BKC Race and Media Working Group

The Race and Media Working Group

at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society

at Harvard University

To learn of upcoming events, please feel to subscribe to our Race and Media email list at https://cyber.harvard.edu/lists/info/racialdiversity

Thank you for your interest in the Race and Media Working Group at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University! Our activities include discussions on topics related to race, racism, and racial justice, especially tied to media and technology. These discussions are led by current BKC Fellows, invited guests, or important speakers. Some discussions are on readings shared in advance, while other discussions are on timely topics or innovative research.

Our events are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise stated, we meet in the conference room on the second floor of the Berkman Klein Center at 23 Everett Street, Suite 2, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to joining us in person, we invite you to participate remotely via phone.

If you have suggestions for readings, presenters, or activities, please email me at KornPublic@comcast.net (I am using this email address to reduce spam, but you will get a real reply from a Harvard-associated email server). Thank you!

We will update this page with upcoming events, as they are planned.

Below is a list of events we have held during the spring of 2019, in reverse chronological order.

Tuesday, April 23, 4:15-5 pm

BKC conference room on the second floor

The Race & Media Working Group @BKCHarvard features @JessieNYC

Group conversation about the book Tweetstorm: The Rise of the Far Right, the Mainstreaming of White Supremacy & How Tech & Media Helped

Presented by Jessie Daniels 

Jessie Daniels has spent the last 25 years calling attention to white supremacy. She is the author or editor of five books, among them White Lies and Cyber Racism, which offer a look at white supremacy before and after the rise of the popular Internet. She is a Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY. She will present on her latest book that she’s working on, Tweetstorm: The Rise of the Far Right, the Mainstreaming of White Supremacy, and How Tech and Media Helped.

Thursday, April 18, 12-12:45 pm

BKC conference room on the second floor

Group conversation about Whiteness as Property by Cheryl Harris

Discussion led by Jenny Korn

In her seminal 1993 article, legal scholar Cheryl Harris examines how Whiteness, initially constructed as a form of racial identity, evolved into a form of property, historically and presently, acknowledged and protected in American law.

Thursday, April 4, 12-12:45 pm

BKC conference room on the second floor

Group conversation about Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

Discussion led by Jenn Halen

Here is a link to provoke discussion: 

Thursday, March 28, 12-12:45 pm

BKC conference room on the second floor

By Funkythalia – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia

Group conversation on Encoding, Decoding by Stuart Hall

Developed by cultural studies scholar Stuart Hall in 1973, the Encoding/Decoding model offers a theoretical approach of how media messages are produced, disseminated, and interpreted.

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Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw

Discussion led by Jenny Korn

Coined by legal scholar Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1991, “intersectionality” is a way to help explain the oppression of African-American women and is part of critical race theory.

Tuesday, March 27, 12 pm

BKC conference room on the second floor

Group conversation on the film Black Panther

Discussion led by Jenny Korn

On Tuesday, March 27, 2018, twenty three of us participated in a discussion session on race, clothing, joy, representations, theatres, speculative technologies, and more in the movie Black Panther. Hosted by Jenny Korn, Ifeoma Ajunwa, and Latoya Peterson, the conversation included both in-person and remote individuals of the BKC community. As part of our dialogue, we have compiled various websites into multiple categories of reference. While this list is not comprehensive, we hope that it will be useful for promoting future discussion. For sharing the aformentioned links, our gratitude goes to, in alphabetical order by surname, Ifeoma Ajunwa, Sasha Costanza-Chock, Tressie Cottom, Kate Coyer, Jenny Korn, and Grace Mutung’u

Read more here on Medium.com

Monday, March 18, 6-8 pm

Supper at MIDA, 782 Tremont Street, Boston, (617) 936-3490

Boston Black Restaurant Challenge 

Inspired by the Boston Black Restaurant Challenge focused on supporting Black-owned restaurants, and building upon our earlier successful outing, Jasmine McNealy, Rebecca Tabasky, and Jenny Korn have organized a BKC supper out to eat at Black-owned MIDA, “a neighborhood restaurant serving Italian-influenced cuisine.”

