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How We Became Our Data


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About the Author

Colin Koopman is associate professor of philosophy and director of the New Media & Culture Program at the University of Oregon.


"How We Became Our Data is a landmark contribution to contemporary philosophy of subjectivities and a must-read for anyone interested in the digital age. Koopman masterfully traces the birth of the informational person, meticulously excavating the informatic archives of the early twentieth century--from birth registration to personality testing to racial data on real estate and crime--to demonstrate how we have become our data today. Koopman develops a provocative new model of how power circulates in the informational age, providing an essential link between the statistical and confessional model of the nineteenth century and the digital profiling of the twenty-first."--Bernard E. Harcourt, author of Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age
"In his How We Became Our Data: A Genealogy of the Informational Person, Koopman examines early evidence of data and the consequences it has on how we think and express ourselves today. His book looks at those moments when data structures -- such as those involved in birth certificates or social security numbers -- become obligatory."-- "Eugene Weekly"
"How We Became Our Data looks at the design and uptake of three information formats in the United States between 1913 and 1937: birth certificates, personality tests, and real estate appraisal templates...a welcome provocation to think historically and politically about the problems we face as 'informational persons.' Koopman's concept of 'infopower' provides a way of talking about the con-sequences of the design and use of information formats."--Gregory Laynor "The Information Society"

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