AOIR Pre-conference – 404 History Not Found: Challenges in Internet History and Memory Studies

aoir2016AoIR routinely hosts several preconference workshops before the main conference. Attendees must register to attend a preconference; the price of the preconference is included as part of the main conference. All workshops will be held on October 5th.


voir la liste des pré-conférences 

Parmi elle celle organisée par Camille Paloque-Bergès (HT2S Cnam, membre de Web90 ) et Kevin Driscoll (University of Virginia):

404 History Not Found: Challenges in Internet History and Memory Studies

How did the Internet become relevant in today’s culture and politics? How were its codes and rules—whether technical, social or cultural—constructed, challenged, and normalized? How did net culture become a mass phenomenon of global importance? To understand why and how the “Internet rules” today, it is essential that we look back at the internet’s past. In this pre-conference, we will discuss the specific theoretical and methodological challenges that arise in the study of the internet through time and memory, for purposes of both historiography (what net histories and how?) and epistemology (net histories as an object of media research). Attendees will be invited to participate in three hands-on, interactive sessions organized around issues, sources and methods fundamental to researching net diachronicity.

Net history survives in unexpected places, unfolding through time and space, collapsing in on the present. The artifacts that surface may be incomplete or inscrutable absent their original contexts, requiring us to borrow creatively from other fields and develop new historical methods (Ankerson, 2011; Brügger & Finnemann, 2012; Paloque-Berges, 2016). From formal archives and oral histories to lingering web sites, software, and hardware artifacts, the material evidence of the past suggests a diversity of social, temporal, and technical regimes. Indeed, recent scholarship on early networks reveals a greater range of experiences, technologies, norms and motivations than is found in best-known histories of the internet (Brammer, 2015; Brunton, 2013; Driscoll, 2014; Hargadon, 2011; Mailland, 2015; Paloque-Berges, 2011; Rankin 2014, 2015; Russell, 2014; Russell & Schafer, 2014; Schafer & Thierry, 2012; Schulte, 2013; Streeter, 2011). In their wake, we question how to make sense of conflicts and contradictions while respecting the subjective lived experiences of individual participants. What is our responsibility to find and document hidden histories, obscure sources, and less visible networks? How will a richer understanding of the internet’s past change how we engage with its present and imagine its future?

This pre-conference will include three workshop sessions organized around core research challenges in net history: (1) epistemology, (2) sources and methodology, and (3) mediation and transmission. Selected participants, rather than present whole case studies, will intervene on specific challenges—for instance: theoretical paradoxes or deadlocks, methodological problem-solving, and demonstrations of born-digital artifacts. The audience will be involved by taking positions, suggesting ad-hoc solutions, and identifying common themes.

(…) This pre-conference will be a full-day workshop facilitated by Kevin Driscoll and Camille Paloque-Berges with support from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche project Web90. The discussions and hands-on activities will be accessible to all AOIR attendees but will be especially engaging for researchers encountering issues of temporality, memory, nostalgia, or a need to “go back in time” in their own work.

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