Reading group Spring session: Ruha Benjamin’s “Race After Technology”

Are robots racist? Is visibility a trap? Are technofixes viable? What is social justice in the high-tech world? These questions are raised in Ruha Benjamin’s book Race After Technology (2019, Polity Press) that we will read during our TBD reading group spring session 2020.

Race After Technology expolores how emerging technologies can reinforce White Supremacy and deepen social inequity. Automation has the potential to hide, speed up, and deepen discrimination while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to the racism of a previous era. This “New Jim Code” encodes inequality as normal and designs technologies that stratify and scantify social injustice in everydaylife.

TBD (‘to be defined’) is a reading group at the intersection of Science and Technology Studies (STS), feminism, queer studies, posthumanism and new materialism. We are interested in engaging with works – both contemporary and otherwise – that engage relationships between technology, sexuality and culture. Previously we read books such as Helen Hester’s Xenofeminism, Karen Barad’s Meeting the Universe Halfway, Donna Haraway’s Staying With the Trouble and others.

TBD is hosted by the research group Gender/Diversity in Informatics Systems and the department of the Soziologie der Diversität at the University of Kassel. First meeting this semester will take place on Tuesday, April 21, at 16:00h. !! Due to Corona Virus, the first meeting will be online. To join, please email Jennifer Stoll (jennifer.stoll [at] uni-kassel [dot] de) and Goda Klumbytė (goda.klumbyte [at] uni-kassel [dot] de).

Image credits: Ruha Benjamin; illustration: still/Arthead/Shutterstock; original cover design: Steve Leard; Polity Press

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