Lisa Parks is a media scholar whose research focuses on three areas: satellite technologies and global media; critical studies of media infrastructures; and media, militarization and surveillance. Parks is the author of Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual (Duke U Press, 2005), Rethinking Media Coverage: Vertical Mediation and the War on Terror (Routledge, 2018), and Mixed Signals: Media Infrastructures and Cultural Geographies (in progress). She is co-editor of Life in the Age of Drone Warfare (Duke U Press, 2017), Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures (U of Illinois Press, 2015), Down to Earth: Satellite Technologies, Industries and Cultures (Rutgers U Press, 2012), Undead TV (Duke UP, 2007), and Planet TV: A Global Television Reader (NYU Press, 2002).
She is currently working on two new books, On Media: Twenty-one Lessons for the Twenty-first Century, and the co-edited volume, Media Backends: The Politics of Infrastructure, Clouds, and Artificial Intelligence. Parks also serves as editor of the Network Sovereignty blog, supported by a National Science Foundation grant.
Parks is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow and was founding Director of MIT's Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab. She has held other fellowships and visiting appointments at the International Research Center for Cultural Techniques & Media Philosophy (IKKM) at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Institute for Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin, McGill University, University of Southern California, and the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a PI on major grants from the National Science Foundation and the US State Department, and has collaborated with artists and computer scientists. She is committed to exploring how greater understanding of media systems can inform and assist citizens, scholars and policymakers in the US and abroad to advance campaigns for technological literacy, creative expression, social justice, and human rights.
After serving as Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Science, Technology and Society at MIT, in July 2020 Parks accepted a Distinguished Professor position in the Department of Film and Media Studies at University of California-Santa Barbara, where she will continue her work as Director of the Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab. She will also be a Visiting Professor at MIT in 2020-21 to finish work with students.