Ruha Benjamin: Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (2019)

5 November 2019, dusan

“From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce White supremacy and deepen social inequity.

Benjamin argues that automation, far from being a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, has the potential to hide, speed up, and deepen discrimination while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to the racism of a previous era. Presenting the concept of the “New Jim Code,” she shows how a range of discriminatory designs encode inequity by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies; by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions; or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. Moreover, she makes a compelling case for race itself as a kind of technology, designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice in the architecture of everyday life.

This illuminating guide provides conceptual tools for decoding tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, it challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold but also the ones we ourselves manufacture.”

Publisher Polity Press, Cambridge, 2019
ISBN 9781509526406, 1509526404
x+285 pages

Interview with author (Sanjana Varghese, Guardian, 2019)

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Maik Fielitz, Nick Thurston (eds.): Post-Digital Cultures of the Far Right: Online Actions and Offline Consequences in Europe and the US (2018)

12 March 2019, dusan

“How have digital tools and networks transformed the far right’s strategies and transnational prospects? This volume presents a unique critical survey of the online and offline tactics, symbols and platforms that are strategically remixed by contemporary far-right groups in Europe and the US. It features thirteen accessible essays by an international range of expert scholars, policy advisors and activists who offer informed answers to a number of urgent practical and theoretical questions: How and why has the internet emboldened extreme nationalisms? What counter-cultural approaches should civil societies develop in response?”

Publisher transcript, Bielefeld, 2018
Political Science series, 71
Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 License
ISBN 9783837646702, 383764670X
208 pages

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Purple Noise: An Exhibition Turned Into an Global Feminist Protest Turned Into a Catalogue (2018)

24 September 2018, dusan

“In the summer of 2018, a German artist, famous for having a past as cyberfeminist and a present as technofeminist, was invited to Stuttgart in the South of Germany, to create an exhibition dealing with issues of gender and technology as part of a large festival. During her research, she got in touch with numerous fellow artists and activists, and in a process of collective realization, they found that the time has come, not for another exhibition, but for a global technofeminist upheaval.

Learning from the dark forces that understand how to manipulate national referenda and presidential elections, they flooded social media platforms – an area they had previously avoided in order to protest against the centralisation and privatisation of digital communication. Very quickly, however, they have learned how to “motivate” thousands of followers, how to “inspire” them to like and “share” their contents, and even to contribute their own agendas. Within a few weeks, what had started as a small protest, has grown exponentially and conquered not just the Net but also traditional media. They gained enormous power, more than they ever imagined, and now decisions have to be made on how to use this power. Come and help us decide! What would you do if you had power over the Internet – and thus the real world?”

Produced for Monoskop’s Exhibition Library in the 2018 Seoul Mediacity Biennale, 6 September–18 November 2018 at the Seoul Museum of Art.

Self-published in collaboration with Monoskop, Amsterdam, August 2018
[14] pages

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