Networking Peripheries: Technological Futures, Digital Memory and the Myth of Digital Universalism
Dominant framings of “the digital” continue to project it as not just extending the promise global interconnection, but accelerating contemporary paths towards a future of productivity modeled by innovation centers of the high-tech world. This paper examines the temporally-oriented, chronopolitical underpinnings that mobilize digitality’s global spread, and the varied alternative imaginaries around digital culture and the tempos of global connection that emerge outside the given centers of techno-culture. By attending to the diverse experiments in digital culture that emerge from rural and urban citizen-founded innovation spaces in Peru, this paper explores the distinct temporalities and rhythms of engagement as central to the development of new memory archive practices. By necessarily engaging local histories of knowledge work around nature, technology, and information objects, the paper explores how knowledge and memory practices around the digital in Peru might demonstrate means to contend with the forms of monologic expression that have dominated global digital discourse and innovation logics, while opening up possibilities for uncovering distinct collective futures in dialogue with multiple local pasts.
Anita Say Chan is an Associate Research Professor of Communications in the Department of Media and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research and teaching interests include globalization and digital cultures, innovation networks and the “periphery”, science and technology studies in Latin America, and hybrid pedagogies in building digital literacies.
She received her Ph.D. in 2008 from the MIT Doctoral Program in History; Anthropology; and Science, Technology, and Society. Her first book the competing imaginaries of global connection and information technologies in network-age Peru, Networking Peripheries: Technological Futures and the Myth of Digital Universalism was released by MIT Press in 2014.
Her research has been awarded support from the Center for the Study of Law & Culture at Columbia University’s School of Law and the National Science Foundation, and she has held postdoctoral fellowships at The CUNY Graduate Center’s Committee on Globalization & Social Change, and at Stanford University’s Introduction to Humanities Program. She is faculty affiliate at the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (I-CHASS), the Illinois Informatics Institute, the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, and the Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy (CHAMP). She was a 2015-16 Faculty Fellow with the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities.