Past Presentations
Mapping Commercial Nationalisms on Reality TV
Zala Volcic
Thu, 05/14/2015 - 2:00pm

This presentation will consider the themes and reception of different reality shows in the Balkans (such as To Sam Ja (That’s Me, 2005)) that attempt to re-connect and integrate the former Yugoslav republics after the wars. Drawing on examples taken from the production and reception of the shows, I explore the ways in which these TV programs manage social, political and economic conflicts by transposing them into the realm of the personal.

Science, Secrecy, and the Soviet State
Asif Siddiqi
Wed, 05/13/2015 - 4:00pm

Secrecy was endemic in Soviet society and culture. Information that we might consider benign in the Western context was off-limits to most of the general populace throughout the existence of the Soviet Union. Controls over the circulation of information were particularly strict relating to matters of national security, which usually subsumed most scientific and engineering activity. Yet, the state also had an imperative to publicize Soviet achievements in science and technology even as it kept most of this activity secret.

Key Research Trends in the Digital Humanities: How the Digital Humanities Challenge the Idea of the Humanities
Alan Liu
Thu, 04/30/2015 - 4:00pm

How do such key methods in the digital humanities as data mining, mapping, visualization, social network analysis, and topic modeling make an essential difference in the idea of the humanities, and vice versa? Using examples of digital humanities research, Alan Liu speculates on the large questions that confront the humanities in the face of computational media–most importantly, questions about the nature and function of interpretive “meaning.”

Crowdsourcing and Online Services: the Good, the Bad, and the Lucrative
Ben Zhao
Tue, 04/07/2015 - 3:00pm

Crowdsourcing provides a fast and easy way for those with challenging problems to get help from real human "workers" across the Internet.  The growing popularity of crowdsourced systems has a number of implications on the security and viability of today's online systems.  In this talk, I'll present some of our recent results across multiple projects that study the various benefits and downsides of crowdsourced systems.  First, I'll briefly describe some of our earlier work on using crowdsourced workers to detect fake user profiles in online social networks.

Climate Data Detectives: On the History and Politics of Knowledge about Global Climate Change
Paul Edwards
Thu, 02/19/2015 - 4:00pm

Edwards teaches in in the School of Information (SI) and the Dept. of History at the University of Michigan, an interdisciplinary professional school focused on bringing people, information, and technology together in more valuable ways. His research explores the history, politics, and cultural aspects of computers, information infrastructures, and global climate science. He sometimes direct the University of Michigan Science, Technology & Society Program which sponsors a distinguished speaker series, a biweekly faculty colloquium, a graduate certificate, and an undergraduate minor.

Drone Logic: Distributed, Ubiquitous Monitoring and the “Big Data” Deluge
Mark Andrejevic
Fri, 02/06/2015 - 2:00pm

The presentation is not about drones, per se (that is, the armed surveillance devices used in contemporary forms of asymmetrical warfare), but about what might be described as drone logic: the deployment of ubiquitous, always-on networked sensors for the purposes of automated data collection, processing, and response. It treats the drone as an avatar of the emerging logic of increasingly passive interactivity.

Networked Protests in the 21st Century: Strengths, Weaknesses and Protester Desires
Zeynep Tufekci
Fri, 02/06/2015 - 12:00pm

Early predictions about Internet's impact on social movements was that lower coordination costs afforded by internet technologies would help help fuel movements, but that online symbolic acts, derided as slacktivism, would turn out to be of little to no influence. Based on field research and study of in multiple large movements, including those of the so-called Arab Spring, Gezi protests in Turkey, Occupy in the United States, I conclude the opposite.

The Materiality of the Virtual: A Global Environmental History of Computing from Babbage to Bitcoin
Nathan Ensmenger
Wed, 01/21/2015 - 5:00pm

For most Americans, one of the defining features of the modern digital economy is the invisibility of its material infrastructure.

Social Technologies and Social Cognition: Vicarious Learning through Ambient Awareness
Paul Leonardi
Thu, 01/15/2015 - 12:00pm

A great many studies have extolled the virtues of shared cognition within social organizations. When individuals within teams and organizations share similar mental maps of task and communication behavior they perform better on a whole host of outcomes (e.g., faster product development, higher quality outputs, increased team performance, increased individual satisfaction at work, etc.). But how can individuals who work together develop shared cognition?

I like the news: Informational uses of social media and processes of attitude formation and expression
Stephan Winter
Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:00pm

Besides their original role as tools for private communication, social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook are increasingly used as sources of information on political and societal debates: News media organizations and politicians have set up channels within the network, and users frequently discuss current topics with their friends – especially in the younger population, SNS have become one of the major sources of news.