Lori Emerson, Assistant Professor of English
University of Colorado at Boulder
MITH Conference Room
Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 12:30 pm
Emerson will discuss her current two-part book project, titled OTHER NETWORKS, and how it moves through both technical and user-based accounts of networks that outside of or before the Internet, asking both how and for whom each network works (in this case the "whom" will mostly be writers and artists). The project then looks at how the shift from rhetoric that celebrates liberationism via telecommunications networks in the 70s and 80s to rhetoric that calls for libertarianism via the Internet starting in the early to mid-90s may have actually been a kind of release of a repression. While you can trace an almost complete reversal of the meaning of 'free' and 'open' in relation to distributed networks to communitarian and even socialist, networks in the early 70s such as Community Memory and Project Cybersyn, you can also trace an even earlier reversal - perhaps the true seed of what's called "cyberlibertarianism" - to the 1960s, in the conceptualization and design of ARPANet and ARPA-related networks that, in the spirit of the managerial theory of the day (just as much or perhaps more than in the spirit of the 1960s counter-culture), emphasized creativity, cooperation, and community. In short, the history of how the Internet came to be has yet to be told and it's truly anything but linear and uninterrupted.