Introduction: Computing in/from the South

Amrute, Sareeta; Murillo, Luis Felipe R.
Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience

In this introduction to the special section “Computing in/from the South,” we position the South as a method to change dominant frames about the past, present, and future of computing. We discuss three narratives frames—developmentalist, postcolonial, and decolonial—to trace a significant body of thinking on computing otherwise. We argue that each of these frames provides a different optic to emphasize the contributions of non-Western, feminist, and queer epistemologies to computing worlds. Rather than thinking of these co-constructions as replacing one another linearly, we argue that they each create a different kind of relation among computing’s spaces and places, its pasts and its futures. These relations, and the switches between them, comprise what we describe as computing in/from the South as both an empirical and a methodological framework. The introduction first centers developments in computing worlds that are taking place outside centers of power. Based on an analysis of these developments, we then move beyond the limited twinned frames of exploitation and resistance to unpack the relational, political, and affective undercurrents that run through data-driven worlds from perspectives in and through the South.