Distraction Free Reading

New Year, New Team: Welcome from the Editor

The year has gotten off to a contentious start, with recent events triggering lively debates on social (and other) media, notably the deadly attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7. Ensuing discussions about free speech, religion, and extremism at times reiterate old tropes about Islam and the Muslim world, yet other responses call attention to larger social and historical contexts, such as postcolonialism in Europe and elsewhere. My Facebook and Twitter feeds last week were dominated first by those proclaiming #JeSuisCharlie, and then followed by others countering #JeNeSuisPasCharlie. But of course, social media feeds are increasingly determined by opaque algorithms, raising further questions about the intersection of technology, politics, and corporate power in social life.

These debates illustrate once again the value of scholarly blogs and research on emerging technologies and their imbrication in everyday life – concerns that motivate much of what we do here at the CASTAC Blog. With that in mind, I’m pleased to announce some changes in the Blog’s team for the upcoming year.

First, I want to say thanks to Patricia Lange, the Blog’s editor-in-chief for the past two years and one of its co-founders. Patricia’s leadership, organization, and imagination brought the blog and its structure into being. She helmed the addition of Associate Editors to the team last year, who each bring different areas of interest and expertise, keeping the blog dynamic and relevant. I want to introduce the new team briefly and express my gratitude to the outgoing folks who have made it such a success. Angela VandenBroek is now officially our Web Producer, which is lucky for us, since she’s an anthropologist who is also a web developer, and Michael Scroggins, stepping into a new role as CASTAC Outreach Manager. I also want to thank past AEs Nick Seaver, CASTAC’s new co-chair, and Luis Felipe R. Murillo, as well as Jenny Cool, outgoing co-chair and the blog’s Executive Producer, without whom CASTAC would not be the vibrant research community it’s become.

This year’s lineup promises to continue the engaging and diverse conversations that have characterized the blog so far, including returning AEs Todd Hansen, Shreeharsh Kelkar, Casey O’Donnell, Ian Lowrie, and Beth Reddy, while joining us are Elizabeth Rodwell, Adam Webb-Orenstein, Emily Wanderer, and Jamie Sherman. I’m excited to see so much interest in the blog, a testament both to the timeliness of the topics and the blogging format as a way to conduct scholarship in a more publicly accessible space. One final bit of news — at AAA this past December, we unveiled plans for a new site design, which we will be working to implement in the months ahead!

If you have an idea for a post, don’t hesitate to contact the AE whose area aligns most closely with the topic, or email me, jkraemer@wesleyan.edu. We are always looking for new contributors!

The CASTAC Blog 2015

Incoming Associate Editors

Elizabeth Rodwell
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Anthropology, Rice University
Television, interactive technologies, robotics, image theory, aesthetics, social media, journalism

Jamie Sherman
Intel Labs
Politics of bodily technologies, personal data, health and fitness, wearable technology

Emily Wanderer
Visiting Lecturer
Department of Anthropology, Wellesley College
Medicine, biology, multispecies turn, the environment, Latin America

Adam Webb-Orenstein
Doctoral student
Department of Anthropology, Rice University
Innovation, entrepreneurship, user experience research, economic geography

Returning AEs

Todd Hanson
Occupational Ethnographer
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Scientific practice, laboratory culture, science & everyday life, training in anthro/STS

Shreeharsh Kelkar
Ph.D. Candidate
MOOCs, everyday technology, artificial intelligence, big data

Ian Lowrie
Doctoral student
Rice University
Artificial intelligence, infrastructures, informatics

Lisa Messeri
Assistant Professor
University of Virginia
Outer space, space industry, earth sciences

Casey O’Donnell
Assistant Professor
Michigan State University
Games, software industry, work, computing general

Elizabeth Reddy
Ph.D. Candidate
Anthropology, University of California, Irvine
Earth sciences, laboratory sciences, environmental anthropology

I’ll be learning a lot from the AE’s posts, and look forward to working with the new team — and the extended CASTAC community — to foster further conversations on the anthropology of science and technology.

Jordan Kraemer
Editor-in-chief, The CASTAC Blog

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