Associate Professor Anita Say Chan has been selected as a 2019-2020 Data & Society Faculty Fellow. Data & Society is a research institute focused on the social and cultural issues arising from automation and data-centric technology. Its programs draw together researchers and a broad network of practitioners to bring new perspectives and intellectual breadth to the institute's work.
Faculty Fellows come from a variety of disciplines, have a track record of engaging in research at the intersection of technology and society, and are committed to working in highly interdisciplinary environments. As a 2019-2020 Data & Society Fellow, Chan will advance research on civic technoscience and decolonial, feminist data collectives in Latin America that work to reconfigure dominant Western economic and cultural frameworks around big data via the fostering of local sites of intersectional and interdisciplinary data dialogues.
"The varied crises currently facing Western data institutions—public and private—have given new urgency to deepening analyses of other forms of data practice, processing, and stewardship beyond the given centers of data expertise," Chan explained. "Whether it's growing concerns around algorithmic discrimination, disinformation campaigning, or the negative impacts growth of news deserts in regions around the world, it is clear big data has come to a kind of political reckoning with diverse publics around the world."
At Illinois her research and teaching interests include globalization and digital cultures, innovation networks and the “periphery,” science and technology studies global contexts, and hybrid pedagogies in building digital literacies. Her book, Networking Peripheries: Technological Futures and the Myth of Digital Universalism (MIT Press, 2014), addresses the competing imaginaries of global connection and information technologies in network-age Peru.
Chan holds a joint appointment with the College of Media, where she is an associate professor in the Department of Media and Cinema Studies and directs the interdisciplinary Technocultures Lab. She holds a Fiddler Innovation Faculty Fellowship at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and is a faculty affiliate at the Illinois Informatics Institute, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Center for Global Studies, Department of Anthropology, and Department of Asian American Studies. Chan received her PhD from MIT in the history and anthropology of science and technology studies (STS).