Upcoming Events

Thu. 01 September 2022 - Fri. 02 September 2022
Workshop "Agre After Techno-Utopianism"
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Workshop “Agre After Techno-Utopianism”
Thursday, 01. - 02 September 2022

It is hard to imagine digital culture without the work of Philip E. Agre. His description of the mutual dynamics of digital technology and ideology, so-called ‘grammars of action’ (Agre 1994), and the appeal for a critical technical practice (Agre 1997) have inspired scholars across media studies, HCI, and digital art and design for over 30 years. This workshop, ‘Agre After Techno-Utopianism’, seeks to evaluate his contribution to the study of technology, ideology, critique, and practice since the ‘techno-utopia’ of the early internet era ended, and more dystopic energies emerged.

The relevance of his work today is substantial. In Surveillance and Capture (Agre 1994), Agre saw the threats new workplace technologies posed that would mutate into examples of surveillance capitalism. In Real-Time Politics (Agre 2002), he wrote extensively on the downsides of digital cultures when the web was still considered a techno-utopia. In Pengi (Agre and Chapman 1987), Agre and David Chapman explored critiques of dominant AI conceptualizations. Together, these strands can be considered precursors to work, now commonplace, in software studies and integrated into computational methods for the study of digital culture. In Toward a Critical Technical Practice (Agre 1997), Agre famously offered a synthetic approach to studying technology, straddling the ‘craft work of design’ and the ‘reflexive work of critique’. In High Tech to Human Tech (Agre 1995) the political economy of digital culture became an even greater interest, debunking the ideology of ‘empowerment’ in newly ‘computerized’ workplaces. Even lesser-known work on the Networked University (Agre 2000) offered a prescient insight into the ‘promise and danger’ of remote learning.

Agre’s contribution to, as well as critique of, digital culture was just as significant. He ran the monthly mailing list The Network Observer (TNO) (1994-96) before starting the Red Rock Eater News Service (RRE) (1996-2001), offering regular insights into the ‘social and political aspects of computing and networking’. Not only did Agre critique the emerging digital world, but contributed to the counterculture within it. Since this period, we have experienced the downsides of networks, social media, and platforms, with AI and sensory media accelerating capitalism further. Bringing the founders of the nettime (1995-present) mailing list into conversation with the history of REE we want to think about how list cultures equally manifest as cultures of resistance. In this, we want to re-discover ideas that resisted tech-utopian narratives, and practices that challenged these ideologies.

Collectively, we want to deepen our understanding of Agre’s thinking and the significance of his work. From revisiting well-known texts to rediscovering less-popular work, and exploring the exciting interconnections between various disciplines and forms of ‘net activism’ that engaged with Agre’s work from computational science to sociology, and from work in political economy to across the wider arts and humanities. Within the context of the contemporary platform condition we want to collectively reflect on the relevance, as well as limitations, of his work; continuing to debunk cyber utopias, whilst disassociating and rearticulating narratives of power.

 

CfP for the workshop "Agre After Techno-Utopianism"


For this purpose, we invite contributions to a two-day workshop, 1-2 September 2022 where workshop participants will dive into the work of Agre through different formats: conversations, exegese, and critiques. In this, we are equally interested in exploring his role in shaping digital culture as we are in his academic work.

We invite contributions that engage with Agre's work in a comprehensive manner. We want to develop a foundation for how to read and work with Agre. We especially welcome contributions that seek to apply, and develop, Agre’s key concepts. However, the workshop will also aim to make sense of how Agre's thought has itself developed, from his early experiments with Pengi to the political economy of the internet. How, for instance, did his work on Pengi shape the idea of critical technical practice? What kinds of critique does Interactionism offer for the digital?

While the written contributions are designed to support a thorough examination of Agre's thinking, we will provide ample space for discussion. Here Agre can be confronted with contemporary questions. How, for instance, to think about ‘data practices’, sensor media or automation along with Agre?

