Samuel Russell

I am a labour history doctoral student at the University of Sydney and an administrative officer at the University of New South Wales.

I have been a networked computer user since the late 1980s and have engaged critically with my participation in the contemporary history of computer mediated communication as a social phenomena. (In particular I enjoy strongly emphasising that most of the claimed unique features of computer mediated communication were visible by the early 1980s amongst a limited community of user/builders).

I was an active participant in action research in the digital humanities in the 1990s, primarily by opposing the humanities research attempts to reduce LambdaMOO into a neutralised sociological subject and in opposing attempts to rearticulate electronic social dissent into culturally acceptable and sociologically pinned down individual identity discourses. As such I perceive myself as a "digital native" in relation to the ongoing corporate, state and capitalist enclosure of the electronic commons. At the same time I am interested in subverting the assumptions of this social description, (Nuclear war related L-projects as funding the space for initial computer start-ups, early applications in electronic flight booking systems, the status of early geek and hacker culture as a culture of a labour aristocracy and this relationship to computerised work being markedly a-typical.)

My current research involves class consciousness and class formation amongst organised white collar workers and professionals in Australia, 1940-1970, a period of vast technical development in information management.

My Posts

The poetics of facebook, the history of USENET: Disciplinary study of digital objects and digital subjects

August 28th, 2010 Comments Off

This session is for discussing the use of traditional disciplinary techniques, methods, methodologies, theories to approach digital texts, digital objects and digital subjects.

It is a collaborative session to observe what disciplinary exciting digital texts exist, and observe what potential research projects look like.  In part it will observe some of the failures of previous research in this area.

Social hacks in the academy

July 28th, 2010 Comments Off

This session is intended to discuss subversive social hacks of bureaucratic processes, particularly ones which contest or convert oppressive structures into freer ones.

My interest in this as a proposal comes from being the HERDC (formerly DEST and DEET) publications reporting officer in a large school.

Hacking HERDC publications reporting

While academics have been noting their research outputs to University management since the 1960s, in the early 1990s the Federal government began using volume of output as a measure of academic research productivity averaged at the University level.  The gate-keepers of academic research output in Australia are often librarians.  However, academic editors and conference organisers in the Humanities at least often fail to adequately prepare their authors for navigating this process.

This section of the panel notes briefly the history of output volume reporting in Australia, observes the conflicting workplace pressures created by volume reporting, directs attention to simple ways to navigate basic reporting, and gestures towards known edge-cases which indicate some of the problems of the system, and then points out that jumping these hoops can be made much easier by action in the humanities at the journal editor / conference organiser level.  Finally it notes that volume reporting appears to have been successfully introduced as an accepted part of work culture over 20 years: quality has now begun. (In under five minutes even).