Rachel Plotnick discusses her book Power Button: A History of Pleasure, Panic, and The Politics of Pushing with Chris Richardson. Plotnick is an Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in The Media School at Indiana University Bloomington. She received her PhD from the Media, Technology and Society program in the School of Communication at Northwestern University and her MA from Georgetown University in Communication, Culture and Technology. Her research and teaching focus on information, communication and media technologies from an historical and critical/cultural perspective. Specifically, Rachel's research agenda examines human-machine relations, particularly as they relate to interfaces. She investigates how these surfaces – from buttons and keys to dials and screens – play a role in the technological and social aspects of daily life. She takes interest in touch and haptics, studying how modes of input, tactility, and sensory engagement have changed over time. More about her research and teaching can be found at www.rachelplotnick.com.
When I first encountered this book, it not only exposed me to the burgeoning field of sound studies, but it also got me thinking about connections between history, machines, and bodies in ways I never had before. Sterne's work has always pushed me and challenged me, which I really appreciate.
I go back to this book over and over again, not only because of its sharp observations, but also because of Turner's engaging writing style. This is a great book to read for those who want to learn how to tell a story through one's scholarship - and its conversational approach grabs you and holds you from beginning to end.
For those who think about waiting as an evil, Farman provides a really fascinating account of why waiting might do some good for society. This book does an excellent job of weaving together history and the present, and I gravitate towards scholarship that can make such connections between different moments in time.
I've gotten more interested in interaction design recently, and this is a wonderful piece of scholarship about "somaesthetic" interaction, which takes bodily practices and felt experience into account when thinking through meaningful design. This book is practical as well as theoretical, so it can appeal to both practitioners and humanists.
This book about philosophy of technology has really stuck with me over the years. Verbeek masterfully weaves together ideas about materiality, agency, and design, and his work is a great example of working across disciplinary divides by pulling together philosophy, STS, design studies and more.