Our second concern is to discuss the possibilities and practical implications of a collective inventory or archive of Agre’s work, exploring methods of documenting the network that developed around the RRE in the US and Europe and consider how it might be preserved and/or re-presented. We believe his heterogenous interventions deserve to be organized in a way that is respectful to the media specificity and materiality of early net critique, as well as being made accessible to the broader public.

As the location of the Harold Garfinkel archive, and a pioneer in the study of media practice, ethnomethodology, early internet studies, and the study of infrastructure, SFB1187 Media of Cooperation at the University of Siegen is well suited to host this workshop.

 

Format: 2-day discussion workshop with conversation formats and interviews as well as dedicated discussions of contributions. Papers will be circulated in advance.

Please submit an extended abstract (1000 words)

Deadline for submissions: 10 May 2022

Suggested (non-exhaustive) topics. How did Agre develop critiques around the following issues:

  • Web communities and cultures (mailing lists, social media, tactics, resistance)
  • Connectivity and networks (wired-ness, de/centralization, infrastructure)
  • Capital-isms and technology (surveillance, networked, corporate, managerial)
  • Work and the workplace (tasks, practices, organizational forms)
  • Meaning of work (empowerment, the entrepreneurial self)
  • Surveillance and privacy (grammars of action, capture model)
  • Ethnomethods (accountability, activity, plans)
  • Activity Theory (L. S. Vygotsky) and Interactionism as modes of critique
  • Medium specificity (devices, platforms, AI)
  • Critical Technical Practice (CTP), design and methodology (critique, tech ethics, APIs)
  • Archives and histories (interactivity, accessibility, documentation)
  • Other topics open to ‘Agre-ian’ analysis (e.g. environment, ecology, race)

We welcome contributions from former colleagues and contemporary witnesses. We also hope to hear various personal accounts of these early days of the internet: the ideas, visions, and hopes that shaped, and have been reshaped, by these early developments.

Please send submissions to Tatjana Seitz: tatjana.seitz@uni-siegen.de

 

Organizers: Tatjana Seitz, Sam Hind, Carolin Gerlitz, Sebastian Gießmann

 

Works:

Agre P.E. and Chapman D (1987) Pengi: An implementation of a theory of activity. AAAAI-87 Proceedings 268–272.

Agre P.E. (1994) Surveillance and capture: Two models of privacy. The Information Society: An International Journal 10 (2): 101–127.

Agre P.E. (1995) From high tech to human tech: Empowerment, measurement, and social studies of computing. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) 3 (1): 167–195.

Agre P.E. (1997) Toward a critical technical practice: Lessons learned in trying to reform AI. In Bowker GC, Leigh Star S, Turner W and Gasser L (eds) Bridging the Great Divide: Social Science, Technical Systems, and Cooperative Work. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 131–158.

Agre P.E. (2000) Infrastructure and institutional change in the networked university. Information, Communication & Society 3 (4): 494–507.

Agre P.E. (2002) Real-Time Politics: The Internet and the Political Process, The Information Society, 18(5), pp. 311–331.

Web resources:

The Network Observer: https://pages.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/agre/tno.html

Red Rock Eater News Service (RRE): https://pages.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/agre/

 

Venue

Siegen (on site/hybrid)
Thu. 08 September 2022 - Fri. 09 September 2022
Conference "Health Data Practices"
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Conference “Health Data Practices”
Thursday, 08. - 09 September 2022

Keynote Speaker, 8 Sept 2022, 11 am: Deborah Lupton

Further information will follow.

Fri. 09 September 2022, 09:30 - 16:30
Qualitative Data Analysis with MAXQDA
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Qualitative Data Analysis with MAXQDA
09 September 2022, 09:30 - 16:30

In this interactive workshop we will complete several tasks to learn the basic procedures of using MAXQDA, a software that is commonly used for analyzing qualitative data such as interviews, protocols, reports or fieldnotes. The software’s core function is to structure text or other data by applying codes/labels. This allows for a structured and transparent analysis, with easy access to the quantification of results. In this workshop we will simulate a one-document research project to become familiar with the basic steps along the research chain.

