BCNM Around the Web May

21 May, 2022

BCNM Around the Web May

Check out the great work of our students, faculty, and alumni around the web this May!

Ra Malika Imhotep

Ra Malika discussed gossypiin, her collection of poetry and Black feminist hypertext, in an author talk with Lost City Books.

More about gossypiin:

gossypiin is a Black feminist hypertext that registers the feeling of an experience of the world in which the self is an unstable plurality continuously unmade. It is a story marked into the flesh of the poet, transferred onto the page through a process of distillation. It is an enactment of Black feminist poetic utterance that tends to the inside parts. This harvest of poems is inspired by the plant medicine latent in Gossypium Herbaceum, or Cotton Root Bark, which was used by enslaved Black women to induce labor, cure reproductive ailments, and end unwanted pregnancies. Through an arrangement of stories and memories experienced, read, heard, reimagined, and remixed, the poet reckons with a peculiar yet commonplace inheritance of violation and survival. gossypiin performs an interruption of the narrative silence around sexual harm and the mark it makes on Black femme subjectivity.

Learn more about the event here!

Gossypiin was also celebrated in an integenerational porch sit with Charis Books. In this event, Ra Malika Imhotep was joined by doris davenpot and Aurielle Marie to converse on and celebrate Gossypiin.

Learn more about the event and watch the replay here!

The Southern Review of Books reviewed gossypiin in their April edition highlighting fantastic new poetry collections!

In the review:

This harvest of poems is inspired by the plant medicine latent in Gossypium Herbeceum, or Cotton Root Bark, which was used by enslaved Black women to induce labor, cure reproductive ailments and end unwanted pregnancies. Through an arrangement of stories, secrets and memories experienced, read, heard, reimagined and remixed, gossypiin reckons with a peculiar yet commonplace inheritance of violation, survival and self-possession.

Read all the reviews here!

Ra Malika featured as a reader along with two other Southern poets for Scalawag Magazine's Poetry and Playlists Live in honor of National Poetry Month. The virtual lunch break event joined readings and vibey, curated tunes in a perfect harmony.

Check out the event here!

Jenna Burrell & Morgan Ames
BCNM faculty Jenna Burrell and Morgan Ames featured as a panelist and the moderator for a panel on Scientific Controversies on Artifical Intelligence held by the UC Berkeley's Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society. The panel explored questions such as who has the power to set technoscientific agendas and policy and how common ground between science and engineering and media practices can improve the public and policymaker's understanding of ethical issues in STEM.

From the event description:

This panel will convene these experts to speak on these questions as they apply to machine learning, or what is often termed "artificial intelligence" (or AI) in the media. AI-supported systems have generated a rich set of controversies in the last decade: discrimination lawsuits, facial-recognition legislation, emotional manipulation, illegal electioneering, vaccine disinformation, environmental degradation, and even genocide have been pinned on the processes and results of AI. These experts will unpack controversies like these and reflect in the role that media coverage plays in public understanding and debate about these systems.

Learn more about the event here!

Abigail De Kosnik

Gail recently gave a lecture on the titled "The Many Piracies of Brides of Sulu" at Cornell University. The lecture explored the appropriation of Philippine films, the U.S. colonization of the Phillipines, and more as seen in the American film, Brides of Sulu.

From the lecture description:

In 1934, a U.S. production company released a film set in the southern Philippines called Brides of Sulu, about a pair of star-crossed lovers (one Muslim, one not) risking their lives to elope. In 2011, two Filipino film archivists began investigating whether Brides of Sulu was, in fact, two lost Philippine silent films from 1931, Moro Pirates and Princess Tarhata, edited together “to meet the U.S. demand at the time for movies that showcasted the exotic Orient” (San Diego Jr. 2011) and to justify the U.S.’s colonization of the Philippines. Archivist Teddy Co called Hollywood’s possible appropriation of the Philippine films an act of “piracy.” In this lecture, Professor De Kosnik will explore the multiple forms of piracy at work in and around the extant version of Brides of Sulu – not only the U.S. movie industry’s potential copying of Filipino silent works, but other forms of copying and plundering by Americans of Filipinos and of Filipinos by Americans, and the characterization of each group as piratical by the other, at the time of the U.S. colonization of the Philippines and beyond.

Learn more about the event here!

Hannah Zeavin

In an event for UC Santa Cruz's The Humanities Institute, Hannah will discusss the differences between "hot" and "cool" mothers and this sort of increasingly prevalent theory of parental fitness has affected parenting in the modern century.

