Dean's Lecture

Digital Diversity: Exploring Global Media By Starting With Culture and Community

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
4:10 pm to 5:30 pm
Ramesh Srinivasan
What does it mean to think about culture and community before one thinks about technology? And how could that paradigm shift allow scholars and professionals to re-imagine solutions that think past net delusions around grassroots political movements, and empower community decision-making in the developing world, indigenous knowledge around climate change or cultural heritage, and communication between states and citizens? This talk takes us to several places where I have focused my fieldwork on technology and culture, and community-driven design, including Egypt's Tahrir Square, the Zuni Nation of New Mexico, the Kyrgyz Steppe, and Rural India. Across these projects, I argue for the power of thinking of both culture and technology as dynamic, and mutually co-constructed, introducing design, fieldwork, and research approaches toward the study of global media and information.

Dr. Ramesh Srinivasan, assistant professor at UCLA in Design and Media/Information Studies, studies and participates in projects focused on how new media technologies impact political revolutions, economic development and poverty reduction, and the future of cultural heritage. He recently wrote a front page article on internet freedom for the Huffington Post, an op/ed in the Washington Post on social media and the London riots, an upcoming piece in the Washington Post on the myths of social media, and was recently on NPR discussing his fieldwork in Egypt on networks, actors, and technologies in the political sphere. He was also recently in the New Yorker based on his response to Malcolm Gladwell’s writings critiquing the power of social media in impacting revolutionary movements. He has worked with bloggers who were involved in overthrowing the recent authoritarian Kyrgyz regime, non-literate tribal populations in India to study how literacy emerges through uses of technology, and traditional Native American communities to study how non-Western understandings of the world can introduce new ways of looking at the future of the internet. He holds an engineering degree from Stanford, a master's degree from the MIT Media Lab, and a doctorate from Harvard University.

Last updated:

August 23, 2016