Abigail De Kosnik Named the 2020-2025 craigslist Distinguished Chair in New Media

02 Sep, 2020

Abigail De Kosnik Named the 2020-2025 craigslist Distinguished Chair in New Media

Photo credit: John Lawson​

We are thrilled to announce that Abigail De Kosnik has been named the 2020-2025 craigslist Distinguished Chair in New Media.

The Chair was donated by in recognition of the BCNM’s “long tradition in facilitating the technical and cultural advances on which modern society depends” and its position in “illuminating the exponentially expanding opportunities and impacts of new media across a host of disciplines.”

As the craigslist chair, Gail will not only support her own highly interdisciplinary new media scholarship in the field, but also build a diverse new media community on campus.

In “Performing Piracy,” Gail traces a history of alternative technological cultures—that is, cultures reliant on unauthorized media production, distribution, and/or reception. Her book will focus on historical and contemporary acts of media piracy performed by people of color, LGBTQ people, women, and people outside of the U.S. Her central argument is that piracy has long served as a kind of subaltern infrastructure, taking place underneath, around, and/or in direct opposition to the core of government and corporate technological systems. As such, piracy constitutes a category of activity through which people have performed against imperialism, totalitarianism, capitalism, and techno-hegemony, and for the expansion of human rights.

Her second project supports the new media community. Not only will Gail build on BCNM’s history of excellent public programming and convene two symposia on Frandom & Piracy and the Internet as Infrastructure, she will also help lead the Color of New Media working group in producing its second volume of essays. Gail co-founded, and currently co-directs with Prof. Keith Feldman, the working group, which in 2019 published its first essay collection, #identity: Hashtagging Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Nation (University of Michigan Press, 2019). Most of the essays in #identity were authored by Berkeley graduate students, and constituted the students’ first-ever publications. As part of this program, she will host a one-day workshop on drafts of the manuscript, and hire a writing coach to assist graduate students in their work.

Prof. De Kosnik’s cutting edge work highlights underrepresented communities, exhibiting the expansive impacts of new media and illuminating our understanding of cultural change. Her ambitious, collaborative approach to research benefits us all. Gail embodies the vision of the BCNM and will make an excellent craigslist Distinguished Chair of New Media.