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Catherine Knight Steele

Associate Professor | University of Maryland, College Park
Contributor Just Tech Fellow

Catherine Knight Steele is an educator, researcher, award-winning author, and sought-after speaker specializing in race and media, with a particular emphasis on Black discourse, culture, technology, and social media. As an associate professor of communication at the University of Maryland, College Park, Steele directs the Black Communication and Technology Lab (BCaT) and the Digital Studies in Art & Humanities graduate certificate program. Steele’s research explores the interplay between resistance and joy as technologies of liberation, extending beyond media representation. Her work on the Black blogosphere, digital discourses, and digital Black feminism has been featured in prestigious journals such as Social Media + Society, Information, Communication & Society, Feminist Media Studies, and Rhetoric Society Quarterly.

Project Description

Automating Black Joy reimagines the role of Black youth, culture, and history in shaping our digital future. By viewing Black youth as leaders and emphasizing joy as a form of resistance, the project looks to create a collaborative educational model from high school to graduate school. It focuses on accessible research, both highlighting Black culture, history, and resistance methods, and addressing critical questions about automating Black joy and its implications. By prioritizing Black cultural production and digital technology, the project seeks to integrate social justice into AI development, ensuring a more inclusive and equitable future.

Steele served as an External Evaluator for the 2022 Just Tech Fellowship.

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