Miami University Logo
Humanities Center
Email for Humanities CenterFacebook for Humanities CenterTwitter for Humanities Center
In our increasingly networked worlds and mediated experiences, the systems of interdependence that organize our social lives and lived identities are in transition. New media technologies—such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook—and older ones—like broadcast radio, the printed book, handwritten correspondence and undersea cables—are playing complex roles in these changes.

Profound contradictions characterize our networked environments. Across and between disciplines, networks have emerged as a common site for the examination and understanding of platforms, systems, and structures that support local and global circulations and flows. Networks are systems of interrelationality and interdependence.  They may be informational or biological, technical or natural, social, or intimate.  Many of the changes amplified by emerging network technologies have destabilized existing strategies of centralized ownership and control.  On one hand, they have enabled many more people to produce and distribute mediated messages, decentralizing cultural production. On the other hand, they have extended the surveillance capabilities of centralized power. Most of the infrastructure on which so much new media production circulates is market-driven, requiring high levels of capital investment. Much of that infrastructure carries ideological content. Some networks are the outcomes of corporate innovation, some remain the work of small collaborative teams of start-up D.I.Y. geek programmers, some is techno-anarchist.

Distinguished Lectures

various color of lights zig zag across the dark sky
Wendy Chun & Lisa Parks

Network & Power Symposium

November 18, 2011 9:00 AM
Macmillan Great Room
various color of lights zig zag across the dark sky
Adrian Johns
Allan Grant Maclear Professor, Department of History, Chair, Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science at the University of Chicago

The Information Defense Industry and the History of Networks

April 19, 2012 4:00 PM
MacMillan Great Hall
various color of lights zig zag across the dark sky
Richard R. John
Faculty of the Columbia Journalism School

Network Effects?

April 20, 2012 4:00 PM
MacMillan Great Room
various color of lights zig zag across the dark sky
Jussi Parikka
Reader in Media & Design at Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton)

A Public Philosophy for Data Capture Systems

April 20, 2012 5:00 PM
MacMillan Great Room
various color of lights zig zag across the dark sky
Lisa Gitelman
Associate Professor of Media and English at New York University,

Network Returns

April 21, 2012 4:00 PM
MacMillan Great Room
various color of lights zig zag across the dark sky
Alan Liu
Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Remembering Networks: Agrippa, RoSE, and Network Archaeology

April 21, 2012 5:00 PM
various color of lights zig zag across the dark sky
Altman Faculty

Network Archaeology Conference

April 21, 2012 6:00 PM
MacMillan Great Room

2011-12 Altman Scholars

Pepper Stetler

Pepper Stetler studies late nineteenth and early twentieth-century art and visual culture of Europe.  She is working on a book manuscript, “Stop Reading! Look!: Modern Vision and the Weimar Photographic Book,” that investigates a number of photographic books published during Germany's Weimar Republic (1918-1933) that attempt to create a new visual language through photography.  She has received funding for her research from the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, the Getty Research Institute, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. “Networked Environments” is helping her think through issues of media transformation and cultural change.  She is particularly interested in how the intermingling of “new” and "old" media effect cognitive and perceptual practices. 

Susan V. Spellman

Susan V. Spellman is a historian of nineteenth and twentieth century American business and technology.  She has published articles on the business and cultural function of traveling grocery salesmen and women as consumers of automobile culture.  She has been a fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, and the Library of Congress, and she has received grants from the American Historical Association and the Massachusetts Historical Society.  Her work on the trade and credit networks traveling salesmen crafted in the expanding commercial economy of the nineteenth century informs her participation in the Altman program.  She is currently completing a book on the business innovativeness of independent grocers.

Braxton Soderman

Braxton Soderman studies digital media, video games, and the history of analog and digital technologies. He is working on a book manuscript which extends his dissertation, Interpreting Video Games through the Lens of Modernity. He recently received an ACLS/Mellon Recent Doctoral Recipient Fellowship where he began a new project studying the history of the representation of clouds through early photography to contemporary video games and networked systems. For the Altman project he is investigating the cultural and technical rise of cloud computing and the use of the figure of the cloud in contemporary and historical network diagrams of the Internet.  

Glenn W. Muschert

Glenn W. Muschert joined Miami’s Department of Sociology and Gerontology in 2003, after a one-year appointment on the Law and Society Faculty at Purdue University.  He studies crime and social problems, including the mass media framing of high profile crimes, school shootings, missing persons, and social control through surveillance technologies.  His research has appeared in a variety of journals in sociology, criminology, and media studies.  He is co-editor (with Massimo Ragnedda, University of Sassari, Italy) of The Digital Divide in International Context (Routledge) and co-editor (with Johanna Sumiala, University of Helsinki, Finland) of Mediatized Violence (Emerald), which examines the media facets of school shooting phenomena in a variety of countries.

