Critical Digital Practice

Mapping a series of conversations about Critical Digital Practice for Duke PhD Lab/DHI/Libraries (2020-2021)

We’ll focus on how our tools, techniques, algorithms, search, and research are situated within and alongside systems of oppression (racism, sexism, ableism), both by design and by virtue of their being designed with/in those systems. We’ll interrogate how our tools are governing our actions and interactions as researchers, and how they are guiding our digital research insofar they are quietly influencing our projects. 

We’ll think together about how to tell the stories of our research and projects knowing they are co-authored by the tools we use, and we’ll think through methods for how those tools might be hacked, or refused, to manifest more just systems. 


  1. Algorithmic BIas & Antiracist Search/Research Practices: If our algorithms are racist, as recent work by Safiya Umoja Noble, Ruha Benjamin, Joy Buolamwini and others suggests, are our digital projects? How do we understand our scholarly relationship(s) with digital tools and technologies if our algorithms are racist/biased? 
  2. Data Intimacy: What are our relationship(s) to data? How are our projects producing relations? What is at stake in that production? What is intimate, or made intimate, about data?
  3. Design Justice: On Inclusion and Refusal, Feminist Data and Trans-affirming practices: How might we learn to do data otherwise? How can we re-position our relation to data-grounded technologies? How can we create data spaces and projects that aren’t just ‘inclusive’ but affirming? How do we refuse the status quo and redesign it differently?
  4. Dataveilance, Surveillance, Sousveillance: How do we understand our projects in relation to the uses and abuses of the technologies we use as tools of scholarship and inquiry? How is our data using us?
  5. Digital Curb Cuts and Cripping Technoscience
  6. Indigenous Data Practices: How have are digital makers designing cultural practices into their data practices?
  7. Data Bodies / Bodily Integrity and the Digital
  8. Designing for Imaginary Friends and Feral Atlas

The Library had adjacent topics on these

  1. Antiracist Citational Practices (with the Libraries)
  2. Harmful language statements (with the Libraries)
  3. Ethics of Digital Labor (with the Libraries)

Upcoming 2021-2022

  • Digital Materiality and Ecocritical Digital Studies (stemming directly from my own doctoral research) 
  • On (physical Digital) Infrastructure
  • Glitch/Glitch Feminism
  • Moral-izing Apps and Digital Sovereignty
  • The ‘Quantified Pandemic’
  • The ‘Somatechnics of Critical Design’
  • Smart Cities/Things
  • Seeing like/as: Seeing Like Infrastructure, As a Supply Chain
  • Care and Technoscience
  • Master/Slave: on Racist Computer/Engineering Terms