Seeking Fordham Grad Student for Part-time Graduate Assistantship at McGannon

The McGannon Center is looking for a graduate assistant for the 2015-2016 school year. The McGannon Center conducts research on information policy, the internet, and society. The position is on-campus at Fordham’s Rose Hill campus near Faculty Memorial Hall for 10-15 hours a week (hours are flexible and some work may be done remotely). The ideal candidate is a motivated, organized Fordham graduate student with an interest in technology and society.

Job responsibilities will include administrative tasks (paperwork, telephone calls, office supply ordering, event organization, email, and so forth), working with visiting scholars, sourcing and curating relevant literature and research materials, and social media management. If you are interested, please send CV and cover letter to amarwick@gmail.com.

Alice Marwick is Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies and the Director of the McGannon Communication Research Center at Fordham University. Her work examines the legal, political, and social implications of popular social media technologies.

Serena Bassi’s Lecture on “It Gets Better”

We really enjoyed Serena Bassi’s recent lecture on the “It Gets Better Project” and what is gained– and lost– in translation from English to the Italian context. Dr. Bassi is a fantastic interdisciplinary scholar working on the notion of “homonormativity” and its relationship to embedded US cultural narratives of manifest destiny, American exceptionalism, and neoliberalism. She’s been at the Center this spring working with Dr. Marwick and other Fordham and New York area scholars to investigate how this is complicated by the project’s mediation through YouTube, a Silicon Valley social media technology with its own embedded cultural narratives.

It’s only fitting that this video be the first in our new McGannon Center YouTube channel.

Thanks to Dr. Bassi for her lecture and her contributions to the intellectual environment at Fordham this semester!

Seeking Graduate Assistant for 2015-2016 School Year

We’re looking for a great Fordham grad student who can help with McGannon this fall and spring semesters. Job has potential for summer hours as well.

The McGannon center conducts research on information policy, the internet, and society. The position is on-campus at Rose Hill near Faculty Memorial Hall for 15 hours a week (hours are flexible and much work may be done remotely). The ideal candidate is a self-starter interested in the social, legal, and political implications of technology.

Job responsibilities will include administrative tasks (paperwork, telephone calls, office supply ordering, event organization, email, and so forth), sourcing and curating relevant literature and research materials, helping to administer the Book Award, and social media management. If you are interested, please send CV and cover letter to amarwick@gmail.com.

Alice Marwick is Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies and the Director of the McGannon Communication Research Center at Fordham University. Her work examines the legal, political, and social implications of popular social media technologies. More at http://www.tiara.org and http://www.mcgannoncenter.com.

April 21: Serena Bassi Lecture on “It Gets Better”

McGannon Center Technology & Society Lecture Series

April 21, 2015
11 – 12:30pm
John Mulcaney Hall 404, Rose Hill, Fordham University

Dr. Serena Bassi, University of Cardiff
McGannon Visiting Scholar

Bringing the Message to LGBTQ Youth Around the World? Online Activism, Translation and Cultural Work

The McGannon Center is pleased to present visiting scholar Serena Bassi, Leverhulme Early Career Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Modern Languages, University of Cardiff, Wales, as part of our Technology & Society Lecture Series. Dr. Bassi will discuss the Italian translation of Dan Savage’s “It gets better” campaign and the negotiation of sexual identities and political struggles between the United States and Italy.

Abstract

This paper examines the functioning of the personal narratives that survivors of homophobic bullying construct when sharing their experiences on online platforms. The very articulation of a personal story of oppression and liberation so as to fit a prescribed format will be closed in on and interrogated as a form of feminized cultural work.

I will focus on the Italian version of the “It Gets Better” YouTube campaign, which was initially devised in response to a spate of LGBT teen suicides in the United States. Like the English language original, the Italian version “Le cose cambiano” (Things Change, 2012) invites users to upload personal stories that promote the anti-homophobic message of the campaign. Commentators on the U.S. version agree that the stories follow one particular script: determined to “make it better,” an adult LGBT individual overcomes the hardships of their teenage years and lives a happy “out” adult life. Since the goal of the campaign is to wage something of a national war on homophobia, it is hardly surprising that such a narrative is evoked; the story of redemption and self-entrepreneurship underwriting these narratives has been described as quintessentially American.

As the “It Gets Better” website explains, “the Project is developing resources and effecting change in ways that are tailored to local language, culture and need.” However, what this framing works to conceal is that the tailoring of an English-language, U.S.-based project to other languages and to non-Anglophone cultures entails a work of translation. This work is performed invisibly by the individual users who upload their content onto the platform. This paper seeks to widen our idea of translating on online platforms beyond linguistic translation, by shoring up the asymmetrical nature of transnational exchange and by providing tools to look critically at the making of narratives of oppression and liberation on social media.

2014 Book Award Nominations Now Open!

Nominations for the 2014 Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communication Technology Research are now open!

We are making some changes this year.

We have broadened the scope of the award to book-length research published in 2014 that addresses the social justice and/or ethical dimensions of communication technology, broadly defined. This will still allow for the award to be given to outstanding books covering media and communication policy, but it opens up the award to the many deserving works that deal with the ethics of communication technology that may not be entirely policy-focused.

We have a new awards committee. This year, the 2014 Awards Committee consists of Dr. Alice Marwick (the McGannon Director); Prof. Aram Sinnreich of Rutgers University, author of the upcoming Piracy Crusade: How the Music Industry’s War on Sharing Destroys Markets and Erodes Civil Liberties; Prof. Megan Finn of the University of Washington School of Information, who works on information infrastructure and crisis informatics; and Dr. Katie Shilton of the University of Maryland, whose research looks at ethics and policy in information systems. I am extremely excited to have Drs. Sinnreich, Finn, and Shilton on board at McGannon and think they will do an outstanding job.

We have a new awards ceremony. We are joining forces with Fordham’s Communication and Media Studies Sperber Prize committee, who give a book award every year for an outstanding journalism biography. The winners of the Sperber Award and the McGannon Award will be jointly honored at a ceremony in New York City in the fall of 2015, where the winner will be awarded their prize money and a plaque.

For more information, please see the Book Award page. Nominations are due April 1st, 2015. 

How Our Data is Being Deeply Mined

McGannon co-director Alice Marwick’s recent talk on commercial data-mining was published in January by the New York Review of Books:

 

The recent revelations regarding the NSA’s collection of the personal information and the digital activities of millions of people across the world have attracted immense attention and public concern. But there are equally troubling and equally opaque systems run by advertising, marketing, and data-mining firms that are far less known. Using techniques ranging from supermarket loyalty cards to targeted advertising on Facebook, private companies systematically collect very personal information, from who you are, to what you do, to what you buy. Data about your online and offline behavior are combined, analyzed, and sold to marketers, corporations, governments, and even criminals. The scope of this collection, aggregation, and brokering of information is similar to, if not larger than, that of the NSA, yet it is almost entirely unregulated and many of the activities of data-mining and digital marketing firms are not publicly known at all.

Read the full article at the New York Review of Books site.