Lisa Gitelman and I will be editing a new book series on Duke University Press. As Lisa put it, we “share a taste in books” and we thought it would be a good place to support empirically rich, theoretically engaged work on media, technologies and culture. And yes, of course it will also be a good home for the kind of sound studies and print studies we do.
The problem is that we can’t seem to come up with a good name. The ideal book series name is somewhat descriptive but mostly inspiring and evocative. And on that front, we’ve fallen short. Our working title has been “Transductions,” which accurately describes what we’re up to. We believe that what John Guillory has suggestively called “the media concept” is no longer enough to describe the important or salient technological forms taken by communication, and we want to publish work that thinks across registers and distinctions usually held as central to the understanding of, well, media. But transductions’ geek-to-cool ratio is much too high, it doesn’t mean anything to people outside a certain kind of technology study and it references a school of philosophy (Simondon, MacKenzie, etc) with which we are only partially involved. So we can’t use that name. Other names we’ve come up with have been clumsy neologisms or simply too plain to excite.
So while we brainstorm, we are also trying a little crowdsourcing. Please have a look at our proposal to see what we’re trying to do. Then, if you have a good idea for a name, please email me. If you’re on twitter you could tweet it too, but I’d need a way of knowing you did that. If we use your idea, we’ll acknowledge you as its author, and send you some free books when the series starts publishing.