Dr. Benjamin Peters

Benjamin Peters
Associate Professor, Media Studies in the university of Tulsa
The University of Tulsa, Faculty of Communication, 129 Oliphant Hall, Tulsa OK 74104
918-631-3466, 347-426-8236

A media scholar and author, I write and teach on how media change over regimes of time, space, technology, and power. My work takes critical, historical, and global approaches to that basic puzzle of why media in general, and digital media in particular, take hold differently in different contexts. I am particularly concerned with how and why media technologies distribute and concentrate power and knowledge unevenly–and what to do about it.

My first book asks why, despite 30 years of attempts, was there no Soviet internet? (Tl;dr: The cold war got network talk backward.) My first edited volume gathers leading voices on the role language plays in the age of search on the 40th anniversary of Raymond Williams’ classic Keywords. I am currently at work on a number of other book projects critical of “smart tech,” computing history, and global new media. Other publication topics to date include new media history, comparative network analysis and history, conspiracy theory, privacy discourse, search engine politics, cold war information science, Soviet science fiction, religion and record-keeping, and interwar Europe literature. I’m always looking for the next idea, so please be in touch.



  • Columbia University: 2010 Ph.D. Communication.
  • Stanford University: 2005 M.A. Russian, Eastern European, & Eurasian Studies.
  • Brigham Young University: 2004 Hon. B.A. Magna cum laude. International Studies, Slavic Literature & Language.


Hebrew University:

  • 2012-2013 Visiting Professor, Communication Department
  • 2010-2011 Lady Davis Postdoctoral Fellow, Communications




  • (In development) Peters, Benjamin. (Tentative title) The Computer is Not a Brain: How Smart
  • Tech Lost the Cold War, Outsmarted the West, and Risks the Future of Intelligence
  • (In development) Peters, Benjamin. (Tentative title) The Skull: A Hardheaded History of the Medium of the Mind
  • (Under contract with MIT Press) Mullaney, Thomas, Marie Hicks, Benjamin Peters, Kavita Philip, eds. Your Computer is on Fire: The Politics of Global Computing & New Media.
  • Peters, Benjamin. How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet. Cambridge: The MIT Press, May 2016.
    • Recipient of the 2017 Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize for “the most important contribution to Russian, Eurasian, and East European studies in any discipline of the humanities or social sciences.”
    • Honorable Mention, 2017 PROSE Award History of Science, Technology, & Medicine Listed on Nature’s “Top 20 Books of 2016.”
    • Excerpted in the twentieth-anniversary issue of First Monday, May 2016. Featured in Aeon (translated into Russian at Inosmi.ru) with over 100,000 views. Reviewed, interviewed, and covered in the press over 40 times (more details below). Translation into Mandarin under contract.
  • Peters, Benjamin, ed. Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture. Princeton: Princeton University Press, July 2016.
    • Finalist for the 2017 Susanne K. Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Symbolic Form, Media Ecology Association.
    • Reviews in International Journal of Communication, Engineering & Technology, etc.

Editor, Special Issues in Scholarly Journals

  • Shilina, Marina, Robert Couch, & Benjamin Peters, eds. 2017. “The Data Turn & Ethics,” special issue in Russian Journal of Communication. Volume 9, Issue 3, 2017.
  • Peters, Benjamin and John Durham Peters, eds. 2017. “Mormonism as Media” in Mormon
    Studies Review. Volume 5, 2017.


