[spectre] Call for Contributions to Sarai Reader 03 : "Shaping Technologies"

Shuddhabrata Sengupta shuddha@sarai.net
Wed, 11 Sep 2002 22:59:47 +0530

Call for Contributions to Sarai Reader 03 :  "Shaping Technologies"

Sarai, (www.sarai.net) an interdisciplinary research and practice programme
on the city and the media, at the Centre for the Study of Developing
Societies and Waag Society (www.waag.org), a center for culture and
technology based in Amsterdam, invites contributions to Sarai Reader 03 :
Shaping Technologies,

We also invite proposals to initiate and moderate discussions on the themes 
of the Sarai Reader 03 on the Reader List 
(http://mail.sarai.net/mailman/listinfo/reader-list) with a view to the 
moderator(s) editing the transcripts of these discussions for publication in 
the Sarai Reader 03.

The Sarai Reader is an annual publication produced jointly by Sarai/CSDS 
(Delhi) and the Waag Society (Amsterdam).Previous Readers have included :
'The Public Domain' : Sarai Reader 01, 
and 'The Cities of Everyday Life' :  Sarai Reader 02, 2002, 
(http://www.sarai.net/journal/reader2.html ). 

The Sarai Reader series aims at bringing together original, thoughtful, 
critical, reflective, well researched and provocative texts and essays by 
theorists, practitioners and activists, grouped under a core theme that 
expresses the interests of the Sarai in issues that relate media, information 
and society in the contemporary world. The Sarai Readers have a wide 
international readership.

Editorial Collective for Sarai Reader 03 : Ravi Vasudevan, Ravi Sundaram, 
Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula & Shuddhabrata Sengupta (Sarai) and Geert 
Lovink & Marleen Strikker (The Waag Society)


The Concept - Shaping Technologies

Today, technology is second nature to us. If the landscape of earlier times 
could be ideally represented by images of naturally occurring objects, the 
landscape of the contemporary is one that can only be imagined as being 
peopled by machines. The 'nature' of our times is technological - we are 
embodied, articulated, located and governed by the machines we make to extend 
our lives, bodies and faculties. We shape the technologies that surround us 
and the technologies that surround us shape the contour of our lives. This is 
what we mean by the term 'Shaping Technologies', which as a term with two 
senses suggests both a subjective, social appropriation of technological 
creativity, as well as the impact of technologies  on society and life in 

One may even say that the technological ubiquity has gone so far as to make 
it nearly impossible for us to reflect upon technology as a phenomena 
separate from the general conditions of global urban life. We are what we 
work, play and think with, and today we work, play and think with our 
machines. We are users, inventors, practitioners, artists, hackers and 
artisans who work with technologies; we are technology's consumers and users, 
we are hobbyists, enthusiasts and addicts just as we are critics, prophets, 
and analysts. We are masters, slaves, victims and rebels of technology. No 
one remains untouched by the 'machine'. 

Yet, we do not have an adequate language with which to understand and 
articulate the presence of technology in culture, society and in politics. We 
are accustomed to construct utopian and dystopic technological imaginaries, 
even as we neglect the task of a sober and considered reflection of the 
ethical and cognitive dilemmas that the presence of technologies in everyday 
life confront us with. And even as technology becomes increasingly 
ubiquitous, even as it touches wider populations, even as an immersion in 
technoculture becomes the condition of the contemporary moment, it becomes 
simultaneously the discursive monopoly of experts and specialists, or of 
geeks and hobbyists, far removed from the concerns that animate scholars, 
public intellectuals, and the average curious person. Technology is the 
underpinning and the shadow of the public domain. Technology is ubiquitous, 
yet discursively invisible.

Sarai Reader 03 seeks to contribute to the termination of this discursive 
vacuum by asking what other imaginary space there may be, besides the 
imperative to consume, the irrepressible desire to shop for the next gadget 
that comes our way, and the whine of the perennial victim of the machine, 
with which we can envision technology's presence in our lives ?

In this third volume in the Sarai Reader series we will also look into 
alternative approaches towards technology, strategies to revitalize forgotten 
concepts (and their authors), re-readings of past debates and anticipations 
of future ones. We will weigh the utopian visions against the dystopic 
nightmares, perhaps to arrive at assessments that suggest sobriety and a 
'cool' consideration of the cold touch of the machine, as well as of the heat 
of the fuel that animates it. 

If you feel these issues and questions are of interest to you. If your 
practice, thought, curiosities, research or creative activity has impelled 
you to think about some of these issues, we invite you to contribute texts to 
Sarai Reader 03 : Shaping Technologies.

The Reader will have the following broad areas of interest:
I. Technologies of Urbanism : Making the City
II. The Everyday Experience of Technology
III. Philosophies of Technology - Being the Machine
IV. Technologies in History
IV. Imagining Technologies - The Machine in Art, Literature and Cinema
V. Technologies of the Body 
VI. Gender and Technology 
VII. Tactical Tech : Technologies of Power and Resistance 
VIII. D.I.Y (Do it Yourself) 
IX. Social Software
X. Technology and the Environment
XI. Networks and Transmissions

There will also be three additional special sections:
i. Selections from the Reader List on the violence in Gujarat in 
February/March 2002, 
ii. Design, Technology and the Urban Info Sphere : Case Studies from Amsterdam
iii. The book (like Readers 1 and 2) will end with the Alt/Option section, 
which offers manifestos and alternative perspectives



Word Limit : 1500 - 4000 words

1.Submissions may be scholarly, journalistic, or literary - or a mix of 
these,  in the form of essays, papers, interviews, online discussions or 
diary entries. All submission, unless specifically solicited, must be in 
English only.

2.Submissions must be sent by email in rich text format (rtf) or star-office 
documents. Articles may be accompanied by black and white photographs or 
drawings submitted in the tif format.

3.We urge all writers, to follow the Chicago Manual of Style, (CMS) in terms 
of footnotes, annotations and references. For more details about the CMS, 
please see the Florida State University web page on CMS  style documentation  
at :   http://www.fsu.edu/~library/guides/chicago.html

4.All contributions should be accompanied by a three/four line text 
introducing the author. 

5.All submissions will be read by the editorial collective of the Sarai 
Reader 02 before the final selection is made. The editorial collective 
reserves the right not to publish any material sent to it for publication in 
the Sarai Reader on stylistic or editorial grounds. All contributors will be 
informed of the decisions of the editorial collective vis a vis their 
contribution after December 1, 2002.

6.Copyright for all accepted contributions will remain with the authors, but 
Sarai and the Waag Society reserve indefinitely the right to place any of the 
material accepted for publication on the public domain in print or electronic 
forms, and on the internet.

7.Accepted submissions will not be paid for, but authors are guaranteed a 
wide international readership. The Reader will be published in print, 
distributed in India and internationally, and will also be uploaded in a pdf 
form on to the Sarai website. All contributors whose work has been accepted 
for publication will receive two copies of the Reader.

Last date for submission - December 1st 2002.
(but please write as soon as possible to the editorial collective with a 
brief outline/abstract, not more than one page, of what you want to write 
about - this helps in designing the content of the reader)
We expect to have the reader published by mid February 2003.

Please send in your outlines and abstracts 

1. (for articles) to 
Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Co Ordinator, Sarai Reader 03 Editorial Collective

2. (for proposals to moderate online discussions on the Reader List) to 
Monica Narula, List Administrator,  the Reader List