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<nettime> new email list on the history of webcultures
Geert Lovink on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:29:05 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> new email list on the history of webcultures

WebCultures aims to bring together a growing number of researchers in the fields of web and internet history as well as the many archivists, artists, theorists, ethnographers, social scientists, critics and practitioners whose work intersects with the history of the web and new media culture. 

Ideally, the list will provide relevant announcements as well as a space for rich discussion and collaboration, for example around the following topics and questions:

Mapping the field 
What are established and emerging themes in web and internet history? Is it already possible to map a web historiography, in the sense of an overview of canonical questions, approaches and knowledge? How does existing work address the range of possible histories of web cultures, producers and users, media and communication forms, websites and platforms, web aesthetics, standards and protocols, software and programming languages, groups and institutions?

Where do web and internet history fit in existing media studies and communications programs? What kinds of digital media history courses are being developed? Should students born in the 1990s learn about Gopher or the development of RSS - and if so, what are the best ways to interest and motivate them?

Resources and methods
What on- and offline archives related to web and internet history are available, and how else is this history being preserved? What methods and tools are available for web archiving and for mining existing web archives? How can knowledge of the specific problems involved in doing web history be pooled?

Relationship to other domains 
How can web history build on existing work in media and communications history? What does it have to offer research focused on newer objects of study such as social media platforms and the Whatsapp generation of communication apps? Conversely, how does the appearance of these new objects affect how we view and research web history? 

What is the discipline’s status? What conferences, journals, funding opportunities and jobs are out there, or should be out there?

Of course, this list of topics may prove to be too ambitious, or not ambitious enough. Hopefully, at the very least, the mailing list will provide a better sense of who’s working in this fast-growing field. For any questions or subscription issues, please contact the list administrator (me) at michael [at] webcultures [dot] org

email: WebCultures {AT} listcultures.org

If you want to subscribe, goto: http://listcultures.org/mailman/listinfo/webcultures_listcultures.org

From: Michael Stevenson <michael {AT} webcultures.org>

Hello world,

The response to the list has been excellent so far, with 130+ people signing up to WebCultures since Tuesday's announcement. 

Because of the success, I think we should go ahead and declare this list open for business. Feel free to start posting announcements or get discussions going. Do you have ideas about what kind of list you’re hoping for? Do you have a history project you want to publicize? Looking for pro tips for using the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine? Do you think a list called WebCultures is doomed to become an exercise in nostalgia? Know some art projects that this audience should see? Are you designing a course on internet history or digital culture and want some feedback?

As with all mailing lists, please make sure to keep the archives nice and neat by replying to the correct thread (rather than to the digest, if you’ve signed up for that). If you really want to make it easy to browse the archives, please remove quoted text that isn’t relevant to your reply. And finally, if you’re posting for the first time, perhaps tell us who you are and what you’re working on or what your interest in WebCultures is.

In the next few days and weeks, I’ll try and break the ice by asking a few people to get us started. But by all means feel free to start posting!

About me: I’m an assistant professor at the University of Groningen in the department of Journalism studies. I got here via the University of Amsterdam, where I finished my PhD last year. My dissertation was on the history of web exceptionalism, and looks at how visions of the web’s identity and purpose were articulated at various moments in the history of web publishing (with cases on HotWired, Slashdot and early blogging). Although the courses I teach are varied and I have yet to actually teach a course just on web or new media history, students are now used to me badgering them constantly to dig into 1990s material to historicize whichever app or web platform they’re researching. Also, I’ll be at IR15 in Daegu this October, so hope to see some of you there!


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