3501 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089

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Anna Weichselbraun, 2022-23 USC Berggruen Fellow

Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Taper Hall (THH) 309K
In-person event
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Please RSVP by Friday, January 27, 2023 to reserve a boxed lunch.

What’s Governing Web3? was the title of a conference I recently attended in Melbourne. This conference gathered academics and practitioners to discuss the state of governance in web3, the blockchain-based decentralized presumed-to-be-next iteration of the Internet by its advocates. As I sat through the presentations, I was struck by the persistence of a frame which almost all speakers presumed: that of individual rights and private property. For all the talk about revolutionizing social, political, and economic orders this limitation struck me as odd. What’s so innovative about web3 if its governance design is based on the key ideas of liberalism? While much of the Left’s criticism of cryptocurrency and decentralized finance has targeted the grimy libertarianism of many of its proponents, what seems entirely without scrutiny in this domain is its basic reliance on liberal ideas of individual rights and private property. In this talk I propose to interrogate what web3 might look like if it embraced political concepts that go beyond liberalism, as developed by intersectional feminist and indigenous theorists.

Anna Weichselbraun is an anthropologist of knowledge, technology, and governance. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of European Ethnology at the University of Vienna. She holds a Ph.D. in sociocultural and linguistic anthropology from the University of Chicago, and has previously worked at Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation.

This event is co-sponsored by the USC Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life, the Berggruen Institute, and the USC Anthropology Deparment.

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  • Xuekai Liu

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