  • (Under review) Bozovic, Marijeta and Benjamin Peters, “Russian hacker” in Gabriella Coleman’s forthcoming online collective HackerCurio.
  • (In Development) Peters, Benjamin and Hu Yong. “A Conversation on Network Histories.”
    Preface/afterword to special issue on “Computer Network Histories” in History and Informatics journal, edited by Gabriele Balbi.
  • (In Development) Kneese, Tamara and Benjamin Peters. “Digital Afterlives, 1844/2044”
  • Shilina, Marina, Robert Couch, & Benjamin Peters. 2017. “Data: An Ethical Overview,” introduction to the special issue “The Data Turn & Ethics” in the Russian Journal of Communication. Volume 9: Issue 3, 2017.
  • Peters, Benjamin and John Durham Peters. 2017. “Introduction” to the special issue forum on “Mormonism as Media” in the Mormon Studies Review. Volume 5, 2018.
  • Tatarchenko, Ksenia and Benjamin Peters. 2017. “Tomorrow Begins Yesterday: Data Imaginaries in Russian and Soviet Science Fiction” in Russian Journal of Communication. Volume 9, Issue 3.
  • Peters, John Durham and Benjamin Peters. 2017. “Norbert Wiener as a Pragmatist” Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication, 7: 2, 157-172.
  • John, Nicholas and Benjamin Peters. 2016. “Why Privacy Keeps Dying: The Trouble with Talk about the End of Privacy,” Information Communication & Society. March 31, 2016.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2013. “Toward a Genealogy of a Cold War Communication Science: the Strange Loops of Leo and Norbert Wiener.” The Russian Journal of Communication. 5:1, 31-43.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2012. “Normalizing Soviet Cybernetics” Information & Culture. 47:2, 145-175.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2009. “And Lead Us Not into Thinking the New is New: A Bibliographic Case for New Media History,” New Media & Society, 11:1/2, 13-30.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2008. “Betrothal and Betrayal: The Soviet Translation of Norbert Wiener's Early Cybernetics,” International Journal of Communications, 2:1, 66-80.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2007. “The Cybernetics of Nabokov’s ‘Beneficence,’” Ulbandus: The Slavic Review of Columbia University, ed. by Marijeta Bozovic, 173-190.

Chapters in Edited Volumes

  • (Forthcoming) Peters, Benjamin. 2018. “The Computer Never Was a Brain, or the Curious Death and Designs of John von Neumann,” in Verhaltensdesign. Technologische und ästhetische Programme der 1960er und 1970er Jahre. Edited by Christina Vagt and Jeannie Moser.
  • (Forthcoming) Peters, Benjamin and John Durham Peters. “Foreword” to Communication Theory through the Ages, by Igor Klyukanov and Galya Sinekopova, Routledge Press.
  • (Under Review) Peters, Benjamin and Marijeta Bozovic. “Russian Hacker” in Hacker Curio.
  • (Under Review) Peters, Benjamin. “A Network is Not a Network” in Your Computer is on Fire, Thomas Mullaney, Marie Hicks, Benjamin Peters, Kavita Philip, eds. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
  • (Under Review) Peters, Benjamin. “Afterword” in Mullaney, Thomas, Marie Hicks, Benjamin Peters, Kavita Philip, Your Computer is on Fire, Cambridge: The MIT Press.
  • (Under Review) Peters, Benjamin. “The Theory in Conspiracy Theory is Dangerous” in Fake News: Understanding Media and Misinformation in the Digital Age, edited by Kembrew McLeod and Melissa Zimdars. NYU Press.
    • Also translated into German, “Vorsicht vor der Theorie der Verschwörungstheorie” in special issue of Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft, Vol. 19: Faktizitäten.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2017. “The Missing Medium: Rereading Revelation as Interruption.” A Dream, a Rock, a Pillar of Fire. Maxwell Institute Press: December 2017.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2016. “Norbert Wiener,” The International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy.
  • Geoghegan, Bernard and Benjamin Peters. 2016. “Cybernetics” in The International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy.
    • Also, published in John Hopkins Guide to Digital Media. Marie-Laure Ryan, et. al., eds. John Hopkins UP: Baltimore, 109-112.
  • Peters, Benjamin and John Durham Peters. 2016. “Master and Disciple: Communication.” As Iron Sharpens Iron: Listening to the Various Voices of Scripture, ed. Julie M. Smith. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 173-7.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2016. “Digital,” Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture, edited by Benjamin Peters. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 93-108.
  • Peters, Benjamin and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2013. “New Media,” Handbook of Communication History, edited by Peter Simonson, et. al. Routledge, 257-272.
  • Peters, Benjamin and Deborah Lubken. 2011. “New Media in Crises: Discursive Instability and Emergency Communication.” The Long History of New Media. Eds. David W. Park, Nicholas Jankowski, Steve Jones. Peter Lang, 211-231.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2008. “The Search Engine Democracy: Metaphors and Muhammad,” in The Power of Search Engines /Die Macht der Such-maschinen, edited by Marcel Machill and Markus Beiler. Leipzig, Germany: Herman von Halem, 228-242.

