requiem for certainty

Archive for January 2014

Infopolitics piece in the New York Times

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My short opinion piece on infopolitics in the New York Times is just out.  In it I discuss ideas at the center of my current book project.  The focus is on how information became the political morass that it is today.  A big part of the story has to do with how we all became the informational morasses that we are today.  I call these two parts of the story ‘informational politics’ and ‘informational persons’.

The broader project is a ‘history of the present’ of our contemporary zero-moment of dragnet surveillance, big data analytics, and other intersections of information and politics in which we are finding ourselves. The historical part of the project traces a genealogy of where we find ourselves today back to the late nineteenth century.  The image here is one of umpteen emblems for the project: Emma Goldman’s 1893 mug shot: her crime was “anarchism” for which she spent two weeks in Moyamensing Prison in Philadelphia.  Other emblems might include: Francis Galton’s bertillon (or anthropometry) record, the fingerprint records of Sir William Herschel, Herman Hollerith’s tabulating machine which was used to produce the first computer (or at least proto-computer) tabulated census in 1890, or future Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis’s co-authored 1890 article on what we would later come to call ‘information privacy’.

Please spread the word on the NYT article (and if you feel moved to leave a comment please do so as that would help if I approach them in the future with another piece).

See the post below for a recent recording of a lecture I gave on this topic.


Written by Colin Koopman

January 27, 2014 at 2:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized