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Friday, October 12 • 9:00am - 10:30am
Internet Struggles and Their Military Legacies

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The genealogy of the internet as a technology, as an object of study, and as an organizational form, can be traced back to its military origins and experiments with a fiber optic, digital, distributed communications network designed both to survive a nuclear attack and to launch a counter-attack. What is often derived from this background is the idea of a network that is resilient, ubiquitous, and ever expanding. What is less discussed is the idea that the internet was also designed as a weapon that followed a military logic. It's material configuration was dictated by the specific complexities of nuclear proliferation and a "closed world" (Paul Edwards 1996) logic that defined Cold War geopolitical struggle. “You can take the media out of war, but you can never take the war out of media,” as Geoffrey Winthrop-Young (2011, 133) puts it.

This fishbowl will address the question of whether this most fundamental of material legacies continues to effect, shape, or guide contemporary transnational modes of political, cultural, and military struggle. In other words, is it possible that the military roots of the internet are far more than a mere historical curiosity, but are rather directly determinative of how power relations continue to be tactically enacted and strategically organized? It is certainly the case that the internet continues to shape U.S. total war strategy for perpetuating military hegemony. Is it also the case that the material configuration of the internet makes it a quintessential weapon in other wars of oppression against women, racialized populations, the proletariat, the environment, indigenous populations, as well as neo-colonized nation states and regions? If so, is there value in foregrounding military theory when researching how the internet relates to transnational struggles?


Friday October 12, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Salon 6