Tag Archives: Technology

Prof. Asif Siddiqi publishes, “Shaping the World: Soviet-African Technologies from the Sahel to the Cosmos,” in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Professor Asif Siddiqi’s new article, “Shaping the World: Soviet-African Technologies from the Sahel to the Cosmos,” was just released in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Vol. 41, Issue 1. Below is the article abstract:

Abstract

This article explores the biography of a network of Soviet telescopic cameras stationed across the African Sahel during the Cold War. Through joint Soviet-African cooperative programs, scientists used these advanced cameras in Egypt, Somalia, Mali, the Sudan, and Chad to photograph satellites flying overhead to gather data to produce a new model of the Earth, one that Soviet scientists hoped would be an alternative to Western models. I argue that these technical artifacts in Africa, connected into a single global network, represented examples of “infrastructural irruptions” of Cold War technopolitics into African geography, wherein the superpowers placed networked technologies inside postcolonial spaces for the collection of data. Although these technologies were nominally Soviet in origin, the story could also be read as one of Africans who invested their geography with agency in the production of scientific knowledge. Like the socialist moment in Africa and indeed the Soviet Union itself, this camera network no longer exists, its data compromised and its material imprint disappeared. But this “failure” should not blind us to the immanent power of possibility embedded in this incomplete project. I argue that this combination of unbounded aspiration and incomplete materiality was a powerful manifestation of the African-Soviet Modern.

Asif Siddiqi
Asif Siddiqi

You can follow him on Twitter @historyasif.

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Media Technology and the Dissemination of Hate

Prof. Magda Teter’s exhibit, “Media Technology and the Dissemination of Hate,” has appeared on Fordham News. Below is Tom Stoelker’s commentary on the exhibition.

“From chat rooms fostering hate speech to racist memes, there has been a notable uptick in anti-Semitic bullying online. Just this past June, the Council on Foreign Relations concluded that online hate speech has led to real-world violence. Now, an exhibit at the Walsh Library reveals that while the technology may be new, the abuse of it is not. Titled, ‘Media Technology and the Dissemination of Hate,’ the exhibit notes that from the invention of the printing press to the early days of radio, technological advances have been harnessed to spread derogatory images and stereotypes. The exhibit, curated by the Jewish Studies program, runs through May 31, 2020.”

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