Those interested in learning more about Chile’s experience with cybernetics and socialism should check out episode 230 of the 99% Invisible podcast.Many thanks to producer Katie Mingle and the 99% Invisible team for bringing this story and Cybernetic Revolutionaries to a wider audience. In 2015, I put together an edited excerpt of the book that focused on design history for the journal Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas that may be of interest to 99% Invisible listeners. And of course there is the book for those who want the full story!
Excited to announce that Beyond Imported Magic has won the 2016 Amsterdamska Award from the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST). The award recognizes a significant creative collaboration in an edited book or special issue in the broad field of science and technology studies that makes a substantive contribution to the field in terms of originality, impact, quality of the editing, interdisciplinarity, and inclusiveness. Many thanks to EASST for the recognition and to all who were involved in the project (authors, editors, reviewers, the folks at MIT Press, plus the faculty and staff who contributed to the success of the peer review workshop). Thanks also go to the National Science Foundation, Indiana University, and the Mellon Foundation for supporting the different pieces of this collaborative effort! Prize citation here.
Announcing my new book, Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology and Society in Latin America, co-edited with Ivan da Costa Marques and Christina Holmes. The book was recently published by MIT Press and launched at the 2014 joint meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) and the Sociedad Latinoamericana de Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (ESOCITE) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Interested readers may wish to peruse excerpts of the book available online at Amazon.com. The book includes a foreword by Marcos Cueto and chapters by Pedro Ignacio Alonso, Morgan G. Ames, Javiera Barandiarán, João Biehl, Anita Say Chan, Amy Cox Hall, Henrique Cukierman, Ana Delgado, Rafael Dias, Adriana Díaz del Castillo H., Mariano Fressoli, Jonathan Hagood, Christina Holmes, Matthieu Hubert, Noela Invernizzi, Michael Lemon, Ivan da Costa Marques, Gisela Mateos, Eden Medina, María Fernanda Olarte Sierra, Hugo Palmarola, Tania Pérez-Bustos, Julia Rodriguez, Israel Rodríguez-Giralt, Edna Suárez Díaz, Hernán Thomas, Manuel Tironi, Dominique Vinck.
I am thrilled to say that Cybernetic Revolutionaries has received Honorable Mention “Young Investigator” in the 2014 Recent History and Memory Book Prize competition awarded by the Recent History and Memory Section of the Latin American Studies Association. It is even more thrilling because the book is being recognized alongside Steve Stern’s Luchando por mentes y corazones: Las batallas de la memoria en el Chile de Pinochet [English] and Alberto del Castillo Troncoso’s Ensayo sobre el movimiento estudiantil de 1968: La fotografía y la construcción de un imaginario. Stern’s book received the top prize and is highly recommended for those wishing to learn more about history and memory during the Pinochet dictatorship. Many thanks to the Recent History and Memory section of LASA for recognizing the book with this honor!
The book launch of Revolucionarios cibernéticos will take place August 28 at 7:30pm at the Fundación Salvador Allende (Av. República 475, Santiago de Chile) as part of a series of events commemorating the 40-year anniversary of the Unidad Popular. Jaime Tohá González, ex-Minister of the Unidad Popular will be presenting the book and I will be sharing stories and answering questions. Spread the word to those who might be interested or perhaps I’ll see you there!
Reviews of the Spanish translation are starting to come out. Check out Red Seca, Revista Historia, and Revista Pléyade. Eve Buckley reviewed the English version of the book for Hispanic American Historical Review. I will be in Chile the last week of August to launch the Spanish version of the book with LOM Ediciones. The official launch/lanzamiento will take place August 28 at the Fundación Salvador Allende. I will post the details here and on Twitter. Stay tuned.
Now available in Spanish from LOM Ediciones!
The journal History and Technology selected Cybernetic Revolutionaries as a 2013 forum feature. The forum includes thoughtful reviews of the book by historians Ronald Kline, Michael Dennis, and Tiago Saraiva (and a response from me). Other journals have also reviewed the book in recent months. Check out Suzanne Moon’s review in American Historical Review, Nancy Anderson’s review in The British Journal for the History of Science, Janet Abbate’s review in Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, Juan Poblete’s review in Revista Hispanica Moderna, Ramesh Subramanian’s review in the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, and Guillermo Guajardo Soto’s review in Enterprise & Society.
I just received word from LOM Ediciones that the Spanish publication of Cybernetic Revolutionaries is scheduled for May 2013. The English version was recently reviewed in La Tercera, Radical Philosophy, and Communications of the ACM.