Other Writings

  • (Forthcoming) Peters, Benjamin. “Reimaging Russian Hackers” Kulturaustausch. Summer 2018.
  • Peters, Benjamin. “How the Soviets Invented the Internet, and Why It Didn’t Work” Aeon.com.
    Feature piece, with over 100,000 views, posted on October 6, 2016.
  • Peters, Benjamin. “555 Questions to Make Digital Keywords Harder.” A teaching resource supplement to Digital Keywords. Posted at the book site at Princeton University Press.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2016. “From ‘Brexit’ to ‘dumpster fire’: why digital keywords matter”: Posted at Princeton University Press Blog on July 5, 2016 at
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2016. Posts in July 2016 at http://culturedigitally.org.
    Posts “Announcing Digital Keywords,” “Keywords: Digital & Analog,” “Keyword: Hacker,” “Keyword: Participation,” “Keyword: Algorithm,” “Keyword: Culture,” and “250 (More) Digital Keywords—A Working Resource”.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2016. “Five Minutes with Benjamin Peters”: Posted at MIT Press Blog on 24 May 2016 at https://mitpress.mit.edu/blog/five-minutes-benjamin-peters.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2015. “9.5 Theses toward Internet Reformation: An Anti-Manifesto.” Posted 12 May 2015 at https://medium.com/@bjpeters/9-5-theses-toward-internet-reformation-an-anti-manifesto-42eb8e55fdc3.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2013. “How to Write a Book Review: The Gordin Method” in Vitae: the Chronicle for Higher Education. Posted October 25, 2013 at https://chroniclevitae.com/news/82-how-to-write-a-book-review-the-gordin-method.
  • Peters, Benjamin. 2013. “The Martial Art of Argument” in A Life of Inquiry: 31 Invitations from Faculty Members at the University of Tulsa. Tulsa: U of Tulsa Press, 2013.
  • Peters, Benjamin with Jon Henshaw. 2013. “Feedback” in A Life of Inquiry: 31 Invitations from Faculty Members at the University of Tulsa. Tulsa: U of Tulsa Press, 2013.



  • Most Valuable Professor award, seven times (a campus record), Fall 2013-Spring 2014
  • (Under Review) Guggenheim Fellowship for 2019-2020.
  • (Under Review) NEH Fellowship Application for 2018-2019.
  • Grant, Faculty Research Grant, the University of Tulsa, 2018-2019.
  • Scholar, Object Lessons Workshop, NEH Summer Institute, AWP, Tampa, FL, March 2018.
  • Senior Fellow, Media Cultures of Computer Simulation Institute of Advanced Study, Luephan Universitaet, Lueneburg, Germany, Summer 2017
  • Senior Fellow, Digital Cultures Research Lab, Leuphana Univesitaet, Lueneburg, Germany, Summer 2017
  • Scholar, History of Political Economy, NEH Summer Institute, Duke University, 2016
  • Fellow, Modernity Summer Institute, The Wheatley Institution, BYU, 2016
  • Visiting Faculty, Global Scholar Sustainability Study Abroad in Berlin, U. of Tulsa (TU), 2016
  • Fellow, Oklahoma Center for the Humanities, TU, 2014-2015
  • Digital Keyword Workshop Social Science Interest Group Grant, TU, 2013-2015 Digital
  • Keyword Workshop Internationalization Grant, TU, 2013-2015
  • Digital Keyword Workshop Co-Sponsors: English, Languages, and Communication, TU, 2014
  • Fellow, Faculty Development Summer Fellowship, TU, 2012, 2013
  • Grant, Faculty Research Grant, TU, 2011-2012
  • Fellow, Nevzlin Center for the Study of Russian Jewry, Hebrew University, 2010-2011
  • Scholarship, Kenneth E and Becky H Johnson Foundation, 2010-2011
  • Lady Davis Postdoctoral Fellowship, Hebrew University, 2010-2011
  • Junior Fellowship, Harriman Institute, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010
  • Hazard Fellowship for Russian Legal Studies, Harriman Institute, 2007-2008, 2008-2009
  • Bazarko Fellowship for Ukrainian Studies, Harriman Institute, 2007-2008 Summer Travel Grant, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, 2006, 2008
  • Intensive German Language Summer Study Grant, DAAD, Berlin, Germany, 2007
  • Fellow, Ukrainian Summer Language Area Studies (FLAS), Kansas University, Lviv, 2005
  • Russian Year Language Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS), Stanford University, 2004-2005
  • PLUS nine other awards, honors, and scholarships, 1998-2009