With Dr. Daniel Müller (House of Young Talents)

Organized by the House of Young Talents exclusively for SFB 1187 members

The Workshop will take place online and is held in English.

Please sign up here.

Mon. 19 September 2022 - Wed. 21 September 2022
Annual Conference 2022 "Testing in the Wild"
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Annual Conference 2022 “Testing in the Wild”
Monday, 19. - 21 September 2022

more information will follow

website

Thu. 06 October 2022 - Fri. 07 October 2022
Hilfskraft im Forschungsverbund: Serviceorientierte Kommunikation und Veranstaltungsmanagement
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Hilfskraft im Forschungsverbund: Serviceorientierte Kommunikation und Veranstaltungsmanagement
Thursday, 06. - 07 October 2022

Thursday, 06.10.2022, 9.30-16.00 o'clock
Friday, 07.10.2022, 9.30-13.00 o'clock

More detailed information will follow

With Dr. Daniel Müller (House of Young Talents) exklusiv für Hilfskräfte (SHK, WHB und WHK) des SFB 1187

Der Workshop will take place in Siegen (AR Campus) and will be held in German.

We kindly ask for registration by 22 September 2022 here.

Tue. 18 October 2022
Women’s Networking Day: „Spread Your Research“ – Digital self-presentation and visibility in academia (incl. photo shoot))
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Women’s Networking Day: „Spread Your Research“ – Digital self-presentation and visibility in academia
18 October 2022

Following the motto “Spread Your Research”, the Women's Networking Day 2022 addresses the possibilities of digital self-presentation and visibility in academia. This year’s Women’s Networking Day brings early career researchers of all career stages (female students, PhD students and postdocs) together to open networking opportunities and to provide career-relevant topics and skills. The program offers a keynote and workshops with experts from different fields, a photo shoot and spaces to network and share experiences. In addition to external experts, university partners and senior colleagues in positions relevant to the young female researchers are also invited in order to share “in-house” information and encourage networking opportunities.

P R O G R A M M

10:00 - 12:00 Uhr: Welcome 

Dr. Rebecca Weber (Refe­ren­tin für geschlech­ter­ge­rechte Karriere)
Keynote by Chris­ti­ane Attig (Chem­nitz): “Science Comminication & Podcasting (In-House Networking)” (in English)

12:00 - 13:00 Uhr: Lunch

13:30 - 14:15 Uhr: In-House Networ­king with Dr. Susanne Padberg / Alumni-Services

14:30 - 17:30 Uhr: Work­shop-Sessi­ons, Online

Work­shop I (in English) - Katja Wolter (Stein­beis Insti­tut): "My visi­bi­lity as a scien­ti­fic expert for recrui­ters on Linke­dIn & Rese­a­r­ch­Gate"

Work­shop II (in German) - Susanne Geu: "Tweet your science – Twit­ter in der Wissen­schaft"

 

Participants (only members of the CRC 1187) also have the opportunity to take part in a photo shoot by Ekki Raff the following day (19 Oct, 10am-4pm, AH-A 228)

 

This year’s Women Networking Day is a cooperation of the two Collaborative Research Centers and 1187 “Media of Cooperation” and 1472 “Transformations of the Popular”.

Intended group: Female employees of all status groups of CRC 1187 & 1472 

Please sign up here and add in the comment section at which workshop you want participate

Venue

Campus Herrengarten
AH-A 2917/18 und online
Herrengarten 3
Siegen
Wed. 19 October 2022, 10:00 - 16:00
Women’s Networking Day: Photo shoot with Ekki Raff
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Women’s Networking Day: Photo shoot with Ekki Raff
19 October 2022, 10:00 - 16:00

Following the motto “Spread Your Research”, the Women's Networking Day 2022 addresses the possibilities of digital self-presentation and visibility in academia. This year’s Women’s Networking Day brings early career researchers of all career stages (female students, PhD students and postdocs) together to open networking opportunities and to provide career-relevant topics and skills.

This year’s Women Networking Day is a cooperation of the two Collaborative Research Centers and 1187 “Media of Cooperation” and 1472 “Transformations of the Popular”.

