Department:School of Journalism and Communication
Degrees:B.A. (History, University of Calgary), B.A. (International Relations, University of Calgary), M.A. (Popular Culture, Brock University), Ph.D. (Media Studies, University of Western)


I am presently (Fall 2022) Visiting Professor in the Department of Digital Design og Informationsvidenskab at Aarhus University, Denmark.

My research and teaching span four overlapping areas: media theory and cultural techniques, histories of data and information, infrastructure studies, and critical internet studies. I work within what is sometimes called the “civilizational” stream of media theory, typified by Harold Innis, Marshall McLuhan, and Walter Benjamin. This stream understands media as crucial sites of power and struggle, expands the historical scope and corpus with which we consider them, emphasizes questions of materiality, and overlaps significantly with literary studies. In 2020-21, I helped organized a conference and special journal issue, “Into the Air,” that explored many of these themes.

I am basically interested how human societies hold together across time and space, so I research and teach across a range of topics and periods—from early modern double-entry bookkeeping and state bureaucracies to 20th century pop music and box office charts; from logistical media of ports, shipping containers, and barcodes to the history and rise of sports gambling; from Y2K and the first dotcom crash to the cod fisheries and fur trade of the 17th and 18th centuries; from financialization and blockchain bro culture to common salt and human hands as media of culture. In each case, I am interested primarily in questions of epistemology (how we know about these things) and infrastructure (how they are built into and operate in the world).

My first book, List Cultures: Knowledge and Poetics from Mesopotamia to BuzzFeed (Amsterdam University Press, 2017; Open Access) explored such themes by tracing the list as a cultural technique of administration and imagination. My current book project is on the history of salt and positions sodium chloride as a medium of culture and civilization. I developed this project as a Research Fellow at the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany. I am also in the early stages of building a long-term project on sports gambling, datafication, and financialization.

I am available to supervise graduate students who are interested in sports, popular culture, platform and internet studies, media history and theory, histories of data and information, and recent debates in infrastructure studies.

Selected Publications

Young, Liam C. 2017. List Cultures: Knowledge and Poetics from Mesopotamia to BuzzFeed. Amsterdam University Press.

Reviews: Canadian Journal of Communication (September 2020), Ian Reilly; Cultural Politics 14.3 (Fall 2018), Rob Coley; Leonardo (May 2018), Jan Baetens; LSE Review of Books (December 2017), Marianne Koob

Articles and Chapters

Young, Liam C. 2022. “Film Box Office Charts and the Metadata of Culture.” In Interrogating Datafication: Towards a Praxeology of Data. Edited by Marcus Burkhardt, Daniela van Geenen, Carolin Gerlitz, Sam Hind, Timo Kaerlein, Danny Lämmerhirt, Axel Volmar. transcript Verlag.

Young, Liam C., Hannah Dick and Chris Russill. 2021. “Introduction: Into the Air” and “A History of the Idea of Speaking into the Air: A Conversation with John Durham Peters.” Media Theory 5.2.

Young, Liam C. 2021. “Colonization’s Logistical Media: The Ship and the Document.” In Assembly Codes: The Logistics of Media. Edited by Matthew Hockenberry, Nicole Starosielski and Susan Zieger. Durham NC: Duke University Press.

Young, Liam C. 2020. “Salt: Fragments from the History of a Medium.” Theory, Culture and Society. 37, no. 6.

Young, Liam C. 2020. “Harold Innis’s Office: Techniques of Scholarship and Textual Production.” Amodern 10: Technique.

Young, Liam C. 2019. “The Innis-McLuhan Field: In Search of Media TheoryCanadian Journal of Communication (special Issue on “Many McLuhans”).

Young, Liam C. and Ira Wagman. 2019. “On the Mediality of Two Towers: Calgary—Toronto”. Imaginations 10, no. 2.

Young, Liam C. 2017. “Innis’s Infrastructure: Dirt, Beavers, and Documents in Material Media Theory.” Cultural Politics 13, no. 2.

Young, Liam C. 2015. “Cultural techniques and logistical media: Tuning Anglo-American and German media studies.” M/C Journal 18, no. 2 (Feature article in special issue on ‘Technique’)