Speaker: Christina Dunbar-Hester. March 5th, 2021, 1PM EST.

“I Was Trying to Drag People Into Caring”: Governance, Diversity, and Controversy in Open Technology Projects.

In recent years, conflicts over values and practices have emerged in hacking and free/libre and open source (FLOSS) communities, centering around diversity and inclusion. This talk presents ethnographic research on feminist hacking and “diversity” efforts in mainstream hacking, which have gathered momentum in these communities in recent years. It explores how participants work through thorny issues of inclusion through their practices with artifacts and with one another. It illustrates how there is more at stake in “hacking diversity” than a politics of representation can capture, and argues that how diversity advocates bound their interventions matters for both hacking communities and “tech” more broadly.

Christina Dunbar-Hester is the author of Hacking Diversity: The Politics of Inclusion in Open Technology Cultures (Princeton U Press, 2020) and Low Power to the People: Pirates, Protest, and Politics in FM Radio Activism (MIT Press, 2014). She is a faculty member in the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, USA, and she holds a PhD in Science & Technology Studies from Cornell University, USA. Her writing and research centers on the politics of technology, with a main body of work focused on media and tech activisms, and more recently moving into new areas having to do with infrastructures and ecology.

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Organized by the Algorithmic Media Observatory, Concordia University and co-sponsored by the Infoscape Research Lab and the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS) Western University.