Participants (only members of the CRC 1187) have the opportunity to take part in a photo shoot with Ekki Raff

Please sign up here

Venue

Campus Herrengarten
AH-A 228
Herrengarten 3
Thu. 03 November 2022
Workshop “Good Scientific Practice” - organized by the House of Young Talents
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Workshop “Good Scientific Practice” – organized by the House of Young Talents
03 November 2022

More detailed information will follow.

Organized by the House of Young Talents

The Workshop will take place in Siegen and is held in English.

7 places are reserved for CRC members till 2 weeks before the workshop

Intended group: all docs and postdocs

Please sign up here.

Venue

Campus AR
tba
Adolf-Reichwein-Str. 2
Mon. 07 November 2022, 10 am - 4 pm
Workshop: „Financial Empowerment: Planning financial independence strategically“ (Dr. Birgit Happel)
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Workshop: „Financial Empowerment: Planning financial independence strategically“ (Dr. Birgit Happel)
07 November 2022, 10 am - 4 pm

Workshop with Dr. Birgit Happel (geldbiografien.de)
Target group: researchers and employees of CRC 1187 & 1472 

More information will follow.


A cooperation of CRC 1187 & 1472

 

Sign up here

Tue. 22 November 2022, 14:00 - 15:45
Workshop “Insider’s Guide to the German Academic System“ - organized by the House of Young Talents
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Workshop “Insider’s Guide to the German Academic System“ – organized by the House of Young Talents
22 November 2022, 14:00 - 15:45

More information will follow

With Dr. Nina Fenn

Organized by the House of Young Talents with 7 places reserved for CRC members till 2 weeks before the workshop

Intended group: all docs & postdocs of the SFB 1187

The Workshop will take place online and is held in English.

Please sign up here

Fri. 25 November 2022, 09:30 - 16:30
Publication Strategies in the Humanities and Social Science (Docs)
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Publication Strategies in the Humanities and Social Science (Docs)
25 November 2022, 09:30 - 16:30

The workshop addresses German and international publication strategies of different disciplines and the review of ‘in progress’ texts by peers. We will focus specifically on the various publication options for the doctoral thesis. In addition, the workshop will deal with alternative publication formats such as blogs and the challenges of interdisciplinary publications which are common in the context of collaborative research centers. Accordingly, the workshop addresses the following topics:

  • Publishing in a team (e.g. with PI and possibly other colleagues of the subproject) or in single authorship
  • planning a strategy (implementation) individually or in a team (e.g. subproject)
  • Publication strategy and career planning: how to occupy research area(s)
  • German and/or English?
  • Monograph(s) and contributions to/editing of edited volumes
  • Journals (incl. thematic issues/guest editorships) and peer review as quality measures and visibility instruments
  • Visibility metrics (citation frequency, impact factors, rankings, indexing, other reputation criteria)
  • Open Access (at the University of Siegen) and Predatory Journals
  • Working papers as a form of pre-publication
  • Reverse engineering to improve opportunities for prestigious journals for maximum visibility

Following the workshop, individual consultations on publication strategies can be arranged.

Organized by the House of Young Talents exclusively for MGK members

The Workshop will take place online and is held in English.

Please sign up here.

Thu. 01 December 2022
International PhD Reception - organized by the House of Young Talents
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International PhD Reception – organized by the House of Young Talents
01 December 2022

More detailed information will follow.

Organized by the House of Young Talents

The Reception will take place in Siegen and is held in English.

Thu. 08 December 2022 - Fri. 09 December 2022
Female Leadership in Science - organized by the Women Career Service
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Female Leadership in Science – organized by the Women Career Service
Thursday, 08. - 09 December 2022

Thursday, 08.12.2022, 9-16 o'clock
Friday, 09.12.2022, 9-14 o'clock

Coach: Dr.in Mareike Menne

This workshop enables an intensive examination of all topics that are relevant for a strategic positioning as a female leader in the university context. You will first develop principles of academic and female leadership from your work experience, which will then serve as a basis for practice transfers, for which you are invited to bring your own cases and questions. Following levels of leadership will be addressed: people leadership (e.g. goal and success definitions, team building, conflicts, motivation, individual biases), organizational leadership (e.g. design of interfaces between administration and work area, internal/external interlacing, formal basics of leadership action, structural biases), and self-leadership (e.g. personal leadership style, ethics and values, resilience, role clarity and personal growth). Within the workshop, you will get the chance to alternate between impulses and exchange, between plenary and group work. 