I just returned from the Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology where Cybernetic Revolutionaries received the 2012 Edelstein Prize for “outstanding scholarly book in the history of technology published during the preceding three years” and the 2012 Computer History Museum Prize for “outstanding book in the history of computing broadly conceived, published during the prior three years.” Receiving this news was both a shock and an honor. I thank the history of technology community and the history of computing community for giving the book this recognition.
I just received the first set of pages from the Spanish translation of Cybernetic Revolutionaries. So far the translation looks great! Look for the Spanish version of the book in 2013 (LOM Ediciones).
In other news, Peter Bexte reviewed the book in the German journal ZfM (Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft).
The current issue of Cabinet Magazine contains a 3500 word excerpt from Cybernetic Revolutionaries. Cabinet is a wonderful publication that I learned about in the process of preparing this piece. Here is a description: “Cabinet aims to foster curiosity about the world we have made and inhabit. We believe that curiosity is the very basis of ethics insofar as a deeper understanding of our social and material cultures encourages us both to be better custodians of the world and at the same time allows us to imagine it otherwise.” If that sounds interesting, check it out.
I have received several inquiries about the best way to purchase the book in Chile. As of now, it seems Amazon.com and bookdepository.com are the best options. Please let me know if you find a better way.
Chilean publications El Ciudadano and Bits Ciencia y Sociedad have both published articles on Cybernetic Revolutionaries in the past week. Pablo de Soto of hackitectura featured the Bits article on his website How To: Revolution.
Wil Wiles of Icon Magazine (a UK publication for design and architecture) reviews Cybernetic Revolutionaries in the upcoming April 2012 issue. Here is an excerpt:
Medina has written a wonderful, accessible book, a thorough examination of a project that generally serves as an enigmatic aside in other histories. At times it´s quite a romp, as befits a story with an extraordinary character like Beer at its heart. And it´s a splendid introduction to Beer´s thoughts, his ideals and the history of cybernetics.
Petter Tornberg reviewed Cybernetic Revolutionaries on INSITE (Innovation, Sustainability, Technology). INSITE supports “investigations on the Innovation Society, its innovation dynamics and social and environmental consequences [and works] with civil society organizations to promote and develop participatory strategies that are aimed at directing these dynamics towards a socially and environmentally sustainable future.” Check out the INSITE’s other book reviews here.
Cybernetic Revolutionaries will be going to Chile. I will be teaching in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chile this spring courtesy of the Fulbright Foundation. I spent a year at the University of Chile as a visiting student back in 2001 and am very excited to be returning as a member of the faculty. I will be working with the university starting in March 2012 to integrate the history and social study of technology in the engineering curriculum. I will be in Chile and available to talk about the book until May.
MIT/Harvard/Yale University Press rep John Eklund names Cybernetic Revolutionaries to his personal top ten list of the fall listings. Eklund writes:
Professionally, reps are agnostic. We see the value in every book the presses take on. . . . But in the end, when there’s time to actually catch a breath and reflect on all the literary seeds we’ve been sowing, there’s always a little collection of books that spoke to me personally at a slightly higher pitch. The kind of books that first made working for these three presses so attractive twelve years ago. . . . The usual caveat applies: loving ten titles doesn’t diminish my regard for the 300 others. And there was lots of competition. But I think I’ve worked hard enough this season to be entitled to play favorites, and to hope for a little extra viral enthusiasm. So herewith my personal top ten from the stellar fall offerings from Harvard, MIT and Yale University Press.
Cybernetic Revolutionaries is featured on the cover of the MIT Press catalog. The cover image is an early design sketch of the Cybersyn operations room (and it is the same image used for the background of this website). More information about the image is available here.
Cybernetic Revolutionaries is now available for purchase from MIT Press!
To commemorate the 45th anniversary of “Star Trek,” I wrote a blog post for MIT Press comparing the utopian vision of the 1960s television show to Project Cybersyn in Chile.
I just received word that I have been named to the Fulbright Specialist Roster in the area of engineering education (and will be on the roster from 2012-2017). This will allow me to collaborate with universities around the world on Fulbright-funded, short-term projects to improve engineering education. I am very excited about this news. Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to discuss a potential project.
I am pleased to announce that Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile will be released by MIT Press on November 4, 2011. You can pre-order the book from Amazon.com. The book documents the history of Project Cybersyn (or Proyecto Synco in Spanish).