2017 Workshop Participant Bios + Abstracts

photo of Adriana AlvaradoAdriana Alvarado
Indiana University-Purdue University Indiannapolis – School of Information and Computing

My name is Adriana Alvarado, M.Sc. candidate in the Human-Computer Interaction program at the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. My design research involves civics and social issues. I am exploring the role of technology and the design of new ones that support social action through different methods such as prototyping, interviews and contextual inquiry. Also, I design and build, digital and physical artifacts to identify the affordances and limitations of each kind when supporting the exploration of social constructs and generating insights about civics. Previously, I conducted research in the areas of visual cognition and emotion regulation applied to video game design and virtual reality. Previously, I attended the Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain, where I earned a Master in cognitive systems and interactive media. Before that I earned my B.A. in Animation and Digital Art by the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico City.

  • Paper title – Designing data visualizations to address data-related challenges of non-profit organizations. Our research project focus on how data may trigger civic action, by designing data visualizations that support the work of non-profit organizations (NPOs) and raise awareness of the scale and scope of social inequalities in developing countries. To this end, we conducted interviews with NPOs focused on HRVs in Mexico to identify how they are using civic data and data visualizations, their challenges with using such data, and how we could improve such visualizations. As a result of our empirical work, we identified the challenges that NPOs face when dealing with conflicting public data; as well as the information practices with which the NPOs engage when addressing these challenges. We expect to make a twofold contribution. First, increase the knowledge of how to design data visualizations as actionable artifacts. Second, evaluate the advantages and limitations where data visualizations could be used for social good and as a tool for recognition.

Ana Barahona
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – School of Sciences, Department of Evolutionary Biology

I am a Full Professor in the Department of Evolutionary Biology of the School of Sciences at UNAM. I have previously completed postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Irvine, and have done research stays at Harvard University, the American Philosophical Society, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and at the Florida State University. A pioneer in science and technology studies (STS) since 1980, I founded the area of Social Studies of Science and Technology in the School of Sciences at UNAM. I was President (2009-2011) of the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology, and Council Member of the Division of History of Science and Technology of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science (DHST/IUHPS, 2009-2013). My interest in participating in the workshop relies on the need to deep into STS studies in Latin America, particularly in Mexico, to abandon the center-periphery dichotomy.

  • Paper title – Erasing borders: Nuclear Physics, Genetics and Radiobiology in Mexico in the 1960s. The transnational approach in the history of science is very recent and has been influenced by the effects of globalisation, multiculturalism and the formation of circuits of practices, organizations, objects, goods, knowledge and people, in which scientific developments go beyond nation-state borders, collaborative networks being the units of historical analysis. This research has expressed the need to reconstruct transnational stories that account for how the knowledge produced in developing countries forms part of international knowledge as it circulates via international networks of collaboration. A case in point is the creation of the first Genetics and Radiobiology Program of the National Commission of Nuclear Energy in Mexico in the 1960s which was in line with the international trends for the peaceful uses of atomic energy, and with local needs for creating a program to study the effects of radiation in human populations in the country. Alfonso León de Garay’s role in the development and establishment of radiobiology and human genetics in Mexico was fundamental.

Keith Berman
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Communication

I am currently in my second and last year of my Master’s program/grad school. My plan is to utilize my degree in the corporate sector to work towards diversity and inclusion initiatives. I have spent the bulk of my master’s work applying communication theories to LGBT contexts to parse out the unique way in which LGBT individuals engage with the world.

  • Paper title – Resource landscapes: How LGBT students conceptualize stress and support in a university setting (work in progress). The aim of this research is to discern the perceptions and utilizations of campus safe spaces by the LGBT student population. Most research regarding safe spaces has been concerned with their effects on the campus climate and those individuals that participate in the trainings, but little has been interested in effects on the LGBT population these trainings are focused on helping. This research is still in its early stages, but our hope is that with more interviews we will be able to gather a better understanding of how LGBT students engage with safe spaces. The hope is that the information gathered through our interviews can help create more effective safe space interventions.