This workshop addresses female researchers in postdoc positions, junior professorships and leaders of junior research groups.

The workshop will take place in Siegen and is held in English.

Please sign up here.

 

Venue

Campus AR, Gebäude UB
AR-UB 114
Adolf-Reichwein-Str. 2
Mon. 16 January 2023 - Mon. 23 January 2023
Introduction to Diversity in Research: Reflecting Power Relations and your own Position in the Research Field
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Introduction to Diversity in Research: Reflecting Power Relations and your own Position in the Research Field
Monday, 16. - 23 January 2023, 9:30 - 13:00

Lead by Constantina Rokos, M.A., Social Anthropologist

Research and associated research fields involve numerous diversity-facets that pose challenges. Thus, science and knowledge creation are based on the assumption that researchers move appropriately and reflectively within the research fields. Researchers must be consequently trained to reflect on their position and power relations in their field to conduct research appropriately.

Constantina Rokos, M.A. is a research fellow and decentralized equal opportunity officer at the Münster School of Business (FH Münster). She specializes in intercultural competences and DEI from an educational and research perspective. A self-reflexive and ethnological approach characterizes her work.

This workshop serves as a first approach to self-reflective and diversity-sensitive discussions to recognize one's practice and the diversity of one's field and to develop appropriate research behaviors.

The Workshop is held in English and will take place online on two days

Monday, 16 Jan 9.30-13.00
Monday, 13 Jan 9.30 - 13.00

Intended group: all members (m, f, d) of the SFB 1187 

Please sign up here

Fri. 03 February 2023, 09:30 - 16:30
Writing Workshop for Docs: Writing Flow Techniques
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Writing Workshop for Docs: Writing Flow Techniques
03 February 2023, 09:30 - 16:30

The writing workshop addresses the practice of academic writing. We will deal with writing strategies, writer's block, argumentation structures and rhetoric of different scientific formats (journal articles, anthology contributions, reviews, monographs), and rules of good scientific practice, such as recognizing and avoiding scientific plagiarism. Additionally, the workshop will provide basic skills in time and project management which will help you in organizing your writing process.

Organized by the House of Young Talents exclusively for MGK members

Intended group: all docs & postdocs of the SFB 1187

The Workshop will take place online and is held in English.

Please sign up here.

Mon. 06 February 2023, 09:30 - 16:30
Publication Strategies in the Humanities and Social Science (Postdocs)
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Publication Strategies in the Humanities and Social Science (Postdocs)
06 February 2023, 09:30 - 16:30

The workshop will address German and international publication strategies of different disciplines within the Humanities and Social Science discuss the review of ‘in progress’ texts by peers. We will focus specifically on the various publication options for the second qualification thesis (e.g. habilitation). In addition, the workshop will deal with alternative publication formats such as blogs and the challenges of interdisciplinary publications which are common in the context of collaborative research centers. Accordingly, the workshop addresses the following topics:

  • Publishing in a team (e.g. with PI and possibly other colleagues of the subproject) or in single authorship
  • planning a strategy (implementation) individually or in a team (e.g. subproject)
  • Publication strategy and career planning: how to occupy research area(s)
  • German and/or English?
  • Monograph(s) and contributions to/editing of edited volumes
  • Journals (incl. thematic issues/guest editorships) and peer review as quality measures and visibility instruments
  • Visibility metrics (citation frequency, impact factors, rankings, indexing, other reputation criteria)
  • Open Access (at the University of Siegen) and Predatory Journals
  • Working papers as a form of pre-publication
  • Reverse engineering to improve opportunities for prestigious journals for maximum visibility

Following the workshop, individual consultations on publication strategies can be arranged.

