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Oct. 2, 2017

Nishant Shah will deliver the fourth lecture in the Design Dialogues Speakers Series on Friday, October 27, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), 1205 W. Clark Street, Urbana. A breakfast reception will be held at 10:15 a.m.

Shah is the dean of research at ArtEZ (Arnhem, Enschede in Zwolle) in the Netherlands. He is also cofounder and board member of the Centre for Internet & Society in Bangalore, India, and a professor at the Institute of Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media at Leuphana University in Germany, where he teaches in areas such as digital humanities, computer-human interaction, and information and communication technologies for development. Shah's work explores technology,...

Feb. 21, 2017
Lucy Suchman

Lucy Suchman will deliver the third lecture in the Design Dialogues Speakers Series on Friday, March 3, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), 1205 W. Clark Street, Urbana. A breakfast reception will be held at 10:15 a.m.

Suchman is professor of anthropology of science and technology at Lancaster University in the UK. She previously served as principal scientist for Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, where she spent twenty years and was manager of the Work Practice and Technology research group. Her books, Human-Machine Reconfigurations (2007) and Plans and Situated Actions: The Problem of Human-Machine Communication (1987), both published by Cambridge University Press, provide intellectual foundations for the...

Aug. 19, 2016

Geoffrey C. Bowker will deliver the second lecture in the Design Dialogues Speakers Series on Tuesday, September 20, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), 1205 W. Clark Street, Urbana. 

Bowker is a professor at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and director of the Values in Design Laboratory at the University of California, Irvine. He codirects the NSF-funded Council for Big Data, Ethics, and Society with researchers from across academia and the IT industry. From 1993-1998, he was a member of the iSchool faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and was a faculty affiliate of NCSA from 1998-1999. He has published widely on the topics of information...

Aug. 25, 2010


As access to and competence in new information and communication technologies has become a defining feature of modern citizenship in much of the global South, it becomes pressing to understand the complex and ambivalent discourse around public private partnerships and digital inclusion. Drawing from a transcultural approach to the political economy of global communication (Chakravartty and Zhao, 2008), in this paper, I assess both the historical continuity as well disjunctures in the role of corporate institutional actors in the longer postcolonial history of development communications. These new information-infused development projects and the larger technocratic development mandate has particular resonance in India, which has today become a kind of national “best practice” exemplar of what we can think of as an techno-modernization paradigm associated with the problematic notion of global “digital divide” (Pietrse, 2000, 2005; Wade, 2002).

Aug. 25, 2010

Abstract: This talk uses a technological history set in Chile to broaden historical understandings of computers, cybernetics and political change and explore the difficulties of embedding political values in the design of technological systems. The talk presents the history of a computer system known as Project Cybersyn, a national computer network built in Chile between 1971 and 1973 to further the economic program of socialist president Salvador Allende. Project Cybersyn was designed to reflect and uphold the values of Chilean socialism. Given its national scope, it is arguably one of the most ambitious applications of cybernetic ideas to date.

About the Speaker: Professor Medina received her Ph.D. in 2005 from the MIT Doctoral Program in the History and Social Studies of Science and Technology and holds a degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University. Professor Medina's research uses technology as a means to understand historical processes in Latin...

Aug. 24, 2010

Lecture Abstract:

A key public policy issue today is the lack of broadband service and the rate of information technology adoption by low-income populations in low income places, which is attracting renewed public attention from corporate leaders, foundations, politicians, advocates and scholars. This is primarily due to several factors that include the passage of new national legislation, a stimulus package and reports by the Executive Administration. Dr. Gordo will discuss how a majority of African American, Latino and Native American populations are most likely to face digital destitution as private and public institutions restructure and integrate new technology to deliver, govern and operate services into the marketplace. Despite the renewed interest, little attention is being given to the specific development needs of these populations in the rule making and at the table of influence. She defines digital destitution as the social institutional process of alienation...

Aug. 24, 2010

Lecture Abstract:

American librarians, as well as book collectors and academics, were recruited into a massive effort during World War II to acquire publications for timely intelligence purposes—what today is termed “open source intelligence.”  Operating in neutral cities, they crossed paths with spying allies, enemy provocateurs, embassy attachés, booksellers, newsboys, seductresses, and local gossips, all engaged in the intelligence trade. This lecture explores the information economy in such places as wartime Lisbon, and considers how intelligence came to have value and meaning through the social life of its acquisition and circulation.   Were open sources more believable and reliable than closed ones?  Did the transformation of librarians into intelligence agents also transform the texts they acquired, to become something more like whispered secrets?

Speaker Biography: