the critique of technology; philosophy of technology; STS; ethics; disaster studies; risk; computer history; libraries; the Anthropocene; history of technology; Lewis Mumford; Günther Anders; environmental history; post-scarcity; robots; media ecology; apocalyptic romanticism; material culture; Luddism; utopianism.
My research focuses on the end of the world. More specifically I am interested in the belief that humanity’s romance with technology has the species (and the planet) set on a course that will inevitably lead to catastrophe. Thus, my work sits at the intersection of the history of technology and disaster studies, as I consider the roles that technological systems play in causing and exacerbating the risks that can lead to disasters. Currently, my research is particularly focused on the ways in which computers create risk, and the way in which societies understand and seek to ameliorate these dangers. This research draws heavily on twentieth-century thinkers who expressed misgivings and issued warnings about the direction they feared complex technological systems were pushing society. In undertaking this work, I am inspired by Erich Fromm’s comment that, “if people are not aware of the direction in which they are going, they will awaken when it is too late and when their fate has been irrevocably sealed.”
Prior to coming to Penn I completed an MA from the department of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University and an MSIS from the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. I have worked as a librarian for many years – most recently as a reference librarian at the Center for Jewish History, though I have also worked for the New York Public Library and as a librarian in Zucotti Park.
"From Megatechnic Bribe to Megatechnic Blackmail: Mumford's 'Megamachine' After the Digital Turn." Boundary 2: Digital Studies. 2018.
"The Hashtag Comes First: Jacques Ellul and Occupy Wall Street." in Political Illusion and Reality: Engaging the Prophetic Insights of Jacques Ellul. (eds. David W. Gill and David Lovekin). Eugene: Pickwick Publications, 2018.
"Introduction." in Islands in the Cyberstream: Seeking Havens of Reason in a Programmed Society. Joseph Weizenbaum and Gunna Wendt. Sacramento: Litwin Books, 2015.