Affiliate News

October 25th, 2017  |  Published in Latest news

The Center welcomes faculty members, student, visiting scholar and fellows to submit activities to be reported in affiliate news each month. Please email a brief description of what you have been doing to cstms-news@berkeley.edu.

Recent News

Since last winter, CSTMS visiting student researcher Daniel Kim has been a core team member on a news and science credibility project based at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) and co-directed by Saul Perlmutter, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Director of BIDS. Combining citizen science and algorithmic features, this software solution is designed to help combat the growing problem of misleading and low-quality information  today’s media ecosystem. Daniel co-presented the team’s ongoing work at the Computation+Journalism Symposium (Northwestern University, Oct 12-14) and is co-authoring the paper for the conference proceedings: http://cj2017.northwestern.edu.

 

A paper written by Shreeharsh Kelkar was recently published in New Media and Society.  The citation and the link (to an ungated version) is below:

Kelkar, Shreeharsh.  2017.  “Engineering a Platform: The Construction of Interfaces, Users, Organizational Roles, and the Division of Labor.” New Media and Society.  Epub ahead of print 3 September. DOI: 10.1177/1461444817728682.  Link: http://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/vubRqzyfjPaDJWMvHTJj/full

This paper describes the process through which edX, an organization that makes Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) transformed itself from an education company into a “platform.”  In its original conception, edX sought to partner collaboratively with instructors at partner universities to produce tailor-made educational experiences for online learners. But the need for a sustainable revenue framework made the platform model—in which designers engineer potential features in the form of multipurpose “tools,” which the instructors, as “users,” then take up to produce the educational content autonomously and for their own goals and purposes—more appealing.  The process was accomplished by building digital interfaces through which instructors’ activities could be governed through software as well as constructing a set of organizational roles on both sides of these digital interfaces.  The paper demonstrates consequences of the platform model of organization: the most prominent of which is the informal and formal inequality that develops among the “users” of the platform.

 

Victoria M. Massie was awarded a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award to complete her ethnographic fieldwork on genetic ancestry and the politics of belonging in Cameroon.

 

Michele Pridmore-Brown edited a collection on the digital revolution for The Los Angeles Review of BOOKS (July, 2017). It’s entitled Debating the Promise and Perils of the Internet and Algorithmic lives in the last years of the Obama Administration.  It’s available here. It includes contributions by Berkeley-CSTMS academics like Massimo Mazzotti and Geoff Nunberg, and by popular science writers like Nicholas Carr. Contributors take on their colleagues’ just-published books and ideas. We’re doing a follow up volume in 2018 that features women writers on this topic. Women: send me your pitches!

 

Jane Flegal spent the summer as an Oxford Martin Visiting Fellow with the Institute for Science, Innovation, & Society at Oxford University, where she was working on geoengineering research and governance. She is spending the fall semester as a Visiting Fellow at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University.

 

Angelo Caglioti completed his Ph.D. in History with a Designated Emphasis in Science and Technology Studies in August 2017, under the supervision of Professor Massimo Mazzotti. He joined the European University Institute in Florence as Max Weber Post-Doctoral Fellow. This summer, he took part in the workshop “Estimated Truths: Water, Science, and the Politics of Approximation” at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science with a paper titled “From Liberal to Fascist Techno-Politics. The Hydro-Politics of the Horn of Africa between Italian and British Imperialism (1919-1939).” He also published the article “Race, Statistics and Italian Eugenics: Alfredo Niceforo’s Trajectory from Lombroso to Fascism (1876-1960)” in the July issue of the European History Quarterly.