additional information.

I am very happy to have the opportunity to preside over the panel on technologies of identity. Internet is intimately related to people’s identities; a point that is almost self-evident. People express, reinforce and even sometimes construct new identities via the Internet. But how exactly does this happen? through what mechanisms? How, for example, do people who date online maintain or challenge their identities concerning their sexual preference, class, race, etc. in ways similarly and differently than those who date exclusively offline? Or, how do second-generation immigrants take advantage of the Internet to reshape society’s perceptions of them? How, for instance, do people’s conception of consumption change when faced with the new possibility of shopping online? How does our desire for power and pleasure manifest itself through online social networks? …the questions are endless…

Internet meet identity are both fascinating topics: we expect expect analyses that are both interesting and insightful. And that is the promise our presenters try to fulfill with their intriguing papers.

*Note: Due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict, Nicholas Boston will not be able to attend the conference.

[Paper titles and abstracts after the jump.]

(more…)

#TtW12 Panel Spotlight: Logging off & Disconnection

This is part of a series of posts highlighting the Theorizing the Web conference, April 14th, 2012 at the University of Maryland (inside the D.C. beltway). It was originally posted on 3.28.12 and was updated to include video on 5.10.12. See the conference website for additional information.

Presider: Dan Greene (@Greene_DM)

Logging Off and Disconnection” presents an important new set of perspectives on a key theme of Theorizing the Web: ‘Cyberspace’ does not exist as an immaterial realm separate from human bodies and relationships. The online is instead always imbricated with the offline and the connections we make and unmake are crucial determinants of of both spaces. This panel explores this co-determination from the perspectives of those who decide, or are forced, to disconnect from online media in order to examine the relationships between personal participation and motivation and structuring forces of media design, cultural narrative, and economies of data and prosumption.

Jenny Davis’ qualitative study of Facebook users explores how social networking technology’s tight integration into the rhythms and relationships of everyday life highlights the tension between moral definitions of a meaningful life and cultural ambivalence about the technology’s effects on sociality. Jessica Roberts uses the global data of the world Unplugged projectto investigate the behavioral and emotional responses university students had to a 24-hour withdrawal from ambient media. She expands the ‘awareness systems’ tradition in computer science and stresses the integration of already-existing awareness systems into daily life, demonstrating that the seamless connectivity of ambient media makes it harder for students to recognize how their relationships with, and through, those media function. Laura Portwood-Stacer focuses on discourses of Facebook rejection in popular and alternative media outlets and in her interviews with ‘non members’. This rejection of a specific, dominant medium is an important piece of non-members’ production and negotiation of political and ethical identity. Finally, Jessica Vitak builds on the rich social scientific research literature on self-presentation and privacy in order to explore different users’ management of personal information, audience relationships, and social norms through the specific affordances of Facebook . All four researchers illustrate how in relationships with and through online media the links not made, the social graphs refused, are powerful forces in media ecologies and (non-)users’ lives. 

[Paper titles and abstracts are after the jump.] (more…)

#TtW12: Thank You!

We would like everyone who participated in, attended, followed and helped with making Theorizing the Web 2012 a success! The sessions were smart, the energy was fun and the tweets were so prolific that we were Twitter-trending in Washington D.C. More news, reactions, analyses, photos and videos to come.

Cyborgology editors (standing in the foreground) Nathan Jurgenson (left) and PJ Rey (right) introduce #TtW12 keynote speakers Zeynep Tufekci of UNC (left) and Andy Carvin of NPR (right). Photo by the great Rob Wanenchak.

#TtW12 Spotlight: Theory Meets Art

This is part of a series of posts highlighting the Theorizing the Web conference, April 14th, 2012 at the University of Maryland (inside the D.C. beltway). See the conference website for information as well as event registration.

Jason Hughes (@hughesalicious) of the STAMP Gallery and I (@Praxis_In_Space), organized an invited panel session that addresses the link between new media and art and a gallery exhibit for the day of the conference.  When we organized the panel and exhibit, we felt it was important to give artists a place at the conference to discuss and share their perspectives on the influence of new media and the web.

The aims of the panel are to highlight the ways in which art often reflects ubiquitous social changes (namely the presence of new media) and the ways the creative and artistic uses of new media are pushing/challenging academic understandings of new media. More importantly, in the spirit of this conference, we will foster a discussion that will engage what role(s) social theory(ies) and/or practices have in their epistemological approach to new media and art.

We are pleased to announce the panelist will be Krista Caballero, Cliff Evans (@cliffevansnet), and Alberto Gatián (@nootrope) and Jeremy Pesner (@The_Pezman) will be moderating the panel.

[descriptions of the art projects after the jump]  (more…)