Katie P. Bruner
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Communication

Katie Bruner is a PhD student in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois. Her research investigates American attitudes toward moving image media, and how these attitudes are embedded in, and constitutive of, rhetorical, technological, and political exigencies. She is interested in what assumptions people have regarding the relationships between vision, perception, and political judgment when they produce or consume media content. Her current focus is on the American midcentury, particularly looking at imaginaries of aesthetic and technological collaboration could lead to social change. She also works in the area of public memory and rhetorical criticism, examining how publics have constructed the role of moving image media in memorialization discourses. Her work draws broadly from rhetoric, history, and media studies. Follow her on twitter at @katiepbruner.

  • Paper Title – Algorithmic Art and “The Next Rembrandt”: Figurations of Culture and Capital. In this essay I examine the Next Rembrandt project, where a group of programmers and advertisers wrote a machine-learning algorithm to scan and replicate the aesthetic style of Rembrandt van Rijn, and then 3-D printed a “new” painting. The Next Rembrandt project was developed by an advertising agency for ING Group, in order to highlight their patronage of Dutch art, but was also a collaborative effort of participants from Microsoft, TU Delft University of Technology, and the Rembrandt House and Mauritshuis Art Museums. I examine both how the project situates itself within Dutch culture, technological innovation, and commerce, and how the artifact and its reception draws upon and/or enacts imaginaries about the intersections of humans and technology in artistic practice. I thus look at the project’s production, the social and material technologies it draws on, and its reception. I argue that the project hinges on embodiment as an index of human essence, and that Rembrandt’s persona is situated as the singular figure of “human” in this project. While the project is framed as innovative, my analysis shows that The Next Rembrandt is built upon decades of technical and cultural efforts to create Rembrandt’s place at the top of Dutch aesthetic and cultural hierarchy.

Michael Anthony DeAnda
Illinois Institute of Technology – Lewis College Department of Humanities

Michael Anthony DeAnda is a PhD candidate in Technology and Humanities at Illinois Institute of Technology. He received his Master of Science in Interactive Media and Game Development from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His work focuses on the articulation of queer identities through gaming spaces. Currently, he is focused on how media aid in the negotiation of gender and sexual identities among viewers. DeAnda’s humanistic approach to media studies has been influenced by his participation as a HASTAC Scholar and a Game Changer Chicago Fellow.

  • Paper title – Bunk Buddies: The Titillating Gamification of Toxic Masculinity
    In the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Andrew Christian and several of his underwear models joined RuPaul and the competing queens for a game on the show entitled Bunk Buddies, during which each queen competed to see if they could guess the preferred anal sexual role–“top” the penetrator, or “bottom,” the receiver–based on a piece of information about the model. I argue that both the technologies of this game and the camera reconstruct a model of masculinity that situated in compulsory heterosexuality. While the rules of the game draw from a phallocentric understanding of sex, the camera angles and editing affirm the citation of toxic masculinity in the (re)presentation of these gay men. Here, the game and camera technologies are working in tandem with one another to not only discipline the bodies of the models on screen, but the bodies of viewers, especially gay men.

Bobby Edwards
University of California, San Diego – History

Bobby Edwards is a first year PhD student at UC San Diego. Originally from Sacramento, California, he received his MA in History at CSUS. His research focuses on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (1936), a linguistics theory positing that language structures determine thought and perception. The analytical emphasis of his research is focused on ethnographic knowledge-production, US-indigenous relations, human geographies, and hegemony. Rooted in Critical Theory, his interdisciplinary studies also include anthropology, psychology, and cognitive science. Outside of the academy, Bobby is a practicing artist, and has been continually engaged in community-oriented cultural projects since his youth.

  • Paper title – In-Progress Dissertation on the The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: Issues in Decolonizing Historiography. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (1939) was a linguistics theory in U.S. anthropology. It argued that language had an extreme effect in shaping peoples’ thought and perception. As the theory took shape in the works of Franz Boas, Edward Sapir, and Benjamin Lee Whorf, the implications of the idea began to undermine the ideal of modernity and the authority of science itself. As the anthropologists grappled with these dilemmas, they offered critical reflections on Western civilization while also striving to uphold the prestige of modern science. The untold story of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis begins with the practice of ethnography, as these anthropologists used the study of various indigenous communities to empirically ground their science. This bound the scientific discourse to the history of US-Indigenous relations, and to complicated intercultural relationships. The workshop discussion will introduce this history and then move on to discuss the problems of scholarship that arise in such a study. The central issue is the decolonization of academic knowledge-production.

