Alix Johnson F'17
Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2017
University of California, Santa Cruz
Compromising Connections: Icelandic Information Infrastructure and the Making of Marginality
This dissertation examines information infrastructures in Iceland to chart the ambivalent consequences of connectivity. Beginning with the effort to make Iceland an information haven—an attractive storage location for data from around the world—the project maps the layered histories and landscapes through which it became an infrastructural intermediary. By following Icelanders’ encounters with data centers, internet exchanges, and subsea fiber optic cables, it shows how digital networks remake natural landscapes, national imaginaries, and postcolonial politics. In doing so it interrogates the ideal of connection, a charismatic concept from the European Enlightenment to techno-utopian discourse today.