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October 18, 2006

Whole Earth Catalog symposium to trace cyberculture's roots

During the 1960s, student anti-war protesters chanted, "Do not fold, spindle or mutilate!" as they railed against computers as representative of the Cold War-era military-industrial complex. But within three decades, computers had become emblems of countercultural revolution—a transformation greatly influenced by the social networking ideals advanced by Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand and his colleagues, argues Fred Turner, assistant professor of communication, in his newly published book, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network and the Rise of Digital Utopianism.

That shift and the evolution of personal computing, virtual communities and the vision of cyberspace as an electronic frontier will be discussed Nov. 9 in a symposium, "From Counterculture to Cyberculture: The Legacy of the Whole Earth Catalog." Symposium participants will include Brand and two other figures who prominently have embraced the social potential of digital technologies: Kevin Kelly, former executive editor of Wired magazine and author of Out of Control: The Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization and New Rules for the New Economy, and Howard Rheingold, author of The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier and Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution.

The symposium, which will be moderated by Turner, will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Cubberley Auditorium. A public reception with the panelists will follow.

The event is sponsored by Stanford University Libraries, the Department of Communication and the American Studies Program. The libraries' Special Collections department holds the archive of records from the Whole Earth Catalog and related publications including editorial files, reader correspondence, photographs, memorabilia and other material.



ShinJoung Yeo, Stanford University Libraries: (650) 723-9523,


Fred Turner, Department of Communication: (650) 723-0706, fturner@stanford

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