This collection presents new work in risk media studies from critical humanities perspectives. Defining, historicizing, and consolidating current scholarship, the volume seeks to shape an emerging field, signposting its generative insights while examining its implicit assumptions.

When and under what conditions does risk emerge? How is risk mediated? Who are the targets of risk media? Who manages risk? Who lives with it? Who are most in danger? Such questions—the what, how, who, when, and why of risk media—inform the scope of this volume. With roots in critical media studies and science and technology studies, it hopes to inspire new questions, perspectives, frameworks, and analytical tools not only for risk, media, and communication studies, but also for social and cultural theories.

Editors Bishnupriya Ghosh and Bhaskar Sarkar bring together contributors who elucidate and interrogate risk media’s varied histories and futures. This book is meant for students and scholars of media and communication studies, science and technology studies, and the interdisciplinary humanities, looking either to deepen their engagement with risk media or to broaden their knowledge of this emerging field.

chapter 1|24 pages

Media and Risk

An Introduction
ByBishnupriya Ghosh, Bhaskar Sarkar

part I|79 pages

Historical Perspectives

chapter 2|19 pages

Has Risk a History?

ByGaspar Mairal

chapter 3|33 pages


The Origin of the Word in Medieval Commerce and Poetry
ByWolf Kittler

chapter 4|12 pages

Insurance and the Language of Risk in Early Modern Political Thought

ByEmily C. Nacol

chapter 5|13 pages

Hazardous Individualism

ByJason Puskar

part II|58 pages


chapter 6|11 pages

Risk Media in Medicine

The Rise of the Metaclinical Health App Ecosystem
ByKirsten Ostherr

chapter 7|12 pages

The Algorithm Dispositif

Risk and Automation in the Age of #datapolitik
ByDavide Panagia

chapter 8|18 pages

The Perils of Migration

Countervailing Mediations of Risk at the EU’s Maritime Frontier
ByCharles Heller, Lorenzo Pezzani

chapter 9|15 pages

Mediating Expertise

Uncertain Risks of Electromagnetic Pollution
ByRahul Mukherjee

part III|53 pages


chapter 10|12 pages

Preparedness Documents After the Fact

ByLindsay Thomas

chapter 11|14 pages

“Is There a Ghost in the Computer?”

A Spectrology of Uncanny Risks 1
ByProjit Bihari Mukharji

chapter 12|16 pages

New Media at Risk

Or When the Future Ain’t What it Used To Be
ByTimothy Murray

chapter 13|9 pages

Into the Beyond

A Conversation with Michael Madsen
ByMichael Madsen, Bishnupriya Ghosh, Bhaskar Sarkar

part IV|58 pages


chapter 14|13 pages

Chernobyl, Risk, and the Inter-Zone of the Anthropocene

ByAdrian Ivakhiv

chapter 15|27 pages

Risk, Law, and Media

A Case of Climate Change
ByAriel C. Nelson, Janet Walker

chapter 16|16 pages


ByGreg Siegel

part V|70 pages


chapter 17|16 pages

Red Dot Sight

ByColin Milburn, Rita Raley

chapter 18|10 pages

The Safety

ByJordan Crandall

chapter 19|11 pages

Tunnel Risk and the Mediation of Border Security Spectacle

ByJuan Llamas-Rodriguez

chapter 20|13 pages

Floating Architectures

Fantasies of Safety in Oceanic Riskscapes
ByMelody Jue

chapter 21|17 pages

Corrections to the First Draft of History

ByRaqs Media Collective

part VI|43 pages


chapter 22|15 pages

Social Media and the Social Question

Speculations on Risk Media Society
ByJoshua Neves

chapter 23|15 pages

Your Brain on Screens

Neuronal Risk and Media Addiction
ByThomas Lamarre

chapter 24|11 pages

Risk’s Fraught Mediascape

ByJeff Scheible

part VII|61 pages


chapter 25|20 pages

“One Little Seed Blowing in the Wind”

Risk Media in Trans-species Biogovernance
ByJohn Shiga

chapter 27|13 pages

Cruising Risk, Surviving Desire

ByDaren Fowler

chapter 28|12 pages

Skin Out of the Game

Virtual Gambling in Novel Spaces
ByAlexander Mirowski, Edward Castronova

part VIII|62 pages

Disciplinary Modulations

chapter 29|15 pages

Risk as Aesthetic Virtue

ByVinzenz Hediger

chapter 30|4 pages

Notes on Dissent and Risk

ByRicardo Dominguez

chapter 31|15 pages

Trigger Warnings and the Disciplining of Cinema and Media Pedagogy

ByLucas Hilderbrand

chapter 32|8 pages

“A Path So Twisted”

Staying Off the Straight and Narrow
ByJack Halberstam

chapter 33|18 pages

The Risk of Tolerance

Feminist Killjoys, the Creative Humanities, and the Belligerent University
ByKaren Redrobe