Wednesday, May 6, 1-2:30
Sage 5711

Spaces and Places of Hacking

Luis Felipe R. Murillo 
(Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University and Department of Anthropology, University of California-Los Angeles)

What counts as “hacking” today? Why is this worth questioning from an anthropological perspective? In this presentation I will address these questions to describe the emergence of hacking as a global manifestation of political and technical expertise. Given their (partial) planetary scale and contemporary political relevance, transnational computer expert networks constitute key sites of technical formation and ongoing dispute regarding our technological futures. From collaborative software and hardware development to systems penetration and application of information security techniques for the purpose of State-led cyber attacks, hacking has been articulated as a symbol in widely disparate political, commercial, and pedagogical practices. In this presentation, I will introduce a multi-sited project conducted among self-identified hackers in the context of an international network of spaces for socialization of technologists called “hackerspaces.” For this project, I studied practices of technical collaboration, personal trajectories, and technopolitical narratives around the experience of hacking as an ethical and virtuous practice for self-training, information sharing, and community-building. Based on ethnographic research, I will discuss the global hackerspace network as a potential alternative to neoliberal globalization. Hackerspaces, I suggest, represent important locales for ethnographic engagement with contemporary questions of technical formation, moral cultivation, and ethical reasoning thus providing a vantage point from which to study the socialization of computer technologists and the infrastructural mediation of digital technologies in educational, political, economic, institutional, and intimate spheres of contemporary social life.


Wednesday, April 22, 1-2:30
Sage 5711

Annotated Screening of the "Social Life of a Bus"
Govind Gopakumar is Associate Professor & Associate Chair, Centre for Engineering in Society, Concordia University. He received a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2008. Dr. Gopakumar’s research centres on the socio-political aspects of urban infrastructure and the governance of infrastructure change, predominantly in urban India. In addition to a book Transforming Urban Water Supplies in India (Routledge 2012), he has published articles in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Water Policy, Water Alternatives, and Mobilities.

Although many of us rely on buses to move from one point to another, we usually do so without taking the time to reflect on the relations we have with other commuters, the bus as a material artifact, or the bus system. This film is an effort to instigate reflection by taking seriously the quotidian in the operation of urban buses. Grounded within an intellectual matrix formed by “the intertwinement of infrastructure, informality, and mobility” (McFarlane and Vasudevan 2014: 256), this film investigates the quotidian politics of infrastructure and the (im)mobilities of everyday life. It does so by focusing on bus transportation in Bengaluru.

Buses in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), a growing metropolis of 10 million people in India, are a particularly interesting location because of some recent challenges. Although, buses in the city shoulder a major share of people movement, mobility choices are being shaped by the rapid rise in automobility, which in itself is influenced by policy priorities in favor of massive, government-subsidised, infrastructure investments (such as metro, tolled elevated roads, signal free corridors, flyovers) geared towards private automobility. At the same time, the city’s public transportation agency, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) operates without the benefit of either government subsidies or direct citizen oversight. Against such a context, focusing on three aspects in the everyday mobility of buses – safety, equity, and accessibility – this film proposes that we pay more attention to them since buses are our ticket to safer, more equal, and more sustainable cities.

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Wednesday, March 18, 1-2:30

Sage 5711

Digital Equity for Whom and to What End? An Intersectional Analysis of Girls of Color and Technology

Dr. Kimberly A. Scott (Associate Professor in the Women and Gender Studies Department at Arizona State University (ASU) and Founder/Executive Director of ASU’s Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology)

Engaging underrepresented girls in rapidly growing STEM disciplines, and technology in particular, has garnered national attention . To date, the focus has been on how to include more girls from underserved communities into the proverbial pipeline. Assessing the success of these efforts, considering how inclusion may not be the most effective approach for long-term success, and examining how interdisciplinary strategies may be more appropriate have not occupied the vast majority of funders, program developers, and/or scholars. This symposium will engage audience members in a critical dialogue of what is missing in digital inclusion efforts. Drawing on the potency of Black Feminist Theory’s intersectional framework, Dr. Kimberly Scott will explore how girls’ of color are no longer the technological have-nots, but assume the unenviable title of the technological should-nots. Implications for making this distinction will be considered.
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Wednesday, March 11, 1-2:30
Sage 5711

Writing the Self, the Other and the Social:
Using Autoethnography as a Feminist Method

Elizabeth (Betsy) Ettorre is an internationally known feminist sociologist in the area of substance misuse, genetics, reproductiony and autoethnography. She is Emerita Professor of Sociology, University of Liverpool, Honorary Professor, Aarhuus University, Denmark and University of Plymouth, UK and Docent in Sociology, University of Helsinki and Åbo Akademi University. Besides publishing in a number of international peer reviewed journals, her scholarly work includes: Health, Culture & Society (forthcoming); Gendering Addiction: The Politics of Drug Treatment in a Neurochemical World (with Nancy Campbell), 2011; Culture, Bodies and the Sociology of Health, 2010; Revisioning Women and drug use: gender, power and the body, 2007; Making Lesbians visible in the Substance Use Field 2005; Reproductive genetics, gender and the body 2002; Before Birth: Understanding Prenatal Screening 2001; Women and Alcohol: From a private pleasure to a public problem? 1997; Society, the Body and Well-Being 1996(with K. Suolinna and E Lahelma); Gendered Moods: Psychotropics and Society 1995 (with Elianne Riska); Women and Substance Use 1992; Drug Services in England and the Impact of the Central Funding Initiative 1990 (with S. MacGregor, R. Coomber and A. Crosier) and Lesbians, Women and Society 1980. Betsy has been awarded this year (2015), a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship to work on the project, "Writing the self, the other and the social: Using Autoethnography as a feminist method of 'sensitising the I' .