ca • nar • y trap noun
1. Slang. In spy parlance, a means of locating the source of an information leak by disseminating further information and tracking its flow.
As our media culture becomes increasingly networked, increasing global and deterritorialized, we can no longer speak simply about the production, distribution, and consumption of cultural materials. We cannot even, perhaps, speak only of the content of media, but must take seriously the forms of mediation — circulatory networks, information infrastructures, and materials contingencies — in the work of how meaning are made, identities are constructed, encounters are configured, and communities are forged.
Xiaochang Li is a cultural theorist and researcher, currently working on her PhD in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communications at New York University. Prior to that she graduated with a Masters of Science from MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program, where she was a researcher with the Convergence Culture Consortium and a Futures of Entertainment fellow, a collective of influencers from across the media, advertising, and technology industries and remains active in organizing the annual conference in the fall.
Her current research sit broadly at the confluence of urban informatics and context-aware technologies, transnational citizenship and cultural geography, and the political economy of innovation. She is also working on a project on the media archeology of autocorrect as a means to investigate the status of information systems as mediating structures.
Outside of academia, she worked previously worked as a Digital Strategist at Weber Shandwick working with clients such as PepsiCo and Samsung, with additional specializations as a digital corporate crisis liason. She continues to consult and speak at more industry-focused events on topics ranging from data necromancy to participatory digital publics.
Prior to that, she was part the core research team at the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium, a research group that worked to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange between academia and the media industries. She is a featured contributor in the forthcoming NYU Press book Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Society, which grew out of an influential white paper that she co-authored with Dr. Henry Jenkins and Ana Domb.
Other interests include exhaust data, space as a form of communication, and Marcel Proust. She is a strong proponent of the Oxford comma.
email me at xiaochang [at] nyu [dot] edu
I also work with corporations, agencies, start-ups, non-profit groups, and think tanks in various capacities, from speaking and consulting to deeper collaborative efforts, as time and shared affinity allows. If you have a project that you think you would like to work with me on, please feel free to reach out. Similarly, if you’re a fellow academic, or anyone else, with cool projects and ideas that you want to kick around, make liberal use of my email above. I can be slow in answering email during some times in the year, but I love hearing from and collaborating with others.