Archive for February, 2009

Coleman, Streeter, Thaw at the Harvard-MIT-Yale Cyber Scholars Working Group: March 26, 6:00-8:45 pm, room 129 (YLS)

February 25, 2009

Dear All, It is my distinct pleasure to announce the forthcoming ISP session of the Cyber Scholars Working Group, featuring the leading scholars Gabriella Coleman (NYU), Thomas Streeter (University of Vermont), and David Thaw (Yale ISP). Full Announcement: Thomas Streeter will also be presenting at a special Columbia Communications colloquium the day after, Friday, March 27th, 12-2 pm. Be there! Thank you all for attending this special event and for widely circulating and posting the announcement (with link). Sincerely, Ben Peters Full Announcement: ———————————————————————————– HARVARD-MIT-YALE CYBER SCHOLAR WORKING GROUP 1. *These are the Best of Times and these are the Worst of Times: Free Software and the Global Politics of Intellectual Property Law*(Gabriella Coleman) 2. *The History of the Internet in the History of the Internet *(Thomas Streeter) 3. *Understanding How Law and Regulation Drive Corporate Information Security Practices *(David Thaw) Thursday, March 26, 2009 Yale Law School Room 129 6:00 – 8:45 pm Food Provided: RSVP to Announcement: *Gabriella Coleman*: *These are the Best of Times and these are the Worst of Times: Free Software and the Global Politics of Intellectual Property Law* This talk interrogates the broader historical rise of free software in relationship to the massive changes that have transpired in intellectual property law in the last twenty five years. To do so, I present what were initially two independent historical trajectories concerning intellectual property that over the last decade have become intimately intertwined. The first trajectory pertains to free software’s maturity into a global techno-social and legal movement and the second turns to the globalization of intellectual property provisions pushed by trade associations, such as the Business Software Alliance, and administered through global institutional bodies, like the World Trade Organization. In this story, I emphasize a string of ironies (and briefly theorize the importance of historical irony), but the main irony that frames the narrative is the following: many hackers want to hack without being political but the broader result is not only quite political, F/OSS development has even politicized (though in very particular ways) a crop of hackers. While many free software hackers simply want to ensure their productive freedom and are driven by the pleasures of hacking (as opposed to explicit political resistance), the social element of this movement unintentionally acted like informal law education. Participation in free software inadvertently trained a generation of hackers to become an army of amateur legal scholars who have built a rival legal morality; these hackers now represent the largest pool of amateur intellectual property and free speech scholars in the world. Armed with this legal consciousness, many developers have come to question and some to intentionally fight the “global harmonization” of intellectual property principles. This narrative structure allows me to demonstrate how and when these partially independent trajectories intersected, to become inseparable histories locked in a battle over the future of the very technologies—notably the personal computer and the Internet—that have enabled and facilitated the existence of both proprietary software firms and the free software movement. *Thomas Streeter: **The History of the Internet in the History of the Internet* The embrace, use, and continued development of the internet has been shaped by the collective experience of how it emerged. Popular culture, everyday practice, and the U.S. Supreme Court assume the internet to be a uniquely open and democratic communication technology. This is not necessitated by technology itself. The openness of the internet, rather, is to a significant degree a product of the peculiar historical circumstances in which it developed. I will discuss how several historical contingencies contributed to the construction of the internet as open: the in the 1970s cultivation by advocates of “personal” computing of romantic expressive tropes against a backdrop of instrumental reasoning, the way engineers quietly guided the growing internet into a space between the differentially charged force fields of military, corporate, university, and NSF funding in the 1980s, and the connected rise of open source computing in the 1990s. As a result of this historical experience, the internet’s history has been inscribed in its practical character and use. The internet has served as a socially evocative object for millions, and created a context in which an ongoing exploration of the meaning of core principles like rights, property, freedom, capitalism, and the social have been made vivid and debated in ways that go well beyond the usual elite modes of discussion. It has played a key role in casting into doubt the certainties of both market policies and corporate liberal ones, and widened the range of possibility for democratic debate and action, bringing to the surface political issues that have been dormant since the progressive era in the U.S. But this efflorescence of openness is not the result of underlying truths about technology (or about progress or humanity) breaking through the crusts of tradition and inequality. It is the result of peculiarities of history and culture. The role of romanticism in particular reveals, not a universal truth, but the historical contingencies at work in the creation of both technology and democracy. As a practical matter, a new politics of internet policy making in the U.S. would be wise to take that history into account, and start from the widely felt tensions between romantic and utilitarian individualism and move towards a richer, more mature approach towards democratic decision-making. But the larger moral of this story is that democracy is an historical accident worth cultivating. *David Thaw:* *Understanding How Law and Regulation Drive Corporate Information Security Practices* My research seeks to develop an understanding of the relationship between regulation and corporate information security practices. I seek to understand whether specific forms of regulation yield information practices that have been identified as essential by experts in computer and information security, and through a comparative assessment whether certain forms of regulation are better aligned than others with these practices. Integrally related, I seek to understand the manner in which various forms of regulation alter the role of domain experts—specifically alter their power, independence and access to resources—within the regulated institution. Finally, through an analysis grounded in behavioral economics I seek to understand the ways in which specific forms of regulation affect firms information security investment strategies, both independently and within sectors. — *Gabriella Coleman* is an Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU. Her work examines the role of the law and new media technologies in extending and critiquing liberal values and sustaining new forms of political activism. She received her Ph.D. in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago and her B.A. from Columbia University. *Thomas Streeter* is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Vermont, where he studies the role of cultural beliefs in shaping things like institutions, property, legal regulation, and technology. His books include *Selling the Air: A Critique of the Policy of Commercial Broadcasting in the United States* (1996) and a forthcoming book tentatively titled *The Net Effect: Reflections on the Cultural Politics of Internet Structure*. *David Thaw* is a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. He is currently finishing his dissertation at UC Berkeley’s School of Information. David received his J.D. from Berkeley Law in 2008, his M.A. in Political Science from Berkeley in 2004, and his B.S. in Computer Science and B.A. in Government from the University of Maryland in 2003.

