Announcing BCNM's New Director Tom McEnaney

15 Jun, 2023

Announcing BCNM's New Director Tom McEnaney

We are pleased to announce that Tom McEnaney, Associate Professor of Spanish & Portuguese and Comparative Literature, will serve as the next Director of the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM), beginning July 1, 2023, building on the outstanding leadership of Abigail De Kosnik.

Abigail De Kosnik, Associate Professor of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies and New Media has served as BCNM’s Director since July 1, 2019, during which time she has advanced several key initiatives and overseen large-scale realignments. De Kosnik shepherded BCNM’s relocation to the College of Engineering, while simultaneously updating the Center’s mission and vision statement to more explicitly address issues of equity and technological justice. One of De Kosnik’s key achievements in the role has been the launch of the Center’s Indigenous Technologies program. The ongoing series, which already has produced 12 events with over 7,600 attendees during the past three years engages questions of technology and new media in relation to global structures of indigeneity, settler colonialism and genocide in the 21st century. De Kosnik also established BCNM’s first flagship undergraduate large enrollment course, Transforming Tech, for which she won an American Cultures Teaching Award. The course, which emphasizes issues of technology and social difference to fundamentally alter the future of tech, is also set to debut this summer as an online offering to reach an even greater audience. In recognition of the vital impact of De Kosnik’s research and service to the new media community, she was awarded the craigslist Distinguished Chair in New Media. Currently, De Kosnik is using the funds associated with the Chair to trace a history of alternative technological cultures by focusing on media piracy by people of color, LGBTQIA+ folx, and women/femmes in her new book “Minority Piracy,” and to lead the Color of New Media working group in producing its second volume of essays.

Tom McEnaney will enrich the trajectory that De Kosnik has established for the Berkeley Center for New Media through his own expertise in Latin America and sound studies. McEnaney works on the history of media and technology, Argentine, Cuban, and U.S. literature, sound studies, linguistic anthropology, computational (digital) humanities and new media studies. One of McEnaney’s key contributions will be to draw a focus on Latinx media ecologies, working with the Center for Latin American Studies, to strengthen ties to Latin American users and makers of new media . BCNM will establish this program in the 2023-2024 season with four artists and theorists. In addition, McEnaney will also be focusing BCNM’s attention on interdisciplinary responses to the rise of AI through a collaboration with the Townsend Center for the Humanities. The initial panels will bring together engineers, scholars, artists, and authors from industry and academia to discuss ChatGPT and the Humanities, as well as machine translation (like Google Translate) and literature . With the support of their Indigenous Technologies coordinator, Sierra Edd, McEnaney will also launch a series of Indigenous sound studies events. Under McEnaney’s leadership, BCNM further seeks to embark on its first paid public workshop series. Previously, McEnaney was named a Mellon New Directions Fellow with an emphasis in cultural analytics, and he plans to draw on his knowledge in this field to strengthen BCNM’s contributions to cultural analytics through events and closer alignment with the Digital Humanities.

Thank you to Abigail De Kosnik for your exceptional leadership over the past four years and congratulations to Tom McEnaney on your new leadership position at BCNM.