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Mary Beth Meehan with Fred Turner
May 3, 2021 @ 6:00 pm
launch party for the new book
Seeing Silicon Valley: Life Inside a Fraying America
published by University of Chicago Press
This is a virtual event that will be hosted by City Lights on the Zoom platform. You will need access to a computer or other device that is capable of accessing the internet. If you have not used Zoom before, you may consider referencing Getting Started with Zoom.
It’s hard to imagine a place more central to American mythology today than Silicon Valley. To outsiders, the region glitters with the promise of extraordinary wealth and innovation. But behind this image lies another Silicon Valley, one segregated by race, class, and nationality in complex and contradictory ways. Its beautiful landscape lies atop underground streams of pollutants left behind by decades of technological innovation, and while its billionaires live in compounds, surrounded by redwood trees and security fences, its service workers live in their cars.
With arresting photography and intimate stories, Seeing Silicon Valley makes this hidden world visible. Instead of young entrepreneurs striving for efficiency in minimalist corporate campuses, we see portraits of struggle—families displaced by an impossible real estate market, workers striving for a living wage, and communities harmed by environmental degradation. If the fate of Silicon Valley is the fate of America—as so many of its boosters claim—then this book gives us an unvarnished look into the future.
Mary Beth Meehan is a photographer known for her large-scale, community-based portraiture centered around questions of representation, visibility, and social equity in the United States. She lives in New England, where she has lectured at Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Fred Turner is Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication at Stanford University. He is the author of the books The Democratic Surround and From Counterculture to Cyberculture both published by the University of Chicago Press.