Carolyn Huizar & Corey Huber
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Communication

Carolyn Huizar is a graduate student at UIUC in the department of communication. Her research interests include interpersonal communication, health communication, and media effects. Corey Huber is a graduate student at UIUC in the department of communication. His research interests include interpersonal communication, and corporate and organizational communication.
Both Corey and Carolyn have research interests at the intersections of communication, social justice, and intercultural relations. A few of their varied interests include: recidivism and retribution in the US incarceration system, gender and sexual orientation discrimination, well being of under-served populations, and elderly loneliness.

  • Paper title – Seeking Help for Depression Among Elderly Latinos: Culturally Sensitive Strategies for Encouraging Treatment. This paper investigates how Latino individuals can encourage elderly family members to seek professional treatment in the case of depression. Elderly Latinos are at a heightened risk compared to other populations because they tend to lack knowledge about treatment options, lack resources to pursue treatment, and sometimes view treatment with a negative stigma. Family members to elderly Latinos who struggle with depression may occupy a unique position that enables them to effectively influence their elderly family members to seek professional help. We examine how appealing to cultural values such as familismo, machismo, marianismo, respeto and fatalism can assist the production of a persuasive message toward encouraging treatment within this population. To guide recommendations, this paper utilizes multiple goals theory in order to provide a sequence of message strategies which may encourage the elderly to seek help, despite perceived barriers.

Cindy Lin Kaiying
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor – School of Information

I am a scholar, artist, and bioenthusiast. My research focuses on the technological futures and material practices of citizen science and do it yourself (DIY) hackers by attending to the capacities of grassroots collectives concerned with ecology and socioenvironmental change in Indonesia. Drawing from anthropology, science and technology studies, and human-computer interaction, I follow how these collectives interrogate the political and environmental consequences of a highly uneven global economy, documenting how various social worlds, material practices, and infrastructure mark the legibility of specific claims to knowledge, land, and lives while keeping competing others invisible. Through texts, physical technologies, and installation, I explore, in a transdisciplinary fashion, the relations between ecology and politics, with snails and sound as my prime companions. My current project involves physicalizing field recordings into sonic sculptures, attending to the materiality of fieldwork as ethnographers move along landscapes.

  • Paper title – Temporality & Synchrony: Droning Hornbills and Coordinating Rhythms on Capitalist Frontiers. Drawing from preliminary ethnographic work with do it yourself (DIY) drone makers who map land undergoing resource development in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, I show how DIY drone mapping is a temporal practice. I focus on the rhythm DIY drone mapping produces, how that aligns and/or competes with other rhythmic patterns, and what it achieves for indigenous claims to land. Rather than assume that DIY drone mapping inherently enables political action, I unpack how such a temporal practice works with rather than against the pace and rhythmic structure of corporate resource incursion. To demonstrate the temporal politics of drone mapping, I look to Tim Ingold’s “taskscape” (1993) and Barbara Adam’s “timescape” (1998) to show how DIY drone makers attend and coordinate the rhythmic structure of different animate and non-animate actors. DIY drone mapping synchronizes and makes compatible corporate time with indigenous and non-human temporalities, foregrounding rhythms and paces that would otherwise have been ignored.

Diana Leon-Boys
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Institute of Communications Research

Diana Leon-Boys is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Institute of Communications Research. Her current work looks at the representation of girls of color in a post-network digital era against the backdrop of contemporary postfeminism and neoliberal frameworks. By paying close attention to girls’ communicative strategies on social network sites, she is attempting to uncover how girls of color are using media to exert agency when it comes to representational strategies. Her research interrogates the role(s) girls of color play as consumers and producers of media in the digital age.

  • Paper title – Disney’s New Darkening: Elena of Avalor in the Digital Age. Disney’s influence on girls has long been studied, particularly elements of the “princess culture.” Through discursive analysis of key episodes and online audience analysis, this paper critically engages the complexities surrounding Disney’s first Latina princess, Elena of Avalor. In the first portion of the work, the author uses a critical perspective to discursively examine the representational practices found in the series, paying particular attention to the texts’ ability to speak to racial and gender elements. The second portion consists of a critical examination of online viewer comments on Instagram, Twitter, and the Internet Movie Database specifically pertaining to the analyzed episodes.

Lars Z. Mackenzie
University of Minnesota – Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

Lars Z. Mackenzie is a doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota in Feminist Studies. He earned a Master’s degree in Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College. His primary research interests are in political, economic, and socio-cultural representations of fraud, focusing particularly on the ways fraud interpolates transgender subjects in the United States. His work has been published in Transgender Studies Quarterly. His broader research and teaching interests include surveillance, social movements, media and culture, law, and science studies.

  • Paper title – Data Anomalies: Fraud Detection, Gender Non-Conformity and the Trouble with Authenticity. Fraud is a preeminent concern in U.S. socio-political life. Each year, millions of U.S. residents report that their identities have been used fraudulently. In this presentation, I examine the ways that fraud detection technologies within the financial sector position transgender and gender non-conforming people as risky, deceitful and dishonest due to the ways their bodies and identification data misalign. I ask: What can unstable or unknowable identities teach us about the logics of massive data sharing industries and the insecurity of all of our data?

Ramey Newell
University of Colorado Boulder – Critical Media Practices

Ramey is a practicing artist, filmmaker, photographer and graphic designer based in Boulder, Colorado. Currently an MFA candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder, she is primarily interested in the intersections of science, technology, and art, finding inspiration in a wide range of disciplines and often working in collaboration with scientists and other artists. Her work also takes a critical approach, recognizing the deep social implications of tools, which are not always benevolent. Thus, her creative projects often explore how technological/scientific discourses and epistemologies influence and interact with shifting cultural paradigms and individual human experience. Where Ramey’s work addresses issues of social concern, it is often at a point of intersection—either physical or conceptual—between the social and scientific. Ramey has earned multiple awards, grants, scholarships, residencies and fellowships for her creative practice, and expects to graduate with her MFA in 2018.

  • Paper title – “Insecta”: Filmic Discourse and Scientific Inquiry. “Insecta” is a short experimental documentary film that questions humans’ relationship with the natural world through the dual lenses of scientific inquiry and the aesthetics of documentary filmmaking. Utilizing archival video and narration in conjunction with my original laboratory photography and rhythmic insect sound compositions, “Insecta” constructs an unsettling portrait of human callousness toward non-human animals in our compulsive quests for knowledge and domination of the natural world. The film embodies the curiosity and delight of the natural sciences, combined with a simultaneous understanding that scientific methods deserve our critical attention as a means of producing knowledge. After screening, the filmmaker will engage in a short discussion about how the film interacts with the visual rhetoric of both documentary film and scientific inquiry.

Matthew Pitchford
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Communication

I am a 3rd year PhD student in the Department of Communication. Broadly, I’m interested in how digital media challenges more traditional methods and theories of rhetoric, most of which were formulated in a pre-digital era. In attempting to understand what is “new” about new media from a communication perspective, I draw on many Science and Technology Studies thinkers, like Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, and Jane Bennett. Further, I am interested in the intersection between complex social and technological systems that invite particular forms and possibilities of communication, persuasion, and identity. I have taken a variety of Seeing Systems courses here at Illinois, and the discussions and readings have helped to inform my approach to these questions. My interest in participating in this workshop reflects those previous experiences, and I hope to further engage in rich discussion and conversation about STS and communication.

  • Paper title – The @Horse_Ebooks in the Machine: Virality and Socio-Technical Assemblages Online. Popular messages on Twitter are typified by their speed, brevity, breadth of transmission, and short shelf life. Networked media ecologies, composed of assemblages of humans and nonhumans in material, cultural, and institutional settings, makes digital practices of circulation diffuse and complicated. Circulation is not simply the relaying of content, and can involve processes of appropriation, recirculation, iconicity, and the creation of publics. However, I argue that the “viral,” (understood here as mutation and transmission, not just popularity) is a fundamentally rhetorical process of digital circulation. In particular, I consider how viral mutations of messages circulate affective sensibilities, relationships, and particular communicative styles within networked assemblages. I examine the case of the Twitter account @Horse_ebooks as an instance that can demonstrate how virality helps scholars to understand rhetoric and circulation in new media networks.

Megan Poole
The Pennsylvania State University – English

Megan recently obtained a M.A. in English at Texas Christian University, where she wrote a thesis explaining the influence of optical science and Gestalt theory on Kenneth Burke’s rhetorical theories. After working for many years as an ophthalmic technician, Megan decided to merge her fascination with optics and her love for English studies. She is now pursuing a doctorate in English at Penn State University, where she specializes in rhetoric and composition. Her current work explores how studying the biology of the eye grants rhetoricians important insights into theories of visuality, visual culture, and embodiment more generally.

  • Paper title – Augmented, Virtual, and Visual Reality Through a Feminist Lens. In 2015, Google failed to successfully market Google Glass, glasses that offered users an “augmented reality,” in which maps, images, and video calls were projected onto their visual environment. While augmented reality is not a novel addition to the commercial market, wearable devices such as FitBit trackers or Apple watches offer users an augmented reality altogether different from that of Google Glass: the former present information on a wearable device while the latter offers the illusion that information is projected directly into our visual world. The question, then, is why some forms of augmented reality succeed while others “fail,” and why some technologies—as is the case with Google Glass—are resurrected in medical research even if they blunder commercially. This case study not only reveals how various augmented realities produce disparate sensations of seeing and embodiment, but also how “seeing” is valued differently based on environment.

Fabian Prieto-Nanez
Institute of Communication Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

I’m a 4rd year PhD student in Media and Communication at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My research focuses on the histories of spaces of repair and maintenance of mobile phones in Bogota, Colombia and their role in popular consumption of digital technologies. Prior to coming to USA, I Completed a M.A. in Communication from Universidad Javeriana. I’m also a B.A. in history from the same university. As a historian, I worked on histories of computing and media. I recently published a “think piece” on postcolonial computing for the Annals of the History of computing, and a book on the history of the Computing and Systems Engineering Department at Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia.

  • Eating non-human others. From Zombie to Repairable in the study of Media. In the appendix to “A Geology of Media”, Jussi Parikka and Garnet Hertz, declared a plan for an “investigation into planned obsolescence, media culture, and temporalities of media objects”. Under the name of zombie media: the living dead of media history, Parikka and Hertz points to the artistic practices of circuit blending, that they consider “serve as a useful counterpoint to envisioning digital culture only in terms of a glossy, high-tech “California ideology. In this paper, I will focus, on methods where “technicians” modifies the piece to adapt it to another model in Latin-American urban contexts. As such I want to focus on the history of repair shops in Bogota, to complicate Zombie media’s framings of bending practices, by introducing zones where similar procedures are considered illegal.

Xi Rao
Illinois Institute of Technology – Humanities

Xi Rao is a Ph.D. student in Technology and Humanities at Illinois Institute of Technology. She is interested in collaborative activities on social media, social network analysis, user experience research, and information visualization. She has presented her work at Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science, European Workshops in International Studies, and published articles on how different groups (such as non-profit organizations, Asian immigrants) use social media in 2016 and 2017 ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing. Xi’s Master’s thesis situates fan study in the broad context of social media. Recently, she studies how female fans use social media to discuss TV shows and the motivation behind their behaviors.

  • Paper title – Understanding Fans through their Love to “Strong Woman”. With the rise of strong women characters on the screen, there are also discussions about them on social media. Early studies reveal that women create textual products on social media to enforce their identity and heal the wounds created by the displacement of them on TV. Therefore, it is valuable to understand these products and the motivation behind their creation, in order to better understand how women should be represented. In this project, I examine how fans talk about a specific character, Carol, in AMC’s The Walking Dead (TWD) on Twitter and their motivation behind doing it. My results reveal that audiences define “strong woman” by a few features and fans talk about Carol especially for several reasons. These findings are shown that fans, especially female fans are actively expressing themselves on social media through their interpretation of Carol.

