LECTURE: TECHNOLOGY, ACTIVISM AND THE SOCIAL GOOD

February 10, 17h00 (CET)

Jessica Feldman (AUP)

Technology, Activism and the Social Good

Hybrid: Remote/American University of Paris

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The American University of Paris invites you to a talk with Jessica Feldman entitled “Technology, Activism and the Social Good”. This talk is part of the Presidential Lecture Series “Technology and the Human Future” organized by the Office of the President and President Celeste Schenck. Each talk will take place virtually on Zoom.

Professor Feldman joined the Global Communications faculty at AUP in 2018. Before that, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University, after earning a Ph.D. in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University in 2017. Her dissertation considered how advances in the surveillance of cell phone data, decentralized mobile networks, and vocal affective monitoring software are changing the ways in which listening exerts power and frames social and political possibilities. This research was funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation to support interdisciplinary research on privacy and democracy across the social sciences and engineering. She is also an artist whose work has been exhibited and performed internationally. She received an MFA from Bard in 2007 and taught media and sound art at Temple University and The New School from 2009-2012. She often collaborates with designers, and combines theory and practice in her teaching and her research.

Feldman’s current book project, Radical Protocols: Designing Democratic Digital Tools in Social Movements, is a study of the ways in which democratic values are (or are not) inscribed in the design of emerging networked communication technologies. The book is the result ethnographic fieldwork with democratic social movements, especially the “movements of the squares,” during which she studied these movements’ communications practices and the alternative digital tools that they designed to serve their political values. This is combined with a “values-in-design” analysis of new decentralized communication, consensus, and trust models, such as mesh networks, blockchain, and algorithmic governance applications, which claim to have democratic values. The book asserts the promise that peer-to-peer tools have for democratic practice in a moment when representative democracy is in decay, while pointing out concerns about the ways in which illegitimate power and control could be inscribed into these communication tools at lower layers.

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