Padma Chirumamilla

Essays by contributing writers will be posted in June 2017

Padma Chirumamilla is a doctoral candidate at the School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She holds an MA in South and Southeast Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and an AB in English language and literature from the University of Chicago. Her current research interests lie in the histories of postcolonial mass media infrastructures in South Asia, theories of everyday life and temporality, material culture, forms of apprenticeship, and science and technology studies. She has worked as a research assistant for associate professor Aswin Punathambekar on an SSRC-funded project studying mediated activism in India, China, and the Middle East/North Africa. She has presented her work at conferences, including those of the International Communication Association, the Society for the Social Studies of Science, and the American Anthropological Association.

Essays will take into consideration the changes brought about by digital technology, and the web as a source of information, a space for exchanges, and a site of power dynamics. They will explore commodity culture, provide analysis of how ordinary objects live out their lives through design, redesign, and critical design. They will reflect upon the challenges of intellectual property, public domain, culture sharing, and the electronic frontier. They will discuss #exstrange’s advocacy for borrowing platforms such as eBay (intended for the purpose of person-to-person trade and money exchange) and will consider the role of the stranger as a mobile figure, circulating goods and ideas, as well as the connection between this mobility, online commerce and social media.