Monday, March 18, 4:15-5 pm 

in the BKC conference room on the second floor

The Race and Media Working Group at @BKCHarvard is proud to feature BKC Fellow Sabelo Mhlambi @sabelonow presenting on ” #Technology and Development in an Anti-Black World” #RaceOnline

Technology and Development in an Anti-Black World

Presented by Sabelo Mhlambi

Sabelo Mhlambi is a computer scientist and researcher whose work focuses on the ethical implications of technology in the developing world, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, along with the creation of tools to make Artificial Intelligence more accessible and inclusive to underrepresented communities.

The ecosystem around technology mirrors the power imbalances in society.  Who builds the technology, has leadership roles in tech and gets funding is such that non-white communities are marginalized in the ecosystem and in the products that are built. To build more inclusive tech we must address white supremacy as an underlying theme in technology.

Sabelo Mhlambi recommends the book Socrates and Orunmila by Sophie Bosede Oluwole, an African philosopher & the first woman doctorate degree holder in philosophy in Nigeria.

Tuesday, March 12, 4:15-5 pm

in the BKC conference room on the second floor

@JasmineMcNealy presents to the Race & Media Working Group @BKCHarvard & interrogates parallels between rent parties in the 1920s & digital fundraising now #RaceOnline

Group conversation on Community as Infrastructure: Reconceptualizing the Rent Party For the Digital Age

Presented by Jasmine McNealy

Jasmine McNealy is an attorney and an assistant professor in the department of telecommunication at the University of Florida where she is an affiliate of the STEM Translational Research Center and the UF Informatics Institute.

Rent parties are, historically, thought of in the analogue; they are events aimed at assisting someone, traditionally African American in African American communities, remain in their homes. But the concept of the rent party can be mapped to the ways in which communities are coalescing to sustain and assist members using emerging technology. This study first examines the rent party phenomenon, then uses rent party characteristics as a framework for analyzing three examples of communities using technology as a means of sustainability: online fundraising, hashtag activism and awareness, and anti-surveillance literacy education.

Monday, March 4, 6 pm

Highland Creole Cuisine, 2 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

The Boston Black Restaurant Challenge 

Inspired by the Boston Black Restaurant Challenge focused on supporting Black-owned restaurants, Jasmine McNealy, Rebecca Tabasky, and Jenny Korn have organized a BKC supper out to eat at Black-owned restaurant, Highland Creole Cuisine.

Monday, March 4, 4-4:45 pm 

BKC conference room on the second floor

Group conversation on Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World by Meredith Broussard

Discussion led by Jenny Korn

The Race and Media Group brought Meredith Broussard to give a talk to the Race and Media Working Group in 2018. We will provide an overview of the chapter that focuses on technochauvinism, before launching into a discussion of all the things related to race and the digital. 

Tuesday, February 26, 4:15-5 pm

BKC conference room on the second floor

Group conversation on Camcorders to iPhones: How police retaliate against those who film them

Presented by Dragana Kaurin

A presentation on the patterns of abuse and harassment of the people who filmed the videos of Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, and Alton Sterling. We’ll hear stories from the people behind these videos and others, and patterns of doxxing, intimidation, physical violence, and false arrests. We’ll also look at how neighborhoods respond to these threats through community-based protection mechanisms.

Dragana Kaurin a human rights researcher and ethnographer, interested in role of tech in human rights documentation and advocacy. She’s the founder and executive director of Localization Lab, and a research fellow at the Berkman Klein Center. She writes about forced migration, refugee rights, human rights documentation, public interest tech, and digital security.

Tuesday, February 26, 3:15-4 pm

BKC conference room on the second floor

Group conversation on Jussie Smollett and race, intersectionality, racism, homophobia, and justice. 

Here are a few links to provoke our group discussion: