Computational Literacies Lab

Week 6 Slides

Critical Computational Literacies

Dr. Chris Proctor

LAI 686, Spring 2022

Week 6: March 8, 2022

Act I

Discuss concepts in Brock

Act II

Computing, race, and langauge


Intersectional perspectives on Margolis


  • Sorry I haven't gotten you feedback yet on tehcnobiographies and reading journals. They are coming.
  • Mid-course survey will be sent out this week. We'll debrief next week.
  • The week after next is spring break; no class meeting. I'll update the schedule.
  • Ethnographic fieldnotes due in a few weeks.

Next week's readings

  • diSessa (2001), Chapter 1.
  • Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, and Cain (1998), Chapter 2.

Act I


Goal: understand how digital practitioners filter their technology use through their cultural identity rather than through some preconceived “neutral” perspective. (p. 2)

whiteness as "general interest" (p. 7)

"How, then, do the internet and digital media mediate Blackness?" (p. 4)

The Negro Motorist Green Book was an annual guidebook for African-American drivers published between 1936 and 1966 (during the era of Jim Crow laws) as a guide to services and places relatively friendly to African-Americans.

"I should distinguish here between Black cyberculture and Black culture online. Research on Black culture online examines Black arts, literature, multimedia phenomena, artifacts, and audiences, whereas research on Black cyberculture interrogates an ontological perspective of what Blackness means for technology use and, occasionally, design." (p. 6)

"For example, this text’s definition of Blackness qua racial identity begins with a sociological concept of ethnic identity, where ethnicity is understood as the agreement between in-group and out-group members on what the in-group says, does, and believes." (p. 12)

Du Bois, in The Souls of Black Folk, introduced the concept of double consciousness. Du Bois defines double consciousness as the struggle African Americans face to remain true to black culture while at the same time conforming to the dominant white society.

"Networked online identity makes internal Black communal discussions visible to an audience that is primed to receive and respond to those struggles while also making them visible to an audience of out-group members who might not be directly addressed but are always present as signifiers. Networks, bandwidth, interfaces, hardware, and environment mediate social performances of online identity, but the ways in which racial identity affects those performances are understudied" (p. 13)

"An externality of Black digital practice—thanks to the codifying, broadcast, and textual qualities of networked digital media—is the uptake of Black digital content by out-group audiences. Accordingly, Black digital practice has become hypervisible to mainstream white culture and the world through positive, negative, and political performances of Black cultural aesthetics and, more recently, social media activism." (p. 17)

The warrant “identity as tension between self and social” supports a cultural formulation of networked online identity. Networks, bandwidth, interfaces, hardware, and environment mediate social performances of online identity, but how racial identity affects those social performances is understudied. The effects are bidirectional; an examination of cultural online performance must incorporate both the intended and unintended audience’s technologically and culturally mediated reception of that performance. p.20

"That is, while internet users bring offline ideologies to bear upon their digital discourses, the digital is the mediator, the enactment, and the performance of the relationship between Blackness and whiteness." p. 22

"Technoculture is often sutured to political economy to justify beliefs about technology as an avatar of productivity. This leads to evaluations of technological practice through progress, efficiency, or in more recent decades, ideological capture." (p. 30)

"Political-economic analyses foreclose the sensual, the erotic, or the deviant by arguing that they have no value in a rational worldview, but the denial of their “exchange value” does not negate their existence. How does one value love or anger?" (p. 32)

"Similarly, I argue for Black culture’s interiority in an online milieu, or as Yancy (2005) describes it, “In my everydayness, I live my body from an existential here. Wherever I go, I go embodied . . . in my phenomenological return, however, I am reduced to a point that is viewed. My here is experienced as a there” (p. 221). The epistemological awareness Yancy articulates—that Blackness is consciously and experientially reduced to an object from an agentive being through ideology—can be understood as Black interiority and thus serves as a warrant for my use of pathos." (p. 35)