Los Angeles, CA 90013 United States
The Last Bookstore is pleased to welcome Lizzie O'Shea to Los Angeles discuss her recently published book Future Histories. An activist and lawyer from Melbourne, Australia, O'Shea's book is currently shortlisted for the 2020 Wheeler Centre's Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. Join us for a lively discussion on what moments from our past might help guide a path for a more democratic future in how we understand technology's role in our lives.
“Before we became big data bundles for the lackeys of Dorsey, Jobs, Zuckerberg, and Bezos, to exploit, the digital revolution seemed to promise a democratic utopia, a commons in cyberspace not governed by neoliberal norms. Can we realize that revolutionary dream and stop desiring our own domination? Incredibly, yet thrillingly and plausibly, Lizzie O’Shea argues that, if only we can mobilize history to serve rather than enervate us, the answer is yes.” – Stuart Jeffries
“This insightful, provocative book is an intellectual kaleidoscope that sits effortlessly at the crossroads between investigation, history and radical philosophy.” -Shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2020.
When we talk about technology we always talk about the future—which makes it hard to figure out how to get there. In Future Histories, Lizzie O’Shea argues that we need to stop looking forward and start looking backwards. Weaving together histories of computing and social movements with modern theories of the mind, society, and self, O’Shea constructs a “usable past” that help us determine our digital future.
What, she asks, can the Paris Commune tell us about earlier experiments in sharing resources—like the Internet—in common? Can debates over digital access be guided by Tom Paine’s theories of democratic economic redistribution? And how is Elon Musk not a visionary but a throwback to Victorian-era utopians?
In engaging, sparkling prose, O’Shea shows us how very human our understanding of technology is, and what potential exists for struggle, for liberation, for art and poetry in our digital present. Future Histories is for all of us—makers, coders, hacktivists, Facebook-users, self-styled Luddites—who find ourselves in a brave new world.
Lizzie O’Shea is a lawyer, writer, and broadcaster. She is regularly featured on national television programs and radio to comment on law, digital technology, corporate responsibility, and human rights, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Guardian, and the Sydney Morning Herald, among others.