As an author and a globally-minded digital media scholar, I am fundamentally interested in how media change over regimes of time, space, and power. My work takes historical, transnational, and critical approaches to that basic puzzle of why media technologies in general—and digital media in particular—take hold differently in different contexts.
My research seeks the long view of media and technology from the big bang to big data and is organized around coordinates of space (comparing media systems), time (new media history), and power (technology criticism). My most recent research has focused on the modern period, particularly the Western and Slavic intellectual traditions and their combination in the cold war sources of current information science, technology, and society.
Each of my current book projects brings into sharp focus such general questions:
How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (MIT Press, 2016) examines how computer networks took shape in the cold war technology race; my second solo-authored book, which is in the works, takes up time by offering a critical history of new media since 1890, not 1990; my first volume, Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture (Princeton University Press, 2016), a hybrid print-digital project showcased at Culture Digitally and edited in the spirit of Raymond Williams, examines the relationship of power and language in the age of search; and I am also developing or co-developing, among other book projects, edited volumes on global computing criticism and consequential conceptual slips in the information age.
I was raised near the cornfields of Iowa and educated on both coasts, earning my masters at Stanford and doctorate at Columbia. I now teach at the University of Tulsa and serve as an affiliated fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. I can often be found at home geeking out with Kourtney Lambert, an incandescent high school math teacher, and our children. Together we luxuriate in learning languages, sampling cuisines, and–when we are not exerting ourselves on Ultimate Frisbee and triathlons fields–just geeking out to music, math, and media. Kourtney chronicles our occasional antic on her blog.
Tweet at me @bjpeters