~ Evgeny Morozov
Alondra’s lecture ”I am large, I contain multitudes” at the Oxford Internet Institute
A critical intervention in the “future of work” debates. African American women may be at risk not only from displacement by forms of automation, but also by increased demand from other displaced workers for occupations they typically hold. Because Black women are social anchors—both breadwinners and caretakers—for large networks of kin and others (as has become especially apparent in post Covid-19 society), the vagaries of technological change may have an exponential effect.
A sociological study of why women seek out computer coding training with surprising findings. Rather than considering tech sector employment unappealing or risky, these women seek out coding bootcamps as an end to economic mobility and social flexibility, despite their awareness of the discrimination and other hurdles they will face in the workplace.
Biased or unfair AI result in part from the use of simplistic nominal categories (e.g., “Black”, “woman,” etc.) as proxies for complex phenomena like social roles or structural inequality. Grounded in “racial formation” theory, this creative paper proposes a sociotechnical methodology to identify bias upstream in the machine learning process, identifying known (and unexpected) data segregation, and initiating an iterative process that might produce a more comprehensive and fairer AI output.
An exploration of the associations social media users’ form between perceived racial identity, perceived attractiveness and “trustworthiness.” The conclusions raise larger issues about racial homophily and trust that may have implications for theories of expertise and political culture.
A thought-provoking exploration of “the social life of time” and its implications for social inequality. Racial equality will require a resetting of political temporality, Mills suggests, more specifically, a politics of time that begins prior to domination and propels a future forward out of this reimagined past.
An analysis of a well-known Dutch murder case that powerfully illustrates the interplay of forensics, genetics, and racialization. This research offers a nuanced answer to the question “what is the relationship between race and genetics, if any?” Even in the use of genetics in single social domain (e.g., the criminal justice system), racialization processes are multifaceted. “Race” is present and strategically absent, it is static and dynamic. This is the social life of forensic DNA.
A powerful example of how “genealogical aspirations”—in this case, white nationalist desires for certain racial identity—shape the interpretation of genetic ancestry testing results. Consumers generate explanations that variously reject, negotiate, and reinterpret genetic ancestry inferences to suit white supremacist ideology.
An essay exploring of the limitations of “humanitarian DNA” identification, particularly the inability of genetic data to convey information about culture, community, politics and meaning, potentially contributing added conflict to post-conflict situations.
Margaret Thatcher was a research scientist before becoming a politician. This formative training had important (and, at times, counterintuitive) implications for Thatcher’s leadership. “Science is a modern form of authority,” Agar argues, and the prime minister took up and eschewed this additional valence of power as she navigated contentious issues, including the Chernobyl crisis and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and reduced national funding for the social sciences.
This edited collection focuses on the first decades of the international network of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs that were inspired by the 1955 Russell-Einstein Manifesto and initiated two years later. These case studies examine how Cold War-era scientists endeavored to forge understanding across real and figurative walls of political difference, and to frustrate nuclear aggression—both with mixed results. A timely discussion of vexed intersection of science advice and geopolitics.
More by Alondra Nelson – from our Stacks
Our archive of high-quality content across text, video and audio – our “Living Syllabus” as we call it – has already reached over 20,000 items and grows larger every week.
Here are some recent pieces by or featuring Alondra from those archives:
- Society after Pandemic (journalism)
- Who Should Receive Reparations for Slavery and Discrimination? (podcast)
- An interview with The Believer (journalism)
- Socially Desirable Reporting and the Expression of Biological Concepts of Race (article)
- Genetics and Ethics in the Obama Administration (video)
- Keynote at the Global Resources Forum 2019 (video)
We’ve featured many fantastic individuals in this series: artists, musicians, academics, writers, journalists, politicians, and more. To see the full list and browse their selections, head over here.
A handful of our contributors so far:
- Brian Eno – Musician, Record Producer, Visual Artist
- Hito Steyerl – Artist, Filmmaker, Writer
- Adam Tooze – Professor of History at Columbia University
- Shehla Rashid – Activist & Academic
- Holly Herndon & Mat Dryhurst – Musicians, Artists, Technologists
- Raquel Rolnik – Architect & Urban Planner
- Kaiser Kuo – Writer, Musician, Podcaster
- Li Andersson – Finland’s Minister of Education and the Chairperson of the Left Alliance party
- Ivan Krastev – Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna
- Fabrizio Barca – Italian Politician, founder of Forum on Inequality and Diversity
More About our Cyberflâneur Series
To learn more about how this particularly eclectic edition of our syllabi works, head over here. Note that if you subscribe to any of our weekly syllabi, we’ll keep you posted on our latest cyberflâneurs too. Our subscribers also get a monthly Highlights From the Cyberflâneur edition.
If you’d like to propose a candidate for this series, please use this simple form.