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Intersectional Tech: Black Praxis in Digital Gaming

February 23, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Race and technology are closely intertwined, continuously influencing and reshaping one another. While algorithmic bias has received increased attention in recent years, it is only one of the many ways that technology and race intersect in computer science, public health, digital media, gaming, surveillance, and other domains. To build inclusive technologies that empower us all, we must understand how technologies and race construct one another and with what consequences.

 

With this presentation, Dr. Kishonna L. Gray explicates the possibilities of synthesizing theories and methods from the disciplines of feminism, critical race, media studies, anthropology, among others in putting forth a critical study of intersectional technoculture. Through ethnographic examples, she demarcate a framework for studying the intersectional development of technological artifacts and systems—a research program that aims at contributing to a greater understanding of the cultural production and social processes involved in digital and technological culture. Using gaming as the glue that binds this project, she put forth intersectional tech as a framework to make sense of the visual, textual, and oral engagements of marginalized users, exploring the complexities in which they create, produce, and sustain their practices. Gaming, as a medium often outside conversations on Blackness and digital praxis, is one that is becoming more visible, viable, and legible in making sense of Black technoculture. Intersectional tech implores us to make visible the force of discursive practices that position practices within (dis)orderly social hierarchies and arrangements. The explicit formulations of the normative order are sometimes in disagreement with the concrete human condition as well as inconsistent with the consumption and production practices that constitute Black digital labor. It is, in fact, these practices that inform the theoretical underpinnings of Black performances, cultural production, exploited labor, and resistance strategies inside oppressive technological structures that Black users reside.

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