Organized by the House of Young Talents exclusively for SFB 1187 members

The Workshop will take place online and is held in English.

Intended group: all postdocs of the SFB 1187 

Please sign up here.

Past Events

Thu. 14 July 2022 - Fri. 15 July 2022
Workshop "Taking up the Challenge" (A03)
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Thursday, 14. - 15 July 2022, 11:00 - 17:00
‘Taking up the Challenge’ Workshop
 
Challenges competitions and prizes have long been used to advance or accelerate technological innovation. The world of robotics and automation is no different: the DARPAGrand Challenge first hosted in 2004 kick-started the development of autonomous vehicles. Yet as AI research itself has proliferated moving away from state-funded programmes to all manner of start-up research centre and big tech-driven initiatives the practice of hosting challenges has only intensified.
This workshop examines the phenomenon of such challenges as they seek to stimulate and structure AI autonomous vehicle and machine vision research in the field. The workshop considers the value of challenges to scientific and technological problem-solving and to the pursuit of scientific and technological solutions. It also aims to explore the value of challenges both to challenge organizers and challenge participants: why host them? Why participate? In this the workshop seeks to examine the political economy of AI research and how the terms of participation in such challenges are carefully prescribed by organizers. Challenges not only alert hosts to emerging talent but help in establishing feeder networks often constituting a successful ‘conveyor belt’ of computer scientists machine vision researchers and software engineers for organizers. Likewise in distributing and externalizing specific AI tasks challenges shrink associated labour costs of performing AI work to nominal levels. In participating however ordinarily young or novice researchers are offered the opportunity to tackle ‘cutting-edge’ industry problems with the promise of attracting the attention of a big tech company at the end.
Objective
  • Examine machine vision ‘challenges’ in autonomous vehicle research
  • Advance contemporary work on the political economy of AI in respect to how datamachine-learning cloud infrastructures computation highly-skilled labour start-ups and big tech firms contribute to the development of AI.
Organized by project A03 (Sam Hind, Max Kanderske, and Fernando van der Vlist)
 
The workshop will run from July 14-15 2022 in Siegen and online. It is intended to be an internal workshop and we invite participants from across SFB1187. External participants are welcome by invitation (please email sam.hind@uni-siegen.de).
Wed. 13 July 2022, 10:00 -11:30 am
Werkstatt Medienpraxistheorie – "Network Map Making Workshop" – Workshop with Mathieu Jacomy (Aalborg University)
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13 July 2022, 10:00 -11:30 am

This workshop about visual network analysis is open to all publics, with or without experience with the discipline. We will focus on the mechanics of reading a network map, and from there understand how to build them so that they are useful in practice. The workshop is mostly tool-agnostic, but we will use Gephi, a free network visualization tool, as our tool of choice, for those comfortable with it. We will also address the issue of building a narrative about a network, and how to mobilize the multiple layers of mediation involved, and notably the layout algorithm. Finally, we will engage with (and discuss) Gephisto, an experimental tool designed to produce network maps in one click (but with a catch!). This workshop will make it clear what to expect and not to expect of network maps, how to make them well, how to interpret them properly, and how to approach visual network analysis as an operational practice.

 

Mathieu Jacomy is post-doc at the TANT Lab in Copenhagen, and previously was research engineer at the Sciences Po médialab in Paris. Jacomy tweets at @jacomyma

Venue

Herrengarten 3, AH-A 217/18
Wed. 13 July 2022, 3:30 - 5 pm
Lecture Series: “Testing Infrastructures” – Martin Tironi (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile): "Prototyping For More Than Human Futures"
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13 July 2022, 3:30 - 5 pm

"Prototyping For More Than Human Futures"

More information on the talk will follow.

