Ticker Tape + Temporality

Congratulations to Alex Campolo, one of my thesis advisees, who’s won one of our school’s Distinguished Thesis Awards! His project, “Tape, Theory, and the Market: An Archaeology of the Stock Ticker,” is a fantastic analysis of how the stock ticker embodied and gave shape to particular economic models and notions of temporality that, in some ways, prefaced our contemporary “Big Data” culture. Here’s Alex’s abstract:

This paper takes a media-archaeological approach to the stock ticker that contextualizes its invention within larger systems of market exchange. With an eye toward historical discontinuity, I describe the medium’s process of abstraction and standardization of prices, and argue that the adoption of the stock ticker fundamentally altered older, interactional conceptions of markets. By creating a dynamic of temporal continuity, the ticker brought into existence new mental and social models of finance. I trace the influence of the material medium on formal economic theory, notably theories of efficient markets. I also use archival works to historicize and offer a speculative genealogy for recently developed analytical categories in the sociology of finance, most notably postsocial market relationships. Finally, I map these developments on a historical case study, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. This final step explores how price information is constructed and circulated among other historical discourses.

Congratulations, too, to both Hethre Contant and Courtney Krantz — both former students — who also earned Distinguished Thesis Awards for “Radio Epiphanies of The Weimar Republic” (written thesis) and “Fragments of an Unabridged Fabrica” (production thesis), respectively.

I’m also happy to say that one of my former thesis advisees, Ben Mendelsohn, who won last year’s Distinguished Thesis Award, has been awarded the LeBoff Fellowship to start his doctoral studies at NYU’s Department of Media, Culture and Communication!

Congrats to everyone!

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