Art, Activism and the Interventionist’s Gesture, Feb 24, 6:30pm, EFA project space

February 12, 2009

But Does it Work? Art, Activism and the Interventionist’s Gesture

A Conversation between Joseph DeLappe, Stephen Duncombe, and Steve Lambert Tuesday, February 24th at 6:30 pm at EFA Project Space Artist/activists Joseph DeLappe and Steve Lambert join writer/activist/media scholar Stephen Duncombe to discuss what happens when artists interfere with existing structures of media in order to manipulate and use them as vehicles for political and social commentary. How do these forms of intervention compare to straight-forward art activism, and what are these artists hoping to achieve? How does one even measure success when utopia is the goal? The talk will focus on the artists’ works “dead-in-iraq”, “” and the recent faux New York Times “Special Edition” announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. EFA Project Space presents this event in conjunction with the exhibition Post Memory: A Collection of Makeshift Monuments, on view February 21- March 28. ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————– Joseph DeLappe is an Associate Professor and head of the Digital Media Program in the Department of Art, University of Nevada. As an electronic and new media artist since 1983, Delappe’s work in online gaming performance, electromechanical installation and real-time web-based video transmission has been shown throughout the United States and abroad. Stephen Duncombe teaches the history and politics of media and culture at the Gallatin School of New York University where he is an associate professor. He is the author of Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy and Notes From Underground: Zines and the Politics of Underground Culture, and the editor of the Cultural Resistance Reader. He also writes on the intersection of culture and politics for a range of publications, from The Nation to Playboy. Duncombe is a life-long political activist. / Steve Lambert is a Senior Fellow at the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in New York, and teaches at Parsons, The New School and Hunter College. He is the founder of the Anti-Advertising Agency, lead developer of Add-Art (a Firefox add-on that replaces online advertising with art) and has collaborated with numerous artists including the Graffiti Research Lab, and the Yes Men. Recently making international news with the The New York Times “Special Edition,” Lambert’s projects and art works have won awards and been exhibited nationally and internationally. /

Full Spring calendar for Heyman Center

February 2, 2009

Even more goodies…

Schedule of Events, Spring 2009

Admission to all Heyman Center events is free and open to the public.
No registration or tickets necessary.
Seating is on a first come, first served basis.
For more information, please visit

‘Globalization: Which Globe? Which Politics?’
Thursday, 5 February   6:15pm
Rennert Hall, the Kraft Center
(Basement level, 606 W. 115th St., between Broadway and Riverside Drive)
Co-sponsored by the Alliance Program

Poetry Reading followed by Interview conducted by Cóilín Parsons
Monday, 9 February   8:00pm
501 Schermerhorn Hall

‘You Must Change Your Life’
Thursday, 19 February   6:15pm
Heyman Center for the Humanities, Second Floor Common Room

‘How to Think About the Financial Crisis’
Wednesday, 2 March   12:15pm
301 Uris Hall
Co-sponsored by the Committee on Global Thought

MATTHEW JONES, discussant
‘Letter Kills: On Some Implications of 2 Corinthians 3:6’
Thursday, 5 March   6:15
Davis Auditorium, the Schapiro Center
Co-sponsored by the Columbia University History Department

‘Is Marxism Relevant Today?’
Wednesday, 11 March   6:15pm
Davis Auditorium, the Schapiro Center
Co-sponsored by the Committee on Global Thought

