Area of Study: Media and Technology Studies
Michael Palm is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill and Affiliated Faculty in the American Studies Program. Professor Palm’s teaching at the undergraduate level focuses on the history of everyday technology and the politics and economics of popular culture. His most recent graduate seminar was titled “Political Economies of Digital Media.” His book Technologies of Consumer Labor: A History of Self-Service was published by Routledge in 2017. His current book project explores vinyl records as a case study of independent cultural production after digitization. Informed by labor ethnography along records’ contemporary supply chain, the book connects the vinyl revival to issues ranging from sustainability to gentrification. He is also co-editor of The University Against Itself: The NYU Strike and the Future of the Academic Workplace (Temple, 2008). He serves as President of the UNC-Chapel Hill chapter of the American Association of University Professors.
Michael Palm’s research focuses on the history of everyday technology and the political economy of popular culture. His current book project explores vinyl records as a case study of independent cultural production after digitization. Informed by labor ethnography along records’ contemporary supply chain, the book connects the vinyl revival to issues ranging from sustainability to gentrification. His book Technologies of Consumer Labor: A History of Self-Service (Routledge, 2017) documents and examines the history of technology used by consumers to serve oneself. The telephone’s development as a self-service technology functions as the narrative spine, and Palm argues that the naturalization of self-service telephony, specifically via the touch-tone keypad, shaped consumers’ attitudes and expectations about interacting and transacting via digital technology. Technologies of Consumer Labor was recently reviewed in the journal, Information, Communication, and Society.
Invited author for a book talk at Seminary Co-op Bookstores, University of Chicago, March 5, 2019
Appointed as a Faculty Mentor, Moore Undergraduate Research Program, UNC-Chapel Hill, Summer 2019
Awarded a Research and Study Semester by the Dept. of Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill, Spring 2019
Nominated for Book of the Year, National Communication Association, Critical/Cultural Division, 2018
Awarded Ken and Mary Lowe Faculty Excellence Grant, Dept. of Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2017
“Keeping What Real? Vinyl Records and the Future of Independent Culture,” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, online first, March 27, 2019, 1-14
“Then Press Enter: Digital Payment Technology and the History of Telephone Interface,” Cultural Studies, vol. 32, no. 4, 2018, 582-599
“Analog Backlog: Pressing Records during the Vinyl Revival,” Journal of Popular Music Studies, vol. 29, no. 4, December, 2017), e12247, 1-14
“The Swipe,” in Paid: Tales of Dongles, Checks, and other Money Stuff, eds. Bill Mauer and Lana Schwarz (MIT Press, 2017)