Information & Culture is an academic journal printed three times a year by the University of Texas Press. It publishes original, high-quality, peer reviewed articles examining the social and cultural influences and impact of information and its associated technologies, broadly construed, on all areas of human endeavor. In keeping with the spirit of information studies, we seek papers emphasizing a human-centered focus that address the role of and reciprocal relationship of information and culture, regardless of time and place.

The journal welcomes submissions from an array of relevant theoretical and methodological approaches, including but not limited to historical, sociological, psychological, political and educational research that address the interaction of information and culture.

To learn more about our submission standards or submit an article for publication in Information & Culture, visit our submission requirements page.


 

Available book reviews in the upcoming issue (Fall 2022)

We are pleased to announce the following recently published book reviews for the upcoming issue, Volume 57 Number 3:

The Information Revolution in Early Modern Europe by Paul M. DoverThe Information Revolution in Early Modern Europe by Paul M. Dover

Reviewed by Rachel Midura

"Information Revolution is a history of information management, defined as 'new efforts to store and categorize information and the paper that contained it.' (2)"

 

 

Social Media and the Automatic Production of Memory: Classification, Ranking, and Sorting of the Past by Ben Jacobsen and David BeerSocial Media and the Automatic Production of Memory: Classification, Ranking, and Sorting of the Past by Ben Jacobsen and David Beer

Reviewed by Trang Le

"In Social Media and the Automatic Production of Memory, Ben Jacobsen and David Beer examine the pervasive power of social media to intervene in one of the most intimate aspectsof our lives: how we remember." 

 

 

Bitstreams: The Future of Digital Literary Heritage by Matthew G. KirschenbaumBitstreams: The Future of Digital Literary Heritage by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum

Reviewed by Roopika Risam

"In addition to his insightful analysis of the influence of digital media on book history, where Kirschenbaum’s book particularly excels is in his critical insights on the habits of mind and cognitive processes that subtend the kinds of literary investigations one might undertake in digital literary archives."

 

 

 Operation Valhalla: Writings on War, Weapons, and Media by Friedrich KittlerOperation Valhalla: Writings on War, Weapons, and Media by Friedrich Kittler, edited and translated by Ilinca Iurascu, Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, and Michael Wutz

Reviewed by Thorsten Ries

"Operation Valhalla collects German media theorist Friedrich Kittler’s (1943-2011) essays, lectures and interviews on war, weapons and media from the time period 1985 to 2009, in English translation."

 

 

A City Is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences by Shannon MatternA City Is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences by Shannon Mattern

Reviewed by Hannah R. Hopkins

"In A City Is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences, Shannon Mattern charts futures for urban planning and design that take into account the entangled, embodied knowledges that comprise a city."

 

 

Game History and the Local Edited by Melanie SwalwellGame History and the Local edited by Melanie Swalwell

Reviewed by Samuel Tobin

"This book successfully shows what can happen if we start to bring new places, regions, and locales into our thinking about the history of games."


 


Digital Suffragists: Women, the Web, and the Future of Democracy by Marie TessierDigital Suffragists: Women, the Web, and the Future of Democracy by Marie Tessier

Reviewed by Mariah Wahl

"Marie Tessier’s Digital Suffragists: Women, the Web, and the Future of Democracy scrutinizes the history of platforms that limit women’s voices and examines how the underrepresentation of women online impacts our digital democracy."

 

 

Chinese Internet Buzzwords: Research on Network Languages in Internet Group Communication by Zhou YanChinese Internet Buzzwords: Research on Network Languages in Internet Group Communication by Zhou Yan

Reviewed by Xuanxuan Tan

"Chinese Internet Buzzwords: Research on Network Languages in Internet Group Communication addresses Internet catchphrases in Chinese cyberspace since 2010."

New Issue: Volume 57 Issue 2 (June 2022)

Special Issue: Digitizing Borders, Cities, and Landscapes
Guest Editor: Winifred R. Poster


Introduction: Digitizing Borders, Cities, and Landscapes

by Winifred R. Poster

Abstract:

This special issue asks what digital state-making means in border zones, cities, and landscapes. As a complement to discussions of such processes in cyberspace and virtual territory, we elaborate by exploring connections to physical territory. Authors provide firsthand accounts from a number of global locations where tech surveillance is especially apparent: the US-Mexico border; the city of Los Angeles; and the Uyghur borderlands of Northwest China. In these contexts, physical territory is important as a crucial linking point between massive databases in the cloud and technical systems on the land. It is where the state can surveil bodies and movements in order to identify them, codify them, and enter their features as data to be used later. This is happening at multiple levels of governance from national, regional, to city departments. And the differential impact on marginalized groups is evident throughout.


Who Is Watched? Racialization of Surveillance Technologies and Practices in the US-Mexico Borderlands

by Josiah Heyman

Abstract:

The US-Mexico border-lands are disproportionately targeted by detection technologies, data tracing, and policing. Such technologies are applied to a population of millions who largely are racialized as Mexican in the United States. Geoffrey Bowker and Susan Leigh Star have explored how technologies of classification and applications stemming from them embody important racial divides in their study of apartheid in South Africa. This article moves the examination of racialized technologies from the microscale to the macroscale by looking at the framing of a distinctive region and the people most characteristic of it as a surveillance and enforcement target.