FARAH GRIFFIN, discussant
‘Barack Obama and the New Racial Politics’
Tuesday, 24 March   6:15pm
Heyman Center for the Humanities, Second Floor Common Room

The Wm. Theodore de Bary Lecture:
‘Japanese Authors Today’
Wednesday, 25 March   6:15pm
Davis Auditorium, the Schapiro Center

‘Wisdom in Ancient Thought’
– a two-day conference
Friday and Saturday, 3 and 4 April
Location TBA
Co-sponsored by the Center for the Ancient Mediterranean
and the University Seminar on Classical Civilization

– a day-long workshop
Monday, 6 April   10:00-4:00pm
Heyman Center for the Humanities, Second Floor Common Room
Co-Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Democracy, Tolerance, and Religion,
the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life,
and the Committee on Global Thought

‘The Politics of Recognition’
– a public lecture
Monday, 6 April   6:15pm
the Kellogg Center, 1501 International Affairs Building
Co-Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Democracy, Tolerance, and Religion,
the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life,
and the Committee on Global Thought

RICHARD HOWARD, discussant
Poetry Reading by Mark Strand followed by Conversation with Richard Howard
Wednesday, 8 April   6:15pm
Davis Auditorium, the Schapiro Center

‘Mumbai, Terror, and Islamism’
Thursday, 9 April   7:00pm
South Court Auditorium, First Floor,
New York Public Library (42nd St. at 5th Ave.)
Co-sponsored by the New York Public Library

MARK MAZOWER and others
– a day-long workshop on politics and the social sciences
Friday, 10 April   9:00am-5:00pm
Heyman Center for the Humanities, Second Floor Common Room

The Lionel Trilling Seminar:
‘Plato’s Cunning: Philosophy as Political Strategy’
Tuesday, 21 April   6:15pm
Davis Auditorium, the Schapiro Center

‘Baroque Prose’
Wednesday, 22 April   6:15pm
Davis Auditorium, the Schapiro Center

‘The Cinema of Satyajit Ray’
– a two-day conference
Friday and Saturday, 24 and 25 April
Heyman Center for the Humanities, Second Floor Common Room

Poetry Reading
Tuesday, 28 April   8:00pm
Altschul Auditorium, 417 International Affairs Building
Co-sponsored by the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society

Arendt after ’68

February 2, 2009

Some amazing names at the below event. Thanks to Robert Wosnitzer for the email.

Arendt After ’68: A Symposium February 12-13, 2009 Participants include: Richard Bernstein, New School Jean Cohen, Columbia Stathis Gourgouris, Columbia Ayten Gündoğdu, Barnard Fred Moten, Duke Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia Linda Zerilli, University of Chicago This symposium is devoted to a consideration of Hannah Arendt’s theorization of violence in America in the aftermath of 1968, especially as articulated in the short volume On Violence (1969). It is intended to follow the end of a cycle of reflective and sometimes nostalgic events marking the 40th anniversary of ‘68 at Columbia, and its title, Arendt after ‘68 reflects the symposium organizers’ sense that a full accounting for the events of that year (in the US and elsewhere) must include an analysis of the kinds of theoretical work produced in its aftermath. Schedule Thursday, February 12 Deutsches Haus 4:10pm Welcome: Elizabeth Povinelli (Columbia), Director, Institute for Research on Women and Gender 4:15pm Introductory Remarks: Rosalind Morris (Columbia), Conference Organizer 4:30pm Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Columbia), ‘An Honorary Male.’ Respondent: Kendall Thomas (Columbia) 5:30pm Richard Bernstein (New School), ‘The Enduring Legacy of Hannah Arendt: Power, Public Freedom, and Violence.’ Respondent: Andreas Kalyvas (New School) Friday, February 13 Room 501 Schermerhorn 10:30am Jean Cohen (Columbia), ‘Banishing the Sovereign? Arendt on Sovereignty and Freedom in America and Beyond.’ Respondent: Andreas Huyssen (Columbia) 11:30am Ayten Gündoğdu (Barnard), ‘Arendt on the Stateless: Rethinking the Violence of Rightlessness in an Age of Rights.’ Respondent: Lisa Wedeen (University of Chicago) 12:30–2:00pm Lunch Break 2:00pm Fred Moten (Duke), ‘Student Studies.’ Respondent: Brent Hayes Edwards (Columbia) 3:00pm Stathis Gourgouris (Columbia), “Anarchy’s Democracy.” Respondent: Nadia Urbinati (Columbia) 4:00pm Linda Zerilli (University of Chicago), ‘From Willing to Judging: Hannah Arendt’s Copernican Revolution.’ Respondent: Samuel Moyn (Columbia) 5:00pm Reception – 754 Schermerhorn Ext. Sponsored by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, with generous support from the Office of the Provost. For more information, please visit