Vitaly Chernetsky

Vitaly Chernetsky is Associate Professor of Russian, Director of Film Studies, and Affiliate of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Jewish Studies.  A native of Ukraine, he received his education at Moscow State University, Duke University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to coming to Miami, he taught at Columbia and Northeastern Universities, and he held postdoctoral fellowships at Cornell and Harvard.  Chernetsky is the author of Mapping Postcommunist Cultures: Russia and Ukraine in the Context of Globalization(McGill-Queen's UP, 2007) and the editor or co-editor of several volumes: Crossing Centuries: The New Generation in Russian Poetry (2000) the annotated Ukrainian edition of Edward Said's Culture and Imperialism (2007); and a special issue of the online journal KinoKultura.  His current scholarly projects include a book on displaced writers and their relationships to diasporic communities.

Ron Becker

Ron Becker, Professor of Media and Communication and Strategic Communication in the Department of Media, Journalism & Film, studies the relationships among media (especially television), culture, and the politics of sexual identity. He is the author of Gay TV and Straight America (Rutgers 2006) and co-author of Media and Culture: Mass Communication in a Digital Age (Bedford 2015). His essays have appeared in TheTelevision Studies Reader, The Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, and The Craft of Media Criticism. His current project examines the growing influence of multicultural empowerment narratives in U.S. media culture. 

P. Renée Baernstein

P. Renée Baernstein is Professor of History and Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Science. She specializes in the history of Renaissance Italy, particularly gender, religion, and family.  She is the author of A Convent Tale: A Century of Sisterhood in Spanish Milan (Routledge 2002) as well as articles in many journals.  She has been a Fulbright fellow, fellow of the American Academy in Rome, Visiting Professor at Harvard’s Villa I Tatti Center in Florence, and recipient of the Ohio Academy of History’s Distinguished Teaching Award.  Her next book, “Strangers at Home,” is about noble women and family politics in sixteenth-century Italy.

Cynthia Klestinec

Cynthia Klestinec, Professor of English, studies the history of science and medicine in Renaissance Italy. She is the author of Theaters of Anatomy: Students, Teachers and Traditions of Dissection in Renaissance Venice (Johns Hopkins 2011) and numerous essays. She is co-editor of Professors, Physicians and Practices in the History of Medicine: Essays in Honor of Nancy Siraisi (Springer 2017) and co-curator and co-editor of Art, Faith, and Medicine in Tintoretto’s Venice, an exhibition held in the Scuola Grande di San Marco in Venice (2019). Her work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Villa i Tatti-Harvard University, and the Delmas Foundation. 

2011-12 Altman Fellows

Nicole Starosielski

Nicole Starosielski studies the material infrastructures of digital media, and the relationships between technology, society, and the environment. She has recently published on environmental animation in the International Communication Gazette, on Fiji’s media circulation in Media Fields Journal, and on Guam’s role in transpacific exchange in Amerasia. She is currently working on a book on the social, political, and environmental dimensions of undersea cables, the technologies supporting much global media exchange.  During the Altman program, she is working on an interactive digital mapping project that enables users to navigate the cultural histories and politics of undersea cables.

cris cheek

cris cheek is a widely published and anthologized British poet-scholar and interdisciplinary live writer. His work has frequently explored models of creative collaboration and questions of shared and sharable value. Born in London in 1955, where he lived and worked until the mid 1990s, he worked alongside Bob Cobbing and the Writers Forum group and co-founded the Chisenhale Dance Space in 1981. Prior to choosing exile in the USA he taught Performance Writing (1995-2002) at Dartington College of Arts where he became a Research Fellow in interdisciplinary text (2000-2002). More recently he has been exploring inter-relations between the document and the live.   During his Altman Fellowship, he is working on an electronic book about ink, the histories of its development for writing, printing, and circulating objects that narrate human imagination and invention. 

2011-12 Student Fellows

Alexandra Tirrell

Alexandra Tirrell is a sophomore political science and journalism major. She is involved with Dance Marathon and the Miami Quarterly on the Miami University campus, and is a writing tutor for the Howe Writing Center for Excellence. Her passion is for politics and writing about politics, and when she graduates she hopes to work in Washington D.C..

Traci Kim

Traci Kim is a senior with a double major in Creative Writing and Spanish Literature.  She is the writing director of Inklings, Miami University’s undergraduate magazine of Arts & Letters.  In August 2011, she published Amsterdamned If You Do: an anthology about setting with Chicago Center for Literature and Photography.  After graduation, Traci plans to live abroad, and upon her return to the United States pursue an MFA in creative fiction.

Annie Marie Clark

Annie Marie Clark is a senior majoring in English and political science.  She has served as secretary to the Miami Pre-Law Committee, Vice-President of the Amicus Curiae Pre-Law Society, and Undergraduate Assistant in “Journalism, Law, and Ethics”  In the summer of 2011, she was a Press Intern for Congressman Kevin Yoder, Republican of Kentucky, and in the summer of 2012, she interned at Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates.

Alex Underwood

Alex Underwood is a Senior with a double-major in Anthropology and French. Originally from Long Grove, IL, he spent last year studying abroad in Nantes, France, where he worked at a local high school teaching English. His interests include cultural studies, archaeology, the French language, game design and analysis, and music composition.  Alex hopes to continue onto graduate school, with a focus in Digital Humanities.