Race, Algorithms, and the Work of Border Enforcement

Juan De Lara

Abstract:

This article uses border modernization programs, including the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR) and the Secure Border Initiative Network (SBInet), to examine how race and labor have been central to high-tech border enforcement strategies. While I discuss specific technologies and programs, I am less interested in the machines and much more concerned with the work they allow humans to do. By "work" I mean the epistemic and manual labor that is required to imagine, produce, and use border enforcement technologies. I integrate approaches from critical ethnic studies and geography to broaden how the mostly white fields of STS (science and technology studies) and military studies have treated border-making and enforcement technologies. Consequently, I argue that the machines, data networks, and human agents that constitute the modern border apparatus function as a sociotechnical articulation of the settler-colonial state.


The Everyday of Future-Avoiding: Administering the Data-Driven Smart City

by Leah Horgan

Abstract:

Drawing on a two-year ethnographic study of data-driven governance in Los Angeles, this study shows that while much is made of using smart, data-driven approaches to make better, more sustainable, and more connected city futures, the everyday practices of data-driven governance are instead wrapped around efforts to prevent unwanted futures. Put another way, while the rhetoric of the smart city promises a utopia of transparency, efficiency, and well-being, the practical application of smart city tools is cast through their opposites: preventing waste, crime, disaster, and so on. Detailing two administrative projects that aim to prevent through prediction—crime prevention and homelessness prevention—this study asks, What does the coupling of prevention logics and predictive analytics do? I suggest that rendering preferable futures by avoiding unwanted ones expands the epistemic infrastructure of the smart city and, with it, reliance on surveillance.


Producing "Enemy Intelligence": Information Infrastructure and the Smart City in Northwest China

by Darren Byler

Abstract:

Infrastructure power announces the priorities of a state: who and what is authorized to move and act, whose lives and what materials have significance. In the colonial context of the Uyghur region in Northwest China, surveillance systems—checkpoints, cameras, digital forensic tools, and nearly sixty thousand low-level "grid workers"—build forms of infrastructure power that make hidden or resistant populations appear legible, decoded, and editable as "enemy intelligence." Drawing on a recently obtained internal police database of thousands of Chinese-language digital files, ethnographic observations, and interviews with Muslims who recently fled from China to Kazakhstan, this article argues that in this location at the frontier of the neoliberal and illiberal East, a smart city functions in part as a neo-Taylorist assembly line that employs an army of grid workers to produce Muslim enemies and non-Muslim friends.


The Gentrification of the Internet: How to Reclaim Our Digital Freedom by Jessa Lingel (review)

Kimberly Anastácio

Excerpt: 

THERE ARE PLENTY OF METAPHORS TO DESCRIBE THE INTERNET AND ITS IMPLICATIONS...In this new book, Jessa Lingel explains through the gentrification metaphor how we got the Internet that we have now, what is bad about it, and what could be different.


Book Wars: The Digital Revolution in Publishing by John B. Thompson (review)

Leah Henrickson

Excerpt: 

"WHAT'S THAT YOU'RE READING?" MY SERVER ASKED AS SHE PLACED MY DRINK DOWN. I HAD AN hour before the next train and a review deadline to meet, so I chose to sit and read in a local pub. Holding up the book so she could see its front cover, I explained to the server that I was reading about how digital technologies are changing the state of publishing.


Technology and the Historian: Transformations in the Digital Age by Adam Crymble (review)

Katharina Hering

Excerpt: 

THE FIELD OF DIGITAL HISTORY HAS BEEN DOMINATED SINCE THE EARLY 2000S BY A "TECHNOlogically adept group of historians operating in an eternal present, both ignoring and being ignored by the histories of the field of which they should have been a part," writes Adam Crymble in Technology and the Historian.


Urgent Archives: Enacting Liberatory Memory Work by Michelle Caswell (review)

Bethany Radcliff

Excerpt: 

WHEN I SAT DOWN TO READ MICHELLE CASWELL'S NEWEST BOOKURGENT ARCHIVES, I DIDN'T expect her to call on archivists to participate in "mischief-making," but I'm here for it. 


Image Objects: An Archaeology of Computer Graphics by Jacob Gaboury (review)

Nabeel Siddiqui

Excerpt: 

DESPITE DIGITAL MEDIA'S UBIQUITY, THERE HAS BEEN LITTLE EXAMINATION OF THE COMPUTer's history as a visual rather than procedural device. In Image Objects: An Archaeology of Computer Graphics, Jacob Gaboury remedies this by tracing the development of computer graphics during the thirty years before the technology's proliferation in popular visual culture. 


Uncertain Archives: Critical Keywords for Big Data ed. by Nanna Bonde Thylstrup et al. (review)

Giulia Taurino

Excerpt: 

THE NARRATIVE AROUND BIG DATA HAS BEEN LARGELY SHAPED BY A QUEST FOR CERTAINTY built upon expectations of algorithmic efficiency, perfect predictive models, and strategic decision-making...This book, by contrast, emphasizes the value of uncertainty, using a feminist postmodern perspective to read unknowns, flaws, errors, and instabilities as generative moments of learning and critique.


Screen Love: Queer Intimacies in the Grindr Era by Tom Roach (review)

Fredrika Thelandersson

Excerpt: 

ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN SINGLE DURING THE LAST DECADE WILL BE AT LEAST CURSORILY familiar with the affective dimensions of dating apps (the excitement, disappointment, and inevitable miscommunication). Many have exclaimed over the negative impact of these technologies on romantic love.


The Promise of Access: Technology, Inequality, and the Political Economy of Hope by Daniel Greene (review)

Christine T. Wolf

Excerpt: 

HOW ARE PROBLEMS OF POVERTY TRANSMUTED INTO PROBLEMS OF TECHNOLOGY? HOW DO WE come to naturalize connections between technological advancement and greater societal equity? These questions are at the heart of The Promise of Access: Technology, Inequality, and the Political Economy of Hope by Daniel Greene.

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