Jessi Ring
Carleton University – School of Journalism and Communication

Currently, I am a fourth year ABD Doctoral Candidate in the Communication and Media Studies program at Carleton University located in Ottawa, ON, Canada. I also hold a Master’s of Arts degree from Carleton University in Women’s and Gender Studies. Aside from tinkering, I have also explored the interconnections between feminism and hacktivism, in an article titled “Hacktivism, Interrupted” that was published in the International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies. My goal in both of these projects is to disrupt dominant White-hetero-masculinist frameworks that limit popular understandings of how technology should be created and used, and who can have technological expertise and skills. I have a strong passion for activism and social justice and am eager to collaborate with fellow scholars who are interested in exploring the politics surrounding various socio-technological ideologies and practices.

  • Paper title – Re-Tooling the Sisterhood: Locating Feminist Socio-Technical Communities in Canadian Tinkerspaces. Makers Movement! Hacktivism! Fix-It Culture! Although varied in their naming, these ‘new movements’ all rely on tinkering, a multi-faceted concept that is typically linked to the idea of change. As a practice, tinkering involves playful experimentation using various tools, techniques, and technologies. In my presentation, I will talk about the history of tinkering, and its connections to various activist ideologies and practices. Furthermore, I will discuss some of key concepts that guide tinkering practices including Socialism, non-hierarchical pedagogy, and community-building. From here, I will do something not typically done in tinkering literature; I will make a clear link between tinkering ideologies and practices and feminist political aims that challenge patriarchy, racism, able-ism, and other interlocking systems of oppression. My presentation will end with my thoughts about the future of feminist ‘tinkering spaces’, including the successes and failures currently facing this popular moment in socio-technological design and activism.

Isis Rose
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Anthropology

Isis Rose is a third-year doctoral student in the department of Anthropology. She is currently imagining a dissertation project that explores birth and reproductive justice activism in Southern Louisiana. She is especially interested in the relationship between race, class, gender, sexuality, indigeneity and the consequences of intersecting identities on how the knowledge is produced and rendered legitimate.

Paper title – Informed Refusal: The Black Southern Midwife as Biodefector

Ryan Alan Sporer
University of Illinois at Chicago – Sociology

I received my MA in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BA in Sociology from Purdue. I have studied several social movements including the worker take over of factories in Argentina and anti-immigrant groups in the US. Currently, I am studying a social movement based out of New Mexico to build off-grid housing called Earthships. Through a transdisciplinary approach that includes STS and New Materialism, I aim to develop frameworks for thinking past the binaries subject/object, nature/society, and realism/constructivism. Specifically, the off-grid movement provides an example of the social and material processes of escape and creation.

  • Paper title – Seeing the Grid and Producing Knowledge to Go Off-Grid: The Non-Specialist’s Movement to Build Assemblages for Autonomy. This research uses a case study of the Earthship off-grid homes and people to explore the process of socio-material caging and the politics of circumvention. By taking a transdisciplinary approach, I trace how the process of enrolling nonhumans into assemblages has conjuncturally developed more delineated social ontologies “cages”. From early artificial irrigation to modern day utility infrastructures groups have sought a way out, away from, or “off” these assemblages that they defined as dangerous. Historical cases include “self-barbarianization”, the Amish, maroon societies, back-to-the-land, and communes. In each instance, material and cultural extrication was followed with terraforming alternative subsistence assemblages.


elizaBeth Simpson
University of Illinois, Urbaba-Champaign – Institute of Communications Research

elizaBeth Simpson studies the dynamics of collaboration, participation, social responsibility, and personal agency as leveraged by cultural work. Her current research interests include participatory knowledge making for citizenship with particular emphasis on embodied cognition, political theater, and restorative justice. In addition to her work as a researcher, elizaBeth has been a facilitator, circle keeper, and consultant for grassroots social justice organizations for over 20 years, and is also a performance and multimedia artist who specializes in collaborative projects with people who would not call themselves “creative.”

