The long-term impacts of disruptive new technologies are always difficult to predict. This is particularly true for the emergence, spread and evolution of digital media over the last several decades. Do web-based, mobile, and social media provide unprecedented opportunities to democratize the production of news and public information, or do they only weaken the authority and legitimacy of professional journalists? Do they improve the efficiency and accountability of governments and businesses, or do they provide new tools for government and corporate surveillance? Do they enable democratic movements against repressive regimes, or do they provide these regimes greater means of repression? Do they facilitate and even redefine the nature of civic and political engagement, or do they divert attention from public life and issues? Do they contribute to new forms of citizenship and identity that cross national and social boundaries, or do they harden national, ethnic, religious and social divides? Do they serve as public spaces for deliberation and rational discourse, or do they amplify extreme voices that contribute to the fracturing of societies along ideological lines? As it devotes its 2015-16 year to the theme, “Digital Media and the Future of Democracy,” Penn DCC seeks to assess the complex impact of the radically evolving media landscape on democratic politics, as well as on the closely related issues of citizenship and constitutional government, both in the United States and around the globe. In our faculty workshops and annual conference, we will enlist the help of an interdisciplinary group of scholars to shed light on these issues, in the hope of providing a clearer vision of future promise and peril.
Philip N. Howard (Communication, University of Washington)
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Watch Video of "Is the Internet of Things Your New Constitution?"
Helen Nissenbaum (Media, Culture & Communication and Computer Science , NYU)
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Watch Video of "Must Privacy Give Way to Use Regulation?".
Digital Media and the Future(s) of Democracy
Panel 1: Democracy, Development and State
Building in the Digital Media
Chair: Guobin Yang (Communication and Sociology, UPenn)
Lisa Poggiali (Penn DCC Postdoctoral Fellow)
Zeynep Tufekci (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Discussant: Marwan Kraidy (Communication, UPenn)
Panel 2: Citizenship, Engagement & Digital Media
Chair: Michael X. Delli Carpini (Communication, UPenn)
Daniel Kreiss (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Daniela Stockmann (Leiden University)
Discussant: Victor Pickard (Communication, UPenn)
Panel 3: Governance & Digital Media
Panel 4: Gender, Digital Media, and
Constitution Making and Un-Making:
Democratic Reform, Past and Present
Robinson Woodward-Burns (Political Science, UPenn): “Experience Must Be Our Only Guide: Constitutional Decentralization and Instability at the American Founding”
Jan Smolenski (Politics, The New School): “Semi-Federalism, Multi-Stage Constituent Process, and Diffused Popular Sovereignty: The Principles and Implications of the Making of 1780 Constitution in Massachusetts”
Saving Democracy? Economic and
Technological Answers to Political Problems
Alexander Arnold (History, NYU): "Democratic Economic Governance in an Era of Crisis: The Limits and Possibilities of the Economic Thought of the French New Left"
Ashley Gorham (Political Science, UPenn): "The Well-Informed Citizen: A Critique"
States of Surveillance
Tali Ziv (Anthropology, UPenn): "’It be hard just existing’: Affective Precarity andInstitutional Surveillance in Philadelphia's Inner-city”
Alex Hazanov (History, UPenn): “Foreign Visitors in the Late Soviet Union, the KGB and the Limits of Surveillance”
Beyond Borders: Citizenship,
National Belonging and the Law
Allison Powers Useche (History, Columbia University): “The Standard of Civilization on Trial at the US Mexico Claims Commission, 1923-1937”
Elspeth Wilson (Political Science, UPenn): “Islands of Civic Exclusion: Puerto Rico, U.S.Global Imperialism, and the Insular Cases”
Immigration: Economics, Policy, and Politics
Sarah Coleman (History, Princeton): “'To reward the wrong way is not the American way:” Welfare, Immigrants’ Rights and the Battle over Benefits 1990 -1997"
Alberto Ciancio (Economics, UPenn): "The Economics of Local Immigration Enforcement in the United States"
Experts, Ideas, and Policy
Negar Razavi (Anthro, UPenn): “'Off the Record and in the Loop': An Ethnography of the Washington Foreign Policy Establishment"
Kristian Taketomo (History, UPenn): "Urbanization as Development: Modernization and “The City” in Postwar America"
Political Economies and the State
Emma Teitelman (History, UPenn): “Mining for Sovereignty in the Civil-War West”
Sid Rothstein (Political Science, UPenn): “The Constitution of Employer Discretion”
Ideologies of Race and Slavery
Westenley Alcenat (History, Columbia University): “Between Slaves and Citizens: Free Blacks and the Transformation of Citizenship in the Age of Revolutions, 1776-1840”
Dani Holtz (History, UPenn): “Who are the True Conservatives?”
Health Care and Civic Belonging
Matthew Kavanagh (Poli Sci, UPenn): “Constitutionalizing Health: Rights, Democracy & Public Policy in South Africa”
Ashley Tallevi (Poli Sci, UPenn): “Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Measuring the Effects of Privatization on Medicaid Self-Reporting”