Rahul Mukherjee is the Dick Wolf Associate Professor of Television and New Media Studies and Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. His academic preoccupations often meander into imaginings about media’s role with(in) alternative futures for/of politics and technology. His monograph Radiant Infrastructures: Media, Environment, and Cultures of Uncertainty (Duke University Press 2020) examines mediations of debates and controversies related to radiation emitting technologies such as nuclear reactors and cell towers. His second book project Unlimited: Aspirational Politics and Mobile Media Distribution (under contract with MIT Press) studies the kinds of digital platforms and infrastructures that are emerging for content and money to move and reach new mobile phone users in India.
Wolf Humanities Center Penn Faculty Fellow
2023—2024 Forum on Revolution
Dick Wolf Associate Professor of Television and New Media Studies and Associate Professor of English
“Data revolution” critically examines the notion that new technologies surrounding data production and circulation have brought about a paradigmatic, even revolutionary, change in society. Such narratives suggest that by putting data in the hands of more and more people, through mobile phone technology, megacorporations are reshaping lives and disrupting industry dynamics in ways never before imagined. I examine telecom company Reliance Jio’s introduction of affordable mobile internet plans in India which allegedly brought new freedoms to the country’s population and has been compared to the Indian independence movement. Jio’s uber-capitalistic top-down “data revolution” flips the script on revolution understood as grassroots mobilization against the rigidity of institutions, and in my project, I endeavor to understand what kinds of digital futures are planned by such corporate imaginaries that promise “smart cities,” “decolonized data”, aspirational mobilities and “green capitalism.”