On the lecture series: "Testing Infrastructures"

From QR codes used to verify COVID-19 vaccination status’ to cloud software used to train machine learning models, infrastructures of testing are proliferating. Whilst the infrastructures themselves come in different forms - from ‘off the shelf’ systems to tailor-made technologies - they all have a capacity to generate specific ‘test situations’ involving an array of different actors from ‘ghost’ workers to python scripts. An increasing reliance on digital platforms, protocols, tools, and procedures has led to a redistribution of testing itself: not just where testing takes place, and who performs the testing, but who has access to, and control over, mechanisms for testing, test protocols and of course, test results. In this lecture series, we focus on the practices making up the test infrastructures and explore different perspectives to make sense of the realities enacted by testing.

We invite our lecture guests to ask: how do testing infrastructures engender the construction of specific testing routines and practices? What kinds of affective experiences, reactions, and responses are generated through testing? Here we invite reflection on how testing infrastructures oft fade into the background, pointing to a tapestry of maintenance and repair practices. Lastly, what are the ways in which we can evaluate the role of digital infrastructures more broadly? This includes the challenge of what novel test methods can be developed and actually ‘tested’ to gain a better understanding of how infrastructures work. Our exploration of test practices in this context is interwoven with the search for test media that bind actors together or create barriers; that enable cooperation or declare it impossible.

Possible questions include (but are not limited to):

  • What are the implications of testing in different social situations and in what moments do they come to the fore? 
  • When and where are tests conducted—for whom and what, through whom and what, and by whom and what actors?
  • What are digital practices for/of testing and with what types of data do testing infrastructures support?
  • What other practices spawn from distributed testing? Think of practices of passing and obfuscation within nested situations of testing and the outsourcing of ‘validation work’ as constructions that govern.
  • What methodological strategies are there to make test procedures and their foundations transparent?
  • Can different politics of testing be distinguished? If so, where and under what conditions?
  • Can we demarcate between embodied testing and disembodied testing?

 

Guests are welcome to register via Mail with 'Send an E-mail'

Venue

Online-Event
Wed. 13 July 2022, 2:15 - 3:30 pm
Lecture Series: "Testing Infrastructures" – Anat Ben-David (Open University of Israel): "Testing compliance: Israel‘s repurposing of Secret Services surveillance technologies for Covid-19 Contact Tracing in 2020"
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13 July 2022, 2:15 - 3:30 pm

"Testing compliance: Israel’s repurposing of Secret Services surveillance technologies for Covid-19 Contact Tracing in 2020"

With the rapid unfolding of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Israel was one of the first states outside East Asia to impose involuntary surveillance measures to combat the virus. The government utilized the country’s permanent state of exception to bypass the parliament and deploy a hitherto classified anti-terrorism tool developed by its internal security service (Shin Bet) to track the location of COVID-19 patients and notify citizens who have been near an identified patient to self-quarantine. This talk explores the unprecedented repurposing of an anti-terrorism tool for addressing a civic health crisis through the lens of testing infrastructures. It argues that the mass infrastructural test was deployed as an a priori policy to generate compliance through securitization. This policy had to be justified at any price, including publishing compromised public data that hid the actual low-efficiency rates of Shin-Bet’s contact tracing.

The talk explores how data essentialism and securitization were used for solidifying the underlying infrastructural surveillance that made the Corona-tracking possible (Gekker & Hind, 2019). Then, following critique about the emergence of data gaps and inequalities in access to data during the pandemic in the global south (Milan and Treré 2020), I further portray gaps in the quality, quantity, and accessibility of two types of government pandemic data: data about the people – the secretive, mass-surveillance data used for infrastructural testing; and data for the people – the public, low-quality, incomputable reports for justifying mass surveillance. Finally, I illustrate these gaps by analyzing four infrastructural dataveillance practices used by the Israeli government in 2020: the repurposing of the Shin-Bet’s anti-terrorism infrastructure for contact tracing; an open-source contact tracing app; the “national index” dashboard that measured city-level compliance with lockdowns, created for the government by behavioral economist Dan Ariely; and the “Philosopher’s Stone” - a plan promoted by the Ministry of Defense to team up with the infamous espionage company NSO, to build an algorithmic system that would rank citizens by a ‘contagiousness risk factor.’

