The Long History of Domain of One’s Own

I found this image on the Tumblr “One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age Photo Op” which consists of random images taken from an archive of Geocities sites. It’s part of the Geocities research blog run by Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied. According to the Tumblr description:

Screenshots are automatically generated from a stash of old Geocities home pages, rescued by the Archive Team in 2009. The files are processed from oldest to newest.

I love this kind of stuff, and when I saw this screenshot I couldn’t help but think that the Domain of One’s Own project is part of a long history of faculty and students alike creating “homepages” on the web. Geocities was the old gold equivalent of helping people get up and running making a site, learning some absic HTML, FTPing files to a server, and generally understanding how the whole web thing works. I had my own Geocities site I back in 1994 that was dedicated to American Modernist literature. That was my first experience with writing on the web. The tools have come a long way in many respects over the last decade, but the idea is basically the same. Everything that is old is new again.

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4 Responses to The Long History of Domain of One’s Own

  1. In Alice Marwick’s forthcoming book titled Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity & Branding in the Social Media Age there may be a section that compares blogging 2.0 to the zine culture that preceded it. In her diss she says: “one of the major differences between zines, the DIY aesthetic, and its online equivalents: the lack of anti-capitalist ethos and rhetoric around ?selling out.” (cf ). I know it’s just a fragment but I cite it more as a way to illustrate that it would be nice to assemble a list of readings that could help students taking “A Domain of One’s Own” class situate their activities vis a vis the history of blogging. If we want to help students constructively shape their identity in a digital age we also need to help them understand how digitization, blogging, and the corporitization of blog hosting shape that experience. What readings might help formulate good answers to those concerns?

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  3. Reverend says:

    It’s tricky to blame the death of blogging and an “anti-capitalist” ethos on a general “selling-out” —not only is that such a laoded term, but when you are writing a dissertation on it at NYU and turning it into a book under copyright, well….I guess we’ve all sold out 🙂 Personally I’m trying to avoid that rhetoric more and more, fact is the EDUPUNK thing was a very easy term and ethos to co-op, which was very different from ds106, which was something real and anchored in creating a space of their own. But, as you know, even the idea of doing this with an ICANN domain that you lease n a commodity host that you rent it’s all just a dream of liberation and freedom, so in that regard I guess you start with Nietzsche and Foucault, and work your way forward.

    As for the theorists writing about the corporatiziation of this space, I have to admit I’m realy not too sure. Maybe Alice Marwick, maybe Doug Rushkoff, maybe the mashup artist People Like Us, maybe Audrey Watters (probabaly the most solid and brilliant critic of the space right now), maybe Evgeny Morozov, a lot of folks can speak better to that than me. And honestly, at the end of the day, my heart is not always in the academic side of the argument—I prefer the boundless exploration that is not so tightly linked to credit, titles, and official publications—all that’s so corporate 🙂

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