Cogut Institute for the Humanities

Irina Kalinka

2021–22 Graduate Fellow, Ph.D. Candidate in Modern Culture and Media
Pembroke Hall 005
Project "User Democracy: A Political Theory of Digital Logics"
Last updated August 9, 2022, based on June 2021 biographical sketch


At the time of her fellowship, Irina Kalinka was a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Modern Culture and Media. She holds a B.A. in Politics and Human Rights from Bard College and an M.A. in English and American Literatures from Humboldt University, Berlin. Her previous work experience includes serving as an elected county-council representative for the Green Party in Teltow Fläming, Germany. She her dissertation explores the political imaginary of “User Democracy.” Here, she is asking what it means to imagine politics as a technological problem to be managed and solved in the name of smooth operability, better design choices, user-friendliness, and optimization — and how to resist such reductionist conceptions of collective world-making. Her research is situated at the intersection of critical and political theory with a focus on digital media.