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Race, Ethnicity, and Digital Culture I

· Read 05/04/21


  • Thinking about Black technology use in a way not framed as lack, deficiency, or digital divide
  • Not a comms background; info & lib sci PhD from UIUC (same as Roberts; Leigh Star, Lisa Nakamura used to be there); same Georgia Tech dept as Ian Bogost, Fox Harrell
  • Google Scholar good for tracking down a particular scholar's work; citation number standards vary across fields, can't tell if cite means love it or critique it; books aren't represented well


  • Audience: academics; specialist language; lots of hat-tipping to others
  • Assumes people know political economy, perhaps more useful in a dissertation
  • Intervention for scholars of media and for scholars of race
  • How authors deploy different voice and style, maybe anticipating how they'll be read

Positivity round

  • Care for reader by explaining theory, who he's engaging with, etc; thoroughness
  • Frequently engaging with whiteness and other concepts, not taking stuff for granted
  • Thoroughly justifying the browser synecdoche, recognizing its technical inaccuracy; represents his broader interest in beliefs
  • Do identity-based communities like Blackbird make them targets?

    • P2P live: identity as content; yeah but sometimes we want to opt in and be visible in this way
  • Well-organized methods

Oops I took a call lol


  • What do we need to pay more attention to in studies of race and technology?
  • jouissance (more than affect) — we're missing energy and vibes
  • Approach reading like you're riding a wave; hang out and see where you come out on the other side

Libidinal economy

  • Not about instrumentality, rationality, productivity
  • Freud really got us to take the unseen seriously; tapping into the unseen as a powerful modality in social experience
  • Whole bunch of stuff of our lives, offline and online, not getting dealt with; by not having these on the table, you might come away telling really weird partial stories
  • "This feels so much like Jose Munoz's excellent twist to queer joy in queer studies"
  • There are different ways to use technology
  • It's not that we can't talk about exclusion, but that we need a framework to talk about the other stuff, that take the libidinal as legit
  • See the present for the vibrancy that's there; not the deferral of Afrofuturism