The old timers in our midst may remember the re:constructions project. Comparative Media Studies, then in its second year of operation, pulled the larger community together and reflected on what happened on 9/11, what it meant, and in the process demonstrated some of the potentials both of CMS and its notion of applied humanities.
Looking back on the project, with its 2001 aesthetic and now partially broken links, it’s still remarkable to see how much we were able to do within a few days (although the project continued to simmer for a year or two more). It’s something of a time capsule, with responses to the events more or less as they happened and before they codified into a well-rehearsed narrative. It’s hard to give a sense today of what this meant for the larger CMS family at the time, but just looking at the range of voices and perspectives joined in common cause might give a hint. CMS was and remains an incredible community, and the work emerging from this group continues to distinguish itself by facing the public and making a difference.
William Uricchio revisits the histories of old media when they were new; explores interactive and participatory documentary; writes about the past and future of television; thinks a lot about algorithms and archives; and researches cultural identities and the question of "Americanization" in the 20th and 21st centuries. He is Professor of Comparative Media Studies, Principal Investigator of the MIT Open Documentary Lab, and faculty director of the MISTI-Netherlands Program. He is also Professor of Comparative Media History at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and has held visiting professorships at the Freie Universität Berlin, Stockholm University, the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Lichtenberg-Kolleg), China University of Science and Technology, and in Denmark where he was DREAM professor. He has been awarded Guggenheim, Humboldt and Fulbright fellowships and the Berlin Prize; and was Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.
His publications include Reframing Culture; We Europeans? Media, Representations, Identities; Media Cultures; Many More Lives of the Batman; and hundreds of essays and book chapters, including a visual "white paper" on the documentary impulse (momentsofinnovation.mit.edu). He is currently completing a book on the deep history and possible futures of documentary; and another on games and playing with history and historiography after post-structuralism.