Aporia (Ancient Greek: ἀπορία: “impasse, difficulty of passing, lack of resources, puzzlement”) denotes in philosophy a philosophical puzzle or state of puzzlement and in rhetoric a rhetorically useful expression of doubt.
I’m John Carter McKnight, Assistant Professor, Sociology of Emerging Technologies, at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. I teach courses in the General Education, Interactive Media, Computer Science, and Information Systems Engineering and Management programs.
I’m also actively researching and writing in two areas:
Online communities, platforms, and producers: I study the social and material technologies of online community formation and management, examining the interplay of culture, platform, user interface/experience design, and community interactions with professional content creators, particularly videogames and science fiction/fantasy television, but also considering state propaganda as media content inspiring communities of fan creators.
Ethics and governance of emerging technologies: Much of my work examines the management and governance, formal and informal, internal and external, of innovation. My particular areas of interest are robotics, space exploration, and alternative financial tools such as cryptocurrencies.
I began Aporia my first year of graduate school, as a means of working through what I was learning in my science & technology studies and games studies courses, and as I actually started understanding my field well enough to comment on it, it evolved into something more like a mature academic blog. On completing my PhD, I suspended it: I found the “aporia” of being a postdoc even more profound than that of being a first-year PhD student. I’m picking back up again: I’m getting deep enough into my work to have opinions and analyses again that need a more structured home then short-form venting on social media.
This blog isn’t going to have a lot of thematic unity: it’s going to reflect my diverse interests in education and educational technologies, social media, fandom, and whatever else catches my attention along the way. I make extensive use of tags: readers may want to filter by what they’re interested in.