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Emily Ryan
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Internet research author to speak for Data & Democracy series

Tue, 11/12/2013

LAWRENCE — In conjunction with The Commons’ 2013-2014 programming theme Data & Democracy, Nicco Mele, author of “The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath” (St. Martin’s Press, 2013), will give presentations on Thursday, Nov. 21, and Friday, Nov. 22, at the University of Kansas.

Mele’s lecture, “Why Radical Connectivity Means the End of Big,” planned for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 21, will consider the characteristics and ramifications of our ever-connected lifestyles. Mele will then lead an Idea Café at 10 a.m. Nov. 22, at which he will invite attendees to have a discussion in response to his introduction: “Can Democracy Survive the Digital Age?” Those interested in attending the Idea Café should RSVP to thecommons@ku.edu by Friday, Nov. 15. Both events will take place in The Commons.

Mele is an entrepreneur, angel investor and consultant to Fortune 1000 companies as well as a leading forecaster of business, politics and culture in the digital age. Through his use of social media campaigns for fundraising at several advocacy organizations and his work as webmaster for former Gov. Howard Dean's 2004 presidential bid, Mele has contributed to the shift in the use of social media by the political sphere. Subsequently, he co-founded EchoDitto, a leading Internet strategy and consulting firm, whose nonprofit and corporate clients have included Barack Obama's Senate campaign, the Clinton Global Initiative, Sierra Club, UN World Food Programme, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, AARP and Medco. Nicco also is on the faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he teaches graduate-level classes on the Internet and politics.

He wrote an op-ed, which appeared Oct. 31 in USA Today, which argues that today’s leaders must become more technologically literate, citing the recent cases of Healthcare.gov and the Commons Application.

Through Data & Democracy, The Commons is exploring the current state of access to information and the consequences of such exposure. This series of presentations will investigate the ways in which humans create and manage information as well as the ways in which they are bound by it. For more information about programs associated with Data & Democracy, please visit its website.



David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he works with KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, are important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.” Tags: #KUcommunities #CivilRights #History American Studies at KU
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Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”


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