Robertson Professor of Modern Media Studies and Director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia
In Antisocial Media, Siva Vaidhyanathan explains how Facebook devolved from an innocent social site hacked together by Harvard students into a force that, while it may make personal life just a little more pleasurable, makes democracy a lot more challenging. It’s an account of the hubris of good intentions, a missionary spirit, and an ideology that sees computer code as the universal solvent for all human problems. And it’s an indictment of how “social media” has fostered the deterioration of democratic culture around the world, from facilitating Russian meddling in support of Trump’s election to the exploitation of the platform by murderous authoritarians in Burma and the Philippines.
A media theorist and cultural historian, Dr. Vaidhyanathan is the author most recently of Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2018). He also wrote The Googlization of Everything—and Why We Should Worry (2011) and numerous other books and publications.
Siva Vaidhyanathan’s talk is this year’s MCSI Atherton Lecture, named in honor of Pitzer’s first president, John Atherton, and his wife, Virginia Atherton.
Every year, the Munroe Center for Social Inquiry (MCSI) sponsors a themed series of events including lectures, seminars and panel discussions. The 2018-19 theme is “PERCEPTION IN A SOCIAL WORLD: Sensing others and seeing ourselves.”