Wendy Hui Kyong Chun | Habitual New Media

New media—we are told—exist at the bleeding edge of obsolescence. We thus forever try to catch up, updating to remain the same. Meanwhile, analytic, creative, and commercial efforts focus exclusively on the next big thing: figuring out what will spread and who will spread it the fastest. In Habitual New Media,Wendy Hui Kyong Chun argues that our media matter most when they seem not to matter at all–when they have moved from “new” to habitual. Through habits, Chun says, we become our machines: we stream, update, capture, upload, link, save, trash, and troll. Why do we view our networked devices as “personal” when they are so chatty and promiscuous? What would happen, Chun asks, if, rather than pushing for privacy that is no privacy, we demanded public rights–the right to be exposed, to take risks and to be in public–and not be attacked?

Sponsored by UC Davis Mellon Research Initiative in Digital Cultures


ChunWendy Hui Kyong Chun, Professor of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

UC Davis School of Law, King Hall Rm 1301

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun is Professor and Chair of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. She has studied both Systems Design Engineering and English Literature, which she combines and mutates in her current work on digital media. She is author of Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics  (MIT, 2006), andProgrammed Visions: Software and Memory (MIT, 2011). She is co-editor (with Tara McPherson and Patrick Jagoda) of a special issue of American Literature entitled “New Media and American Literature,” co-editor (with Lynne Joyrich) of a special issue of Camera Obscura entitled “Race and/as Technology” and co-editor (with Anna Fisher and Thomas Keenan) of New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader, 2nd edition (forthcoming Routledge, 2015). She is the Velux Visiting Professor of Management, Politics and Philosophy at the Copenhagen Business School; she has been the Wayne Morse Chair for Law and Politics at the University of Oregon, Visiting Professor at Leuphana University (Luneburg, Germany), Visiting Associate Professor in the History of Science Department at Harvard, of which she is currently an Associate. She has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and a Wriston Fellow at Brown. Her forthcoming monograph is entitled Habitual New Media (forthcoming MIT, 2016).