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Guest Speaker: Anita Say Chan

"Data Cultures: Decentering Data Futures from Latin American Startup Ecologies"

Hosted by Juan Llamas-Rodriguez

Please join us as we welcome Anita Say Chan, Associate Professor in the School of Information Sciences and the College of Media at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Accounts of Big Data as the latest global disruptor primed for universal takeover have prompted a range of critical reactions among researchers - from calls for more ”algorithmic transparency” to demands to “audit the algorithm.” While urgency has grown to make algorithms more transparent and legible via such strategies, other critical data scholars diagnose a growing fetishization and technological determinism around algorithms that has marginalized an analysis of the varied human actors, publics, and institutions around which big data ecologies diversely function and are produced.

This talk thus 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-challenges 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.

Schedule subject to change. Please check regularly for updates.