The notion of a “black box”—where a system or artifact is functional, but its internal mechanisms are opaque—occurs frequently in discussions of media technology. My research focuses the sites where media technology research takes place, which have their own “black box” character. Organizations such as universities, corporate labs, and research communities produce highly functional and influential technologies and knowledges, but their internal discourses are rarely transparent. I take these organizations as objects of study, combining rhetorical methods of contextualization and criticism with contemporary scholarship on media and science/technology studies to map their influence upon media technology and public life.

Current Projects:

A Technocratic Machine: The Memex as Rhetorical Invention

Rhetoric and Public Affairs 23, no. 3 (Fall): 496-526. doi: 10.14321/rhetpublaffa.23.3.0495 The Memex is an icon in the history of computer technology. It was first presented to the public in a 1945 Life Magazine article as “a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that…

Seeing Systems: A History of Visual Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1939-1969

This dissertation traces the development of media research within a single organizational context. Such research includes high-speed photography systems, design theories, scientific visualization methods, and early computer graphics software. I argue that as MIT shifted from industrial ancillary to one of the centers of the military-industrial complex, visual media research was crucial to the construction…

Research Funding and Awards

Humanities Research Institute Graduate Fellowship, 2019-2020

University of Illinois Graduate College Dissertation Travel Award, 2018

University of Illinois Graduate College Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2020-2021

Ruth S. Clark Award for Research Travel, 2018

University of Illinois Department of Communication Charles and Ruth Bowman Award for Graduate Research and Teaching

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