Lecture by Eubanks asks: Can Technology Serve Social Justice?

Virginia Eubanks, information scholar-activist and cofounder of two grassroots community organizations, will be presenting her free public lecture, “Can Technology Serve Social Justice?” at the Champaign Public Library on September 12, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. Her talk is sponsored by the proposed Center for Digital Inclusion at GSLIS.

According to Eubanks, despite widespread celebrations of Twitter Revolutions and social media activism, the relationship between new technology and the social justice goals of peace, freedom, equality and dignity for all people is deeply contradictory. In this talk, Eubanks will reflect on fifteen years of efforts with three grassroots organizations—Our Knowledge, Our Power: Surviving Welfare; the Popular Technology Workshops; and Women at the YWCA Making Social Movement—to make technology serve the needs of oppressed and exploited people in the United States.

"We are thrilled that Dr. Eubanks is able to visit Champaign-Urbana and share her scholarship,” said Sharon Irish, project coordinator for the proposed Center for Digital Inclusion. “Her focus on the relationship between technology and power addresses similar concerns of the students and faculty in the proposed Center for Digital Inclusion. What she calls ‘popular technology’ strengthens how we can use communication tools to foster equity and excellence throughout our community."

Eubanks is the author of Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age (MIT Press, 2012), and the cofounder of two grassroots community organizations focused on making technology serve social and economic justice: Our Knowledge, Our Power: Surviving Welfare (OKOP) and the Popular Technology Workshops. She teaches in the Department of Women’s Studies at the University at Albany, SUNY. Prior to her work at SUNY, she edited the cyberfeminist ‘zine Brillo and was active in the community technology center movements in the San Francisco Bay Area and Troy, New York.

The proposed Center for Digital Inclusion at GSLIS fosters inclusive and sustainable societies through research, teaching, and public engagement about information and communication technologies (ICT) and their impacts on communities, organizations, and governments. Digital inclusion encompasses not only access to the Internet but also the availability of hardware and software; relevant content and services; and training for the digital literacy skills required for effective use of ICT.

The event will take place at the Champaign Public Library, 200 West Green Street, Champaign. Please contact Sharon Irish with questions.

The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Advanced Study, the Mix IT Up! Youth Advocacy Project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Inclusive Illinois, Action Research Illinois, the Gender and Women’s Studies Program, the Women’s Resources Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with Champaign County Health Care Consumers and the Independent Media Center.