Info 290

Data, Power, and Infrastructure

3 units

Course Description

Data and the algorithmic systems are ubiquitous in everyday life. These data encode our daily choices, actions, and behaviors, as well as our more persistent social identities. They also enrich the lives of some while limiting the life chances of others. In this way, data generated and collected about us form a type of information infrastructure: pervasive, hidden, and at times insidious. As technology and data-driven systems increasingly enter into our public, professional, and personal spheres, more of these worlds become encoded in data and result in shifts in the power relations within those worlds. In a word, data is a medium which reconfigures power.

In this seminar, we will engage readings around data, power, and infrastructure, drawing from a number of interdisciplinary academic, artistic, and activist traditions. We’ll discuss topics related to state projects of legibility and quantification; the genealogy of the modern data subject; the politics of classification systems; the surveillance of Blackness and the carceral logics of technology; administrative violence and trans and gender non-conforming identities; the invisible labor powering data-driven systems; and the resistances, obfuscations, and refusals to datafication and surveillance.

Last updated:

September 30, 2020