"Refusal" by Schinria Islam-Zhu

The Refusal Conference

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 to Friday, October 16, 2020

A virtual conference intended to 'meet the moment' by exploring organized technology refusal from historical and contemporary vantage points.

Sponsored by the Algorithmic Fairness and Opacity Group (AFOG)

The idea of rejecting or refusing technology runs against the grain of the celebrated role tech has generally occupied in the West, wedded closely to the notion of progress itself (Marx 1997). By this cultural logic, refusal is cast as unwise because it is anti-innovation or it is cast as impossible because technological developments are presumed to be inevitable. And yet, this view is contradicted in practice. Research directions narrow the pathways of tech development through disciplinary logics, market possibilities, and life experience. In industry, projects are frequently cancelled when they cannot generate a profit. This financial logic is a kind of value that motivates refusal. What other values currently guide refusal or could in the future? What forms of justification are useful? What practices make refusal possible? At this conference we lean into the idea that sometimes making a more just and equitable society means refusing certain technologies or certain applications of technology.

More information & complete schedule



If you have questions about this event, please contact Daniel Griffin.

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Daniel S. Griffin
Daniel Griffin
PhD Student Alumni (MIMS 2016)


If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting, CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) or information about mobility access in order to fully participate in this event, please contact Zhanara Nauruzbayeva Gallegos with as much advance notice as possible and at least 7–10 days in advance of the event.

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Zhanara Nauruzbayeva Gallegos
Academic Programs Coordinator
110A South Hall

Last updated:

October 12, 2020