Approx. 304 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 20 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6828-4
Published: June 2022
Hardcover Available June 2022, but pre-order your copy today!
Buy this Book
Free E-Exam Copies
We the Dead traces the emergence of the data complex in the early twentieth century and guides readers through its expansion in a series of moments when Americans thought they were living just before the end of the world. Depression-era eugenicists feared racial contamination and the downfall of the white American family, while contemporary technologists seek ever more durable and denser materials for storing data, from microetched metal discs to cryptocurrency keys encoded in synthetic DNA. Artfully written and packed with provocative ideas, this haunting book illuminates the dark places of the data complex and the ways it increasingly blurs the lines between human and machine, biological body and data body, life and digital afterlife.
About the Author
Brian Michael Murphy is dean of the college and director of the MFA in Public Action at Bennington College.
For more information about Brian Michael Murphy, visit the Author Page.
“We the Dead is the rare book that opens new lines of investigation while also entertaining and provoking the reader. Some of the historical case studies that Brian Murphy unearthed (gas chambers for rare books! durable metal film strips! atomic bomb–tested filing cabinets!) were so outrageous and profound that I found myself laughing out loud while reading. It was a shock of recognition. . . . We are already the dead of the book’s title, whether we like it or not.”—Brian Hochman, author of The Listeners: A History of Wiretapping in the United States
“Well written, thoughtful, and provocative. We the Dead is intellectually engaging and fascinating—I can honestly think of very few books like it.”—Tung-Hui Hu, author of A Prehistory of the Cloud