Prof. Andrew Russell (Assistant Professor, History and Director, Program in Science and Technology Studies) in the College of Arts & Letters, will present a paper titled "Open Systems and the Critique of the Closed World" at "New Technologies and Cultures of Communication in the 19th and 20th Centuries," a conference to be held in Washington, DC on May 10-11, 2013. Russell's paper examines the history of the concept of "open systems," and explains how the Internet--a technology nourished by American Cold War military funding--has been re-imagined as the "Open Internet." The paper builds upon his book, titled An Open World: History, Ideology, and Network Standards, which will be published in late 2013 by Cambridge University Press.
The conference is organized by the German Historical Institute and convened by Richard John (Columbia University) and Peter Jelavich (The Johns Hopkins University). Scholars from 7 countries in North American, Western Europe, and Africa will discuss a range of topics from communication and media history at the stage of "interpretive flexibility," before technologies and usages "stabilized" - thus illuminating how users, inventors, technological experts, firms, and regulatory regimes all played roles in standardizing and (re-)categorizing usages of new media.