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The Original Platform: The East India Company

Map with the words "The Original Platform" overlayed

In an open virtual presentation to the Digital Democracies Institute, SP2 Provost Postdoctoral Fellow Elisha Lim will explain how The East India Company (EIC) is the predecessor to modern digital platforms (like Alphabet, Amazon, Meta, Apple, Microsoft, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent). Lim will focus on the case study of the Company’s operations in their hometown of Singapore, in order to combine Platform Studies with Southeast Asian history and colonial scholarship. Lim will adopt four elements of a platform in order to outline how the East India Company is the blueprint of modern platforms: 1) Platform: EIC’s treaties and charters; 2) Complementors: European shipping companies, plantation owners etc.; 3) Application programming interfaces: roads, monetary systems, etc., and 4) Software development kits: the spread of racist views and tactics through media, literature, philosophy and culture. This talk will underscore the indispensability of colonial frameworks to Platform Studies. Email Elisha Lim (they/them) at elishal@upenn.edu for the Zoom link to attend.

Event Details

May 3, 2023
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
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