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Datafied Society (research platform)


6 July 2018
Drift 25, Room 2.04

Datafied Society + Gender and Postcolonial Studies

Coordination: Gerwin van Schie (gerwin@dataschool.nl) & V. Rittmann (v.d.rittmann@students.uu.nl)



The Datafied Society Research Platform and Utrecht Data School are steadily growing into full sized research groups. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the types of research that are being done, a good communication with neighbouring disciplines is of the utmost importance. This event will assist in facilitating inter-disciplinary discussions, aimed at exchanging knowledge, theories and potential areas of collaboration.

This is the first of a series of DATAFIED SOCIETY+ events in which we are highlighting the use of theories from gender and postcolonial studies in our work. We are therefore especially inviting researchers and students from gender and postcolonial studies. Anita Say Chan will be giving a keynote on the Code Academy Laboratoria in Latin America, a project that has been celebrated for “transforming” women from economically-challenged areas of Latin America into employable coders in six months (see below for more information). There is still room for other speakers during the research showcase, so please let us know if you would be interested to present your research as well.

Please register in advance using this link.


11.00 – 11.05  Introduction – Gerwin van Schie & V. Rittmann

11.05 – 12.30  Keynote by Anita Say Chan  with a response  by  Ingrid Hoofd

12.30 – 13.15  Lunch

13.15 – 15.30  Research Showcase + Discussion

  • Tim de Winkel – Fringe platforms and Nationalism

  • Christl de Kloe – Quantified sex

  • Gerwin van Schie – Datafication of Race-ethnicity in the Netherlands

  • ??? (there is room for more speakers, let us know if you are interested!)

15.30 – 17.00 Drinks

Keynote Anita Say Chan

This talk offers an ethnographic lens into one data-driven start up – the Code Academy Laboratoria in Latin America – that has been celebrated for “transforming” women from economically-challenged areas of Latin America into employable coders in six months. Taking a cue from globalization scholarship, this project argues for the need to develop methods and analytic lenses into Data Cultures and their frictions that detours from an exclusive focus on big data as either a discrete technological system with universal impacts, or as a kind of abstracted technological force that can be read as removed from the institutional contexts and local sites in which they were developed, used and deployed. And it takes seriously the power of globalizing frameworks of Technological Universalism that project new technologies, and especially digital technologies – as imbued with inevitable impacts. Impacts that would set local sites onto a single line of evolution towards a given future that furthermore, already was projected to mirror those of Western “innovation” centers and high-tech capitals like Silicon Valley.  However powerful, and readily embraced such frameworks become, they fail to account for the vast array of means by which local sites always imagine and improvise alternatives to dominant modes of technological adoption and use – and the way that such local sites decenter the power and singularity of dominant forms.

Anita Say Chan is an Associate Research Professor of Communications in the Department of Media and Cinema Studies and Faculty Affiliate of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research and teaching interests include globalization and digital cultures, innovation networks and the “periphery”, science and technology studies in Latin America, and hybrid pedagogies in building digital literacies. Her first book on the competing imaginaries of global connection and information technologies in network-age Peru, Networking Peripheries: Technological Futures and the Myth of Digital Universalism was released by MIT Press in 2014.