[Air-L] CFP: Comparative Internet Histories (edited collection)

Jean Burgess je.burgess at qut.edu.au
Tue Jul 30 22:55:00 PDT 2013

Comparative Internet Histories

Gerard Goggin and Mark McLelland (editors)


Although the Internet is entering its fifth decade, the understanding and formulation of its histories outside of a Euro-American framework is very much in its infancy. In this collection, which arises from a workshop at the 2013 Association of Internet Researchers Conference: http://ir14.aoir.org/preconference-workshop-appropriating-the-internet-alternative-comparative-histories/, contributors explore some of the problems, questions, methods, biases, narratives, and metaphors that underlie research into the Internet’s diverse histories.

Given that “the Internet” is so often spoken of as a “global” and “deterritorialised” technology, it might be supposed that specific cultures of use can be replicated anywhere that has Internet connectivity. Yet what Internet technologies are available and preferred depends upon cultural factors as well as market and policy factors such as government regulation, competition between providers, and pricing. In its current phase of development -- often approached through ideologies and discourses such as “web 2.0,” “convergence culture,” and “user-generated content” -- the Internet is dominated by social networking systems (SNS) and a focus on users’ role in production as well as consumption. Far from one SNS dominating globally, however, the rise of this technology has been multiple and divergent, reflecting the localized adaptations of the Internet. To grasp the significance of web 2.0 features requires an acknowledgement of the existing media cultures influential upon users, as well as the effects of industry, policy, and social contexts, and the ways that imported – and local – technologies are being domesticated.

The localised Internet histories that are emerging, and continue to evolve, need to be investigated through a cultural history of the development of the various aspects of the Internet in different regions and social contexts. This is evident in early applications such as email, BBS, and text-based online communities, through the adoption of the web and the rise of mass Internet, as well as more recent technologies such as blogs, SNS, and mobile and wireless technologies.

This collection brings together researchers working on country-specific and regional histories of the Internet as well as those researching transnational platforms and communities, thus adding to our understanding of the different historical patterns of Internet development and deployment.

Existing chapters

“Doing Internet Histories” Gerard Goggin (University of Sydney)

 “Oral Histories of the Net: Australians Tell the Story of their ‘Connection’ via the Internet” Matthew Allen (Deakin University)

“A Decade of ‘Social Media’ and what to Do about It: Methodological Challenges of Historicising the Proprietary Web” Jean Burgess (Queensland University of Technology)

 “The Forgotten Foreign Phase: Early BBS Systems in Japan” Mark McLelland (University of Wollongong)

“Challenging the Net: Japanese Political Campaigns and the Internet 1995 to 2013” Leslie M. Tkach-Kawasaki (University of Tsukuba)

“Japanese CMC as an Expanded Intimate Sphere: an Historical Analysis of Human Relationships Online” Takanori Tamura (Hosei University)

“Internet Memory of a Counter-Hegemonic Group: An Oral History Perspective on Chinese Internet History” Angela Xiao Wu (Northwestern University)

 “Niche Goes Global: A History of a Digitised Musical Subculture” Andrew Whelan (University of Wollongong)

We invite further chapter proposals including but not limited to the following topics:

• What are the challenges of doing Internet histories, and what are the particular issues for concepts, methods, tools, documentation, archives, interpretative strategies, and presentation of research findings? How do these factors differ across societies?
• What are the implication of specific cultural metaphors and ways of thinking about the Internet for the technology’s development in specific countries and regions outside North America and Western Europe?
• Forgotten phases of the Internet – important developments that have not been recorded in mainstream accounts Internet history.
• Internet histories outside of North America and Western Europe.
• The oral history of the net outside of North America and Western Europe.
• The Internet and Social Activism outside of North America and Western Europe.

Please send a brief bio, proposed title and a 250 word abstract to Mark McLelland (markmc at uow.edu.au) by 4 November 2013.

Already coming to AoIR 2013? Then join us at the Internet Histories Workshop to discuss your proposal: http://ir14.aoir.org/preconference-workshop-appropriating-the-internet-alternative-comparative-histories/

Editors' contact details

Professor Gerard Goggin,
Department of Media and Communications,
University of Sydney
e: gerard.goggin at sydney.edu.au
Web: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/media_communications/staff/gerard_goggin.shtml

Professor Mark McLelland,
School of Social Sciences, Media and Communication
University of Wollongong
e: markmc at uow.edu.au
web: http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/ssmac/staff/UOW018742.html

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