About A. Nelson

I am a historian of Russia with expertise in cultural history and emerging interests in animal studies and environmental history. My current research projects include studies of the Soviet space dogs, the significance of the Belyaev fox domestication project, and the cultural implications of domestication, particularly in Eurasia.

McLuhan, Value, and the Message

I’m sympathetic to Claire’s and Lauren’s assertions about technology itself being value neutral, and echo their claim that it’s how we use the technology (or the medium, since this is McLuhan’s week) that makes it positive or negative. And it is easy to criticize McLuhan for over-reaching and over-synthesizing by reducing the message to the […]

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More Than A Two-Way Conversation

The last time I read Personal Dynamic Media, I blogged about the resonance of Kay and Goldberg’s flute metaphor for the possibilities of creating and communicating with the internet and new media.  As a recovering musician with an interest in how music is created and perceived in times of political and social upheaval, I find […]

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Clenched Fist

Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib / Dream Machines reading is among my favorites in the New Media Seminar.  As Claire notes, even for the connoisseur nugget-searcher, this selection, and especially the “Dream Machines” section,  abounds in provocative, compelling morsels.  I’m going to just note one for now: “I believe computer screens can make people happier, smarter, […]

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Snail to Cat?

Yesterday in the seminar we kicked off our discussion of Douglas Engelbart’s work with a tribute video featuring interviews with Engelbart and footage from a conference commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the “Mother of All Demos” in 2008. Hearing Engelbart, who just passed away in July, talk about his life’s work and hopes for the […]

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Late Adopter

Last January, I stumbled into a workshop on student blogging, spent the weekend revamping the course I was about to teach on the history of humans and domestic animals, and, without really realizing what was happening, fell into the slipstream of a richly rewarding, compellingly complex, and insistently dynamic network of practices and technologies.  I […]

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