Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stephen Duncombe Bio

Stephen Duncombe teaches the history and politics of media as an Associate Professor at the Gallatin School and the Department of Media, Culture and Communications of New York University. He has authored and edited six books, including Dream: Re-Imaging Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasty (2007), Notes From Underground: Zines and the Politics of Underground Culture (1999), where our excepts come from, and Open Utopia (2012), an open-access, open-source, web-based edition of Thomas More’s Utopia. His research and writing interests mostly circle around the intersection of culture and politics and is currently working on a book about the art of propaganda during the New Deal.

He's received several prestigious teaching awards, including the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by the State University of New York in 1998 and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at NYU’s Gallatin school in 2012. In 2009, he was the lead instructor for the Fulbright Summer School in the Humanities at  Moscow State University and a Research Associate at the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in New York City, where he helped organize The College of Tactical Culture.

Duncombe is a life-long political activist, co-founding a community based advocacy group in the Lower East Side of  Manhattan and working as an organizer for the NYC chapter of the international direct action group, Reclaim the Streets. With funding from the Open Societies Foundations he co-created the School for Creative Activism in 2011, and is presently co-director of the Center for Artistic Activism.

Notes From Underground seems to have gathered mostly positive reviews, including this from The Atlantic:

"A timely new critical study, Stephen Duncombe's Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture (1997), throws some light on the current state of zines and what's at stake. Duncombe, a professor of American Studies and a zine-maker himself, locates zines within a wider bohemian tradition, and maps out both the potential and the limits of their cultural radicalism."

The Onion's AV Club described it as wanting "to present the zine form as a potentially subversive medium" and creates "a lucid argument for why they're important."

The only negative reviews I could find were from a few readers on Amazon who basically said that we shouldn't reading scholarly books about zines and should instead be reading actual zines and making our own.

Here's a nice interview from last February of him with Social Media Week.

Most of this bio is from his website and is replicated in other places on the web like on his NYU bios.

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