Their book, published in 2020 by MIT Press, explores a topic close to my heart: gendered digital assistants and questions about feminized design, labor, culture, and technology. Their book offers a cheeky and provocative deep dive into the many forms, representations, and roles played by smart wife technologies, particularly as they perform cleaning, caring, home-making, companionship, and sexual labor in the home.
You can read my full review of their book in the September 2020 issue of Science magazine:
I was very pleased to review The emoji revolution: How technology is shaping the future of communication by Philip Seargeant (2019) for New Media & Society. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn a lot more about emoji and histories of language and communication.
An excerpt from the review:
Philip Seargeant is an applied linguist who specializes in language, social media, and online interaction. In The Emoji Revolution, Seargeant presents a wide-ranging sociolinguistic account of the historical, social, and political use contexts of emoji, arguing that emoji act “as a prism through which to view the history of human communication” (p. 5). Moreover, Seargeant identifies emoji as “a perfect cipher” (p. 190) for understanding the paradoxes of creativity and control that result from the rampant technological changes that underpin computer-mediated communication. He argues that the same innovations that make emoji a compelling global communication form—standardization, interpretive flexibility, interoperability—raise important questions about the role of consumerism and corporate power in shaping emergent computer-mediated communication practices. In this way, Seargeant identifies emoji not only as a cipher, but also as a harbinger for the future of human (and computer) communication.