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Alexander Cummings

Assistant Professor    

I am a historian of law, technology, and the American landscape. My work examines how the ideological transition to an “information society” reshaped American political culture and economic policy, as well as the built environment. I earned my BA in History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2003, and went on to receive an MA (2005) and PhD (2009) in History from Columbia University, studying with Elizabeth Blackmar and Barbara Fields.

My first book, Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth Century, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013, and has been reviewed in publications such as Paste, Blurt, Reason, Pop Matters, and Entertainment Law Review, among others. My next project, RTP and the Rise of the Post-Industrial City looks at North Carolina’s Research Triangle region as a landscape of the high-tech economy of the late twentieth century. It approaches the same economic and technological shift that my first book examined through law by looking instead at local boosterism, the role of the federal government in fostering high-technology “hubs” such as the Triangle, and the changing racial and class demographics of the prosperous, sprawling metropolitan area encompassing Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham.

I have been the recipient of the Torbet Prize, a Whiting Fellowship, a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and a Dean’s Early Career Award at Georgia State University, where I am currently an assistant professor of History.