The Network Archaeology conference at Miami University, co-convened by cris cheek and Nicole Starosielski, will bring together scholars and practitioners to explore the resonances between digital networks and “older” (perhaps still emergent) systems of circulation; from roads to cables, from letter-writing networks to digital ink. Drawing on recent research in media archaeology, we see network archaeology as a method for re-orienting the temporality and spatiality of network studies. Network archaeology might pay attention to the history of distribution technologies, location and control of geographical resources, the emergence of circulatory models, proximity and morphology, network politics and power, and the transmission properties of media. What can we learn about contemporary cultural production and circulation from the examination of network histories? How can we conceptualize the polychronic developments of networks, including their growth, adaptation, and resistances? How might the concept of network archaeology help to re-envision and forge new paths of interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and scholarship?

The conference will trace continuities and disjunctures between a variety of networks, including telecommunication networks, distribution systems for both digital and non-digital texts, transportation routes, media storage (libraries, databases, e-archiving), electrical grids, radio and television broadcast networks, the internet, and surveillance networks. We seek to address not only the technological, institutional, and geopolitical histories of networks, but also their cultural and experiential dimensions, extending to encompass the histories of network poetics and practice. The proceeds of the conference will form the basis for a substantial publication on Network Archaeology. The conference will take place in MacMillan Hall, on E. Spring Street.

This conference is organized by the Miami University Humanities Center. It is the final event in a yearlong series entitled “Networked Environments: Interrogating the Democratization of Media” and is a companion to our Fall 2011 symposium, “Networks and Power,” which featured panels, interventions, and keynote presentations by Wendy Chun (Brown University) and Lisa Parks (UC Santa Barbara).

For further questions, please contact cris cheek (cheekc [at] muohio [dot] edu) or Nicole Starosielski (nicole.starosielski  [at] muohio [dot] edu).