KEYNOTE SPEAKER LILLY IRANI UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO Author of Chasing Innovation: Making Entrepreneurial Citizens in Modern India
Call for Papers
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA | October 11, 2020 Proposal Due Date: June 1, 2020
The Special Interest Group in Computing, Information, and Society [SIGCIS] welcomes submissions to their annual conference Download CFP PDF
KEYNOTE SPEAKER Lilly Irani Associate Professor Department of Communication | University of California, San Diego
A shovel strikes dirt in one country, and the Internet goes out in another. Data centers tap into local water supplies, fiber-optic cable follows the sightlines left by railroads and telegraph, the rare earth mineral trade makes headlines: somehow computing always needs more. The past ten years, in particular, have exhibited a perilous turn in the political economy of consumer computing, as software became service and programming became agile. A cyclical and accelerated mode of software development has produced a litany of products and services whose endless failures compromise users, workers, players, coders, and entire communities: civic facial recognition software, soft launch mobile games, wildly hackable Google Nests and Amazon Rings. Our products, networks, and services live in perpetual beta testing, forever promising “improved” features—just don’t ask when it will end, and don’t ask who’s doing the work. Under smooth screens and slick plastic, computing seems always under construction.
Yet this patched and partial nature of computing isn’t new. Computing is infrastructure, requiring its own forms of construction and maintenance throughout its history, whether tearing up roads, detangling spaghetti code, or hastily soldering circuits. These are metaphors for history too: what better encapsulates the sentiment of doing history, than the feeling that it will never be done? For historians of information and computing itself, such anxieties are particularly acute due to the very behaviors under examination: constant upgrades, absent documentation, planned obsolescence, the failure of historic hardware. For every line of code we save, hundreds, thousands, disappear. As we work to make sense of our contemporary conditions, how does the undone quality of history affect our ability to tell it?
The 2020 SIGCIS Conference invites scholars, museum and archive professionals, IT practitioners, artists, and independent researchers across the disciplinary spectrum to submit abstracts related to the historical conditions of computing. We are especially interested in (but not limited to) work that relates to the theme of construction, maintenance, and labor, broadly and imaginatively construed. Areas of engagement may include:
Maintenance and infrastructure in the history of computing and information tech
Historically-oriented approaches to the platform and gig economies
Colonial and imperial legacies of data and information
Computing as a site of labor struggle
Extraction, resources, and the environment
Computational models of resistance: obfuscation, open-source, hacking, going “off grid”
Government’s historic role in the construction of computing industries and infrastructure
Communitarian and utopian applications of computing
Modding, re-using, recycling, afterlives
Archival and curatorial practice
Oral history, memory, forgetting
The limits of historical representation
SIGCIS is especially welcoming of new directions in scholarship. We maintain an inclusive atmosphere for scholarly inquiry, supporting disciplinary interventions from beyond the traditional history of technology and promoting diversity in STEM. We welcome submissions from: the histories of technology, computing, information, and science; science and technology studies; oral history and archival studies; critical studies of big data and machine learning; studies of women, gender, and sexuality; studies of race, ethnicity, and postcoloniality; film, media, and game studies; software and code studies; network and internet histories; music, sound studies, and art history; and all other applicable domains. The annual SIGCIS Conference begins immediately after the regular annual meeting of our parent organization, the Society for the History of Technology [SHOT]. Information about the annual SHOT conference can be found at: https://www.historyoftechnology.org/
SIGCIS welcomes proposals for individual 15-20 minute papers, 4-paper panel proposals, and non-traditional proposals such as roundtables, software demonstrations, hands-on workshops, etc. For panels and other group proposals, priority will be given to those that exceed tokenism and embody SIGCIS's commitment to diversity
Submissions are due June 1, 2020. Applicants should download the application cover sheet posted above. All submissions will require:
a cover sheet
350-400 word abstract (full panel proposals should additionally include a 200-250 word panel abstract in addition to 3-4 paper abstracts)
1-page CV or resume
Please Note: Individuals already scheduled to participate on the main SHOT program are welcome to submit an additional proposal to our workshop, but should make sure that there is no overlap between the two presentations. However, SIGCIS may choose to give higher priority to submissions from those not already presenting at SHOT. Questions regarding submission procedure should be sent to Kera Allen [firstname.lastname@example.org].
The top financial priority of SIGCIS is the support of travel expenses for graduate students, visiting faculty without institutional travel support, and others who would be unable to attend the meeting without travel assistance. The submission cover sheet includes a box to check if you fall into one of these categories and would like to be considered for an award. These is no separate application form, though depending on the volume of requests and available resources we may need to contact you for further information before making a decision.
Any award offered is contingent on registering for and attending the SIGCIS Conference. Please note that SHOT does not classify the SIGCIS Conference as participation in the SHOT annual meeting, so acceptance by SIGCIS does not imply eligibility for the SHOT travel grant program.