Newitz, Annalee 1969-

views updated

Newitz, Annalee 1969-

PERSONAL:

Born May 7, 1969. Education: University of California Berkeley, B.A., 1989, Ph.D., 1998.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, editor, journalist, policy analyst, activist, futurist, and educator. New York Press, west coast correspondent, 1997-99; Gettingit.com, senior editor, 1999; San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco, CA, culture editor, 2000-04; Electronic Frontier Foundation, policy analyst, 2004-05. University of California, Berkeley, adjunct professor and lecturer, 1998-99. Guest on television and radio programs. Member of board, San Francisco Sex Information, 1999.

MEMBER:

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (vice president, 2006-07; president, 2007—).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Knight Science journalism fellowship, 2002; winner of awards for syndicated column "Techsploitation."

WRITINGS:

(Editor, with Matt Wray) White Trash: Race and Class in America, Routledge (New York, NY), 1997.

(Editor) Bad Subjects Anthology, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

(Editor, with Charlie Anders) She's Such a Geek! Women Write about Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff, Seal Press (Emeryville, CA), 2006.

Pretend We're Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 2006.

Author of syndicated column, "Techsploitation." Also author of the blog, io9: Strung Out on Science Fiction. Contributor to periodicals, including Wired, Salon.com, Popular Science, Alternet.org, New Scientist, New York Magazine, SecurityFocus, Industry Standard, Feed, Gear, Nerve, Utne Reader, Alternative Press Review, New York Press, San Francisco Chronicle, Silicon Valley Metro, and Believer. Bad Subjects (an online magazine), founding editor, 1992-2000; other, editor; Wired, contributing editor and writer, 2005—.

SIDELIGHTS:

Annalee Newitz is a writer and editor based in the San Francisco Bay area. A full-time freelancer since 1996, Newitz frequently writes on technical and scientific topics. She was the founder of one of the earliest online magazines, Bad Subjects, and has worked in mainstream journalism for the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Newitz has served as an editor with noted futurist, critic, and broadcaster RU Sirius on Gettingit.com, which a SFist biographer described as "the best underground magazine that nobody ever heard of." Her syndicated column, "Techsploitation," covers science, technology, and other topics of interest to self-described geeks. On her home page, Newitz describes the column as being about "the ways that media mutates and reiterates the problems of everyday life." Her writing spans a wide range of topics, from science to social concerns to popular culture to sexuality.

In imagining a vision of the future, Newitz told Metroblogging San Francisco interviewer Mark Pritchard, "Don't think in linear terms, think about weird offshoots of technology, like unexpected ways that technology might interact with our environment. And remembering that people tend to innovate in the direction of their fantasies. What do we fantasize about? Things like superpowers like flying or being invisible or talking to animals. It won't be surprising to me if you get weird bumps in innovations and strange tangents that lead us in the direction of kooky fantasies. But also fantasies that we can't even imagine yet. We need to be open to looniness."

She's Such a Geek! Women Write about Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff, edited by Newitz and Charlie Anders, is a "one-of-a-kind tour of techno-savvy career culture and popular culture from the oft-overlooked feminine perspective," commented an Internet Bookwatch reviewer. The book contains essays on women who, contrary to stereotype and cultural expectation, are deeply interested and involved in science, computers, electronic gadgetry, role-playing and video games, comic books, and other so-called "geeky" areas. The essayists explore issues such as sexism in video games; the social and dating lives of geek-girls; professional issues facing geeky women on the job; the intersection of science, technology, and art; and the ever-present conflict with stereotypes. The book "fights the isolation of women in the traditionally male dominated fields and activities of science and technology," remarked Barbarly Korper McConnell in a Library Journal review.

In Pretend We're Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture, Newitz argues that the effects of American capitalism are reflected within the genre of the horror film. The book began as her doctoral dissertation at the University of California, Berkeley, and it is "clearly the product of someone who has thought long and hard about her topic," as well as "refreshingly free of the secondary and tertiary references that make most university press books of this kind a tough read," observed Tikkun reviewer Charlie Bertsch. She examines films such as Sixth Sense, in which the young protagonist possesses the disturbing ability to see spirits of the dead who did not finish their business and achieve closure in their lives. In contrast, the spirits of the Blair Witch Project, she notes, have no interest in closure, but instead are more concerned with expressing their keen displeasure to the smug student filmmakers who have condescendingly invaded their domain. Elsewhere in the book, she considers critiques of the culture industry by writers Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, and how that critique has influenced other media studies scholars throughout the years since the 1960s. For Newitz, a film's place as a critic of capitalist culture is important if it represents such a criticism within itself, or even if it signifies a lesser, watered-down version of the ideas of Adorno and Horkheimer. Bertsch called Pretend We're Dead "a book that conveys rich insights about our society through inventive examination of specific films."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Extrapolation, summer, 2007, Mark Bould, review of Pretend We're Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture, p. 422.

Internet Bookwatch, July, 2007, review of She's Such a Geek! Women Write about Science, Technology, and Other Nerdy Stuff.

Library Journal, January 1, 2007, Barbarly Korper McConnell, review of She's Such a Geek!, p. 142.

Tikkun, January-February, 2007, Charlie Bertsch, "Why Culture Matters," review of Pretend We're Dead, p. 72.

Times Literary Supplement, July 21, 2006, Roz Kaveney, review of Pretend We're Dead, p. 33.

Virginia Quarterly Review, winter, 2007, David A. Franz, review of Pretend We're Dead, p. 302.

ONLINE

Annalee Newitz Home Page,http://www.techsploitation.com (February 4, 2008).

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility Web site,http://www.cpsr.org/ (March 14, 2006), biography of Annalee Newitz.

Metroblogging San Francisco,http://sf.metblogs.com/ (February 4, 2008), Mark Pritchard, interview with Annalee Newitz.

SFist Web site,http://sfist.com/ (May 23, 2005), interview with Annalee Newitz.

23rd Chaos Communication Congress Web site,http://events.ccc.de/congress/2006/Fahrplan/ (February 4, 2008), biography of Annalee Newitz.

About this article

Newitz, Annalee 1969-

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article