July 14, 2024 Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Viña del Mar, Chile
SIGCIS 2024 System Update: Patches, Tactics, Responses The Special Interest Group for Computing, Information, and Society welcomes submissions to their 15th annual conference
KEYNOTE SPEAKER Anita Say Chan Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences Director, Community Data Clinic Provost Fellow, International Relations & Global Strategies University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Patches, central to functioning computer systems, may improve performance, mend security flaws, or debug code. Like a patch on torn clothing, these updates are by design tactical and temporary, a response to immediate vulnerabilities. Patchwork can be an important tool for resilience and repair when a system overhaul would be protracted and disruptive. Still, patchwork also presumes that problems are ‘bugs’ or ‘glitches,’ isolated issues that could and would be fixed on the go (Benjamin 2019, Kidwell 1998). As patches accumulate, their stitches and seams can themselves be a vulnerability, and their presence may distract from more transformative change.
The history of computing is permeated with patchwork. While many have critiqued an overreliance on quick technical fixes, patchwork can also be understood as a targeted resistance, a vital stopgap that directly addresses local failures and externalities within political, social, and economic systems when systemic forms of recourse are limited or unresponsive to the specific needs of local communities. As we gather for our first SIGCIS meeting in Latin America, Chile provides important historical lessons for how to think about architectures for technology and power, ones that move beyond surface-level responses to deeply revolutionary visions (Medina 2011). This history also reminds us of the constraints faced by historical actors who must work within a system even when seeking to update it.
“System Update: Patches, Tactics, Responses” invites scholars, museum and archive professionals, journalists, IT practitioners, artists, and independent researchers across the disciplinary spectrum to consider how the history of computing and information technology is entangled with political and economic histories in a variety of contexts, and especially to consider patchwork. In spaces of uneven infrastructural investment, environmental restoration, or resistance and reparations, what are the uses and limitations of quick fixes? How have patches been used as tactical responses to large-scale, deeply historical injustices? Who carries the burden of patchwork and who is left out of the update? How can historical analyses help us respond to colonial and environmentally-fraught computing practices in and beyond the Global South? What strategies might allow for system rebuilding rather than mere patching? 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 here.
SUBMISSION FORMAT AND PROCEDURES
SIGCIS welcomes proposals for individual 15-minute papers, 3-4 paper panel proposals, and non-traditional proposals such as roundtables, software demonstrations, art and music performances, hands-on workshops, etc.
Submissions are due January 28, 2024 via this form.
300-350 word abstract, summary, or prospectus (as appropriate for the submission type). Full panel proposals should additionally include 200-250 word abstracts for each paper that will be part of the panel.
100-150 word bios for each participant
If you are submitting a co-presented paper, pre-constituted panel, or other submission involving multiple participants, please only have one person submit for the group; contact and professional information for other participants can be included in the Bio submission section.