  • Workshop title – Mutual Aid Workshop: Building a Toolkit for Interdisciplinary Research.

Ivette Bayo Urban
University of Washington – Information School & Gender Women and Sexuality Studies

Ivette Bayo Urban is a Doctoral Candidate at the Information School at University of Washington and is a member of the Indigenous Information Research Group (IIRG). She is a feminist and indigenous scholar attentive to the complex and uneven relations that are embedded in socio-technical systems. Her work explores the following research areas: community informatics, socio-technical systems, and community based participatory research. Ivette’s research concentration is on social and technical systems and the impacts they have on underserved communities as initiatives of social justice and pillars of democratic communities.

  • Workshop title – Coming to a Digital Bill of Rights Educational and library systems have a responsibility to create learning environments that span boundaries. With the evolution of information and communication technologies, what does respect for people look like.  We are lacking a universal golden rule for digital etiquette. With these disparities of understanding, how are we as educators modeling digital etiquette and teaching our young people what are appropriate behaviors? Generally, people who ascribe to normative behaviors and technological practices feel most respected about their choices.  These sites of potential violence are leaving vulnerable individuals with little to no recourse to stand against systems.  While cyberbullying and digital citizenship play their part, what is needed are a “bill of rights” that span time, place, space and personal decisions about technology. In this workshop, we will collectively use our individual experiences and perspectives to build an inclusive, feminist, anti-racist, transnational, decolonial, and queer digital etiquette for current and future generations.

Madison Van Oort
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities – Sociology

For her dissertation, Madison worked undercover at two of the largest fast fashion retail chains and interviewed dozens of workers and activists in order to understand the labor of fast fashion and the potentials of retail as a site of social struggle. Informed by critical data and feminist labor studies, her ethnographic research reveals how big data and automation are changing the landscape of low-waged labor in the US and exacerbating precariousness of already marginalized populations. Madison’s general research areas include critical labor studies, surveillance and resistance. She has been published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Ethnography, Jacobin, and Mask Magazine

  • Paper title – Fast Fashion Police: Data, Technology, and Retail Worker Monitoring. This presentation explores how fast fashion chains harness data analytics to transform in-store labor processes and worker subjectivities. With a vast set of data—including but not limited to cashier speed, customer traffic, past sales, and even the weather— retailers attempt to “optimize labor” to more precisely meet store demands. Thus, along with lean, just-in-time production, fast fashion has ushered in a similarly lean, just-in-time workforce. I argue that a sinister, feedback loop has emerged: the shift in staff composition brought about by digitized scheduling—with higher turnover throughout the day and very little stability from week to week—drives employers to more seriously surveil their workers through other means, such as biometric fingerprint scanners, point-of-sale analytics, and social media monitoring. Meanwhile, front-line employees consistently avoid complete control, whether at the time clock, the cash register, or on the sales floor—often relying on technology of their own to do so.

Madisson Whitman
Purdue University – Anthropology

I am a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Purdue University. My dissertation research is an ethnographic study of the creation and implementation of “data doubles”: data silhouettes derived from burgeoning big data assemblages that compile enormous amount of data. I situate my research among the development of academic predictive modeling tools on university campuses that will eventually incorporate open-ended self-reported demographic data regarding gender and sexuality categorical identifications. This nexus will offer fruitful locus to examine collisions of data and marginalization.

  • Paper title – “Subscript outside of bounds”: Queering Tumblr glitches. What might queer computing look like in a big data-driven technoscape? In this paper I use data scraping on Tumblr to imagine points of interruption that we might think of as queer. In experimenting with the R package “tumblR,” I discovered a series of glitches that prevent some posts, and thus users, from appearing in Tumblr’s tracked tags and ultimately scraped data. In this paper I use a glitch feminist lens to rethink what could be queer about glitches and how we might instead view them as opportunities to pause and expose structures of computing. Glitches in data scraping—and glitches in Tumblr—are moments to disrupt the order of things and draw sharp attention to processes involved in the making of big data and who gets left out.