“Hot and Cool Mothers” moves toward a media theory of mothering and parental “fitness.” The article begins with an investigation into midcentury pediatric psychological studies on Bad Mothers and their impacts on their children. The most famous, if not persistent, of these diagnoses is that of the so-called refrigerator mother. The refrigerator mother is not the only bad model of maternality that midcentury psychiatry discovered, however; overstimulating mothers, called in this study “hot mothers,” were identified as equally problematic. From the mid-1940s until the 1960s and beyond, class, race, and maternal function were linked in metaphors of temperature. Whereas autism and autistic states have been extensively elaborated in their relationship to digital media, this article attends to attributed maternal causes of “emotionally disturbed,” queer, and neurodivergent children. The author argues that these newly codified diagnoses were inseparable from midcentury conceptions of stimulation, mediation, domesticity, and race, including Marshall McLuhan’s theory of hot and cool media, as well as maternal absence and (over)presence, echoes of which continue in the present in terms like “helicopter parent.”

This talk has been rescheduled for Fall 2022! RSVP for the event here!

Alenda Chang

Alenda featured on a panel for Penn State's Digital Culture and Media Intiative titled DCMI: Ecology and Technology.

Alenda also spoke on the use technology and video games specifically to change how people think about the environment in abcNews article, "Video Game Companies take Steps to Tackle Environmental Issues".

From the article:

Chang said many video games treat nature as a beautiful backdrop or a source of resources but that the interactive and immersive nature of games could allow players to experiment and learn about humans' impact on the natural world as a living, breathing ecosystem in a way that sticks with them more than simply hearing or reading about it. She pointed to games like Shelter, where gamers play as a mother badger protecting her cubs, as a way to help gamers empathize with a non-human perspective or games like SimCity that can demonstrate large-scale impacts of human society.

Read the article here!

Alenda will be hosting a Masterclass on "Sustainable Design Patterns for the (Digital) Future" during June on the environmental models and that surround us. The Manchester Metropolitan University will provide participants of their summer school with the opportunity register for the Masterclass!

Register for Alenda's Masterclass here!

Jane McGonigal

Jane was recently spoke about her book, Imaginable: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything - Even Things that Seem Impossible Today in an interview with Alta Live.

From the interview:

She found that during the past two years of the pandemic, the word “unimaginable” appeared in 2.5 million English-language news stories and “unthinkable” appeared in 3 million. “When a crisis hits, if we haven’t prepared our imagination for it, we feel shock, we freeze, we deny,” she said. “Most people spent a good part of 2020 either denying or freezing.” Contemplating the future and taking small actions can alleviate our anxiety. “It’s not what will happen; it’s what do we want to happen? And we look for these opportunities to make the future.”

Watch the interview here!

Bo Ruberg

Bo presented their work from forthcoming book, Sex Dolls at Sea: Imagined Histories of Sexual Technologies at The Games Institute's "Imagined Histories of Sexual Technologies with Dr. Bo Ruberg".

From the event description:

Today’s interactive and playful technologies are increasingly intersecting with technologies of sex. Yet these intersections also have long histories. Tracing these histories—and challenging the ways that they are often told—has important implications for how we understand the cultural origins of contemporary video games and other forms of digital media. In this talk, Dr. Bo Ruberg will present work from their forthcoming book, Sex Dolls at Sea: Imagined Histories of Sexual Technologies (MIT Press, June 2022). The focus of their research in this area is on the history of the sex doll, which is often figured as the origin point for twenty-first-century technologies like sex robots, internet-enabled sex toys, artificial intelligence for sexual companionship, and pornographic virtual reality. Here, Dr. Ruberg will explain and interrogate the way that that history is commonly told in present-day narratives, which typically point back to the so-called dames de voyage, rudimentary sex dolls supposedly made by European sailors on long journeys at sea.

Learn more about the event here!

Bo also featured in bitchmedia's "How ASMR Redefines Digital Intimacy" to speak on the relationship between sex work and platforms like Twitch.

From the article:

This discriminatory and contradictory enforcement is partially aided by vague sexual-content guidelines that reveal these platforms’ anxieties about sex work, says Bo Ruberg, a game studies scholar who researches these policies on Twitch. “I think that’s where a lot of the nervousness comes from—streaming and webcam modeling are very, very close,” Ruberg says. “That closeness then requires platforms and streamers to work extra hard to try and distance themselves from it.”

Read the entire article here!

Christo Sims

Christo's book, Disruptive Fixation: School Reform and the Pitfalls of Techno-Idealism, was presented as one of the Book Clubs at the 2022 Civics of Technology Conference. Disruptive Fixation also won as the conference's March Madness Winning Book - the must read book about technology of the year!

Learn more about the event here!