Eglė Rindzevičiūtė: The Power of Systems: How Policy Sciences Opened Up the Cold War World (2016)

28 January 2021, dusan

“In The Power of Systems, Eglė Rindzevičiūtė introduces readers to one of the best-kept secrets of the Cold War: the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), an international think tank established by the U.S. and Soviet governments to advance scientific collaboration. From 1972 until the late 1980s IIASA in Austria was one of the very few permanent platforms where policy scientists from both sides of the Cold War divide could work together to articulate and solve world problems. This think tank was a rare zone of freedom, communication, and negotiation, where leading Soviet scientists could try out their innovative ideas, benefit from access to Western literature, and develop social networks, thus paving the way for some of the key science and policy breakthroughs of the twentieth century.

Ambitious diplomatic, scientific, and organizational strategies were employed to make this arena for cooperation work for global change. Under the umbrella of the systems approach, East-West scientists co-produced computer simulations of the long-term world future and the anthropogenic impact on the environment, using global modeling to explore the possible effects of climate change and nuclear winter. Their concern with global issues also became a vehicle for transformation inside the Soviet Union. The book shows how computer modeling, cybernetics, and the systems approach challenged Soviet governance by undermining the linear notions of control on which Soviet governance was based and creating new objects and techniques of government.”

Publisher Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 2016
Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License
ISBN 9781501703188, 1501703188
xi+292 pages

Reviews: Roundtable: Barbara Czarniawska, Jenny Andersson, Claudia Aradau, Paul Rubinson, author’s response (H-Diplo, 2019), Kristine C. Harper (Isis, 2018), Benjamin Peters (Slavic Review, 2019), Gerald Easter (American Historical Review, 2018), Jeanne Morefield (J History of Ideas, 2020), Laurent Coumel (Cahiers du monde russe, 2018, FR), Una Bergmane (Lithuanian Historical Studies, 2018), Christian Dayé (Serendipities, 2018).

Publisher, (2)
OAPEN
WorldCat

PDF (19 MB)

Warren Sack: The Software Arts (2019)

19 March 2020, dusan

“In The Software Arts, Warren Sack offers an alternative history of computing that places the arts at the very center of software’s evolution. Tracing the origins of software to eighteenth-century French encyclopedists’ step-by-step descriptions of how things were made in the workshops of artists and artisans, Sack shows that programming languages are the offspring of an effort to describe the mechanical arts in the language of the liberal arts.

Sack offers a reading of the texts of computing—code, algorithms, and technical papers—that emphasizes continuity between prose and programs. He translates concepts and categories from the liberal and mechanical arts—including logic, rhetoric, grammar, learning, algorithm, language, and simulation—into terms of computer science and then considers their further translation into popular culture, where they circulate as forms of digital life. He considers, among other topics, the “arithmetization” of knowledge that presaged digitization; today’s multitude of logics; the history of demonstration, from deduction to newer forms of persuasion; and the post-Chomsky absence of meaning in grammar. With The Software Arts, Sack invites artists and humanists to see how their ideas are at the root of software and invites computer scientists to envision themselves as artists and humanists.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2019
ISBN 9780262039703, 0262039702
xx+375 pages

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (19 MB)

Charlton D. McIlwain: Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter (2020)

14 November 2019, dusan

“Activists, pundits, politicians, and the press frequently proclaim today’s digitally mediated racial justice activism the new civil rights movement. As Charlton D. McIlwain shows in this book, the story of racial justice movement organizing online is much longer and varied than most people know. In fact, it spans nearly five decades and involves a varied group of engineers, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, journalists, and activists. But this is a history that is virtually unknown even in our current age of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Black Lives Matter.

Beginning with the simultaneous rise of civil rights and computer revolutions in the 1960s, McIlwain, for the first time, chronicles the long relationship between African Americans, computing technology, and the Internet. In turn, he argues that the forgotten figures who worked to make black politics central to the Internet’s birth and evolution paved the way for today’s explosion of racial justice activism. From the 1960s to present, the book examines how computing technology has been used to neutralize the threat that black people pose to the existing racial order, but also how black people seized these new computing tools to build community, wealth, and wage a war for racial justice.

Through archival sources and the voices of many of those who lived and made this history, Black Software centralizes African Americans’ role in the Internet’s creation and evolution, illuminating both the limits and possibilities for using digital technology to push for racial justice in the United States and across the globe.”

Publisher Oxford University Press, 2020
ISBN 9780190863845, 0190863846
xi+296 pages

Video interview with author (Morning Joe, MSNBC, 2019)
Podcast interview with author (The Human and the Machine, 2019)

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (7 MB)