Anat Ben-David is an associate professor in the department of Sociology, Political Science and Communication at the Open University of Israel. She is co-founder of the Open University's Open Media and Information Lab (OMILab). Her primary research areas are Web history and web archives, Digital STS, critical data studies, and digital and computational methods for Web research.

On the lecture series: "Testing Infrastructures"

From QR codes used to verify COVID-19 vaccination status’ to cloud software used to train machine learning models, infrastructures of testing are proliferating. Whilst the infrastructures themselves come in different forms - from ‘off the shelf’ systems to tailor-made technologies - they all have a capacity to generate specific ‘test situations’ involving an array of different actors from ‘ghost’ workers to python scripts. An increasing reliance on digital platforms, protocols, tools, and procedures has led to a redistribution of testing itself: not just where testing takes place, and who performs the testing, but who has access to, and control over, mechanisms for testing, test protocols and of course, test results. In this lecture series, we focus on the practices making up the test infrastructures and explore different perspectives to make sense of the realities enacted by testing.

We invite our lecture guests to ask: how do testing infrastructures engender the construction of specific testing routines and practices? What kinds of affective experiences, reactions, and responses are generated through testing? Here we invite reflection on how testing infrastructures oft fade into the background, pointing to a tapestry of maintenance and repair practices. Lastly, what are the ways in which we can evaluate the role of digital infrastructures more broadly? This includes the challenge of what novel test methods can be developed and actually ‘tested’ to gain a better understanding of how infrastructures work. Our exploration of test practices in this context is interwoven with the search for test media that bind actors together or create barriers; that enable cooperation or declare it impossible.

Possible questions include (but are not limited to):

  • What are the implications of testing in different social situations and in what moments do they come to the fore? 
  • When and where are tests conducted—for whom and what, through whom and what, and by whom and what actors?
  • What are digital practices for/of testing and with what types of data do testing infrastructures support?
  • What other practices spawn from distributed testing? Think of practices of passing and obfuscation within nested situations of testing and the outsourcing of ‘validation work’ as constructions that govern.
  • What methodological strategies are there to make test procedures and their foundations transparent?
  • Can different politics of testing be distinguished? If so, where and under what conditions?
  • Can we demarcate between embodied testing and disembodied testing?

 

Guests are welcome to register via Mail with 'Send an E-mail'

Venue

Room AH-A 217/18 of Herrengarten 3, 57072 Siegen
Tue. 12 July 2022, 12:15 - 1:45 pm
Gender & Diversity Lunch with Dr. Simone Pfeifer
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12 July 2022, 12:15 - 1:45 pm

Gender & Diversity with Dr. Simone Pfeifer (Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz / University of Cologne)

Dr. Simone Pfeifer currently works as a postdoctoral researcher in the DFG Research Training Group 2661: „anschließen-ausschließen - Cultural Dynamics Beyond Globalized Networks“ at the University of Cologne. At the same time she is an associate senior research fellow in the research project “Jihadism on the Internet: Images and Videos, their Appropriation and Dissemination” at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. She holds MAs in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Cologne and in Visual Anthropology from the University of Manchester. She completed her PhD at the University of Cologne with a dissertation on the social media practices and transnational everyday lives of Senegalese in Berlin and Dakar. As scientific researcher she was part of the Graduate School "Locating Media". Simone will talk about her experiences in collaborative research projects, her transition to the postdoc phase, and - as a mother of two children - reconciling family and science.

 

About the series:

The “Gender & Diversity Lunch” series invites all members of the CRC “Media of Cooperation” and “Transformations of the Popular” to an exchange on current topics and issues in the fields of gender equality, diversity and the compatibility of family and science. The goal of the series is to facilitate networking between CRC members and individuals from different fields and with different biographical experiences. A guest on a particular topic is invited to each event. The series is held at lunchtime, including a snack. Suggestions for topics and guests are always welcome.

 

A collaborative format of CRC 1187 & 1472 on equal opportunities

 

Registration via Juliane Biewald (juliane.biewald@student.uni-siegen.de)

Venue

Herrengarten 3, AH-A 228