GSISC 2020

Technologies and Race, Gender, Sexuality, and the Body in Information Studies

This gathering seeks to create an inclusive space for difficult, fruitful conversations around technology, however defined, as it affects and is affected by race, gender, sexuality, and ability. We aim to foster conversations that consider “technology” as the expression of material cultures, labor, and embodiment; as well as sites of empowerment or oppression.

In libraries, and in the professional discourses of librarianship and information studies, we often talk about “technology” as a means to an end. Or, we speculate about technology as though it emanated from the horizon of a futurity that appears sometimes threatening, sometimes empowering, but always inevitable: e.g., artificial intelligence will “revolutionize” the ways we find and use information. Both kinds of discourse omit the ways technologies begin and end in the flesh — how technologies shape habits of body and mind, just as those habits influence the design and construction of technologies.

The planning committee for the 2020 Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies Colloquium invites you to continue these conversations July 24, 2020 in Washington, DC at George Washington University.

We invite proposals that address the problems, power, and potential of “technologies” in libraries and archives, past, present, and future, and seek a range of interpretations of the concept of technology.

Questions might include, but are not limited to:

  • How do search algorithms, metadata standards, and user interfaces challenge or reinforce white supremacy, heteronormative patriarchy, and ableism?
  • How do our catalogs, databases, finding aids, and collections disguise the traces of oppression, even while perpetuating the violence visited upon the oppressed?
  • How do we talk about the absence of voices (either in the historical record or from our present-day communities) that haunts the architecture and design of our systems?
  • How have technologies been used to selectively forget pasts to perpetuate certain futures? How are technologies used to unearth the forgotten?
  • How do we address the absent presence of laboring bodies behind our technologies, especially those bodies whose labor is devalued and poorly remunerated?
  • How do we begin to redress the inequities that library and information technologies perpetuate, where the default user is most often white and able-bodied, and whose architects, designers, and managers are most often white cis men?
  • What kinds of digital cultural memory and community-based projects are critical right now?

We invite submissions from individuals as well as pre-constituted panels. Submit your proposals here: http://bit.ly/GSISC2020
Deadline for submission: November 15, 2019
Notification by January 15, 2020
Registration opens February 1, 2020

Please direct any questions or concerns to GSISC2020@gmail.com

Organizing committee:
Jennifer Brown, Barnard College
Emily Drabinski, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Leah Richardson, The George Washington University
Hannah Scates Kettler, Iowa State University
Kristan Shawgo, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Dolsy Smith, The George Washington University
Tonia Sutherland, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
Hannah Wang, Wisconsin Historical Society