About the lecture
Black women are at the forefront of some of this century’s most important discussions about technology: trolling, online harassment, algorithmic bias and influencer culture. But Black women’s relationship with technology began long before the advent of Twitter or Instagram. In this talk, Catherine Knight Steele places Black women at the center of a discussion about technology. Steele considers how Black women’s specific institutional and social oppression—which began long before the advent of digital technology—has resulted in their continued strength with communication technology. The virtual beauty shop provides a metaphor and mechanism to interrogate a Black feminist technoculture wherein we no longer treat Black women’s use and manipulation of digital technologies as deviant, deficient or an aberration.
About the speaker
Catherine Knight Steele is an assistant professor of communication at the University of Maryland - College Park and was the founding director of the African American Digital Humanities Initiative. She now directs the Black Communication and Technology lab as a part of the Digital Inquiry, Speculation, Collaboration, & Optimism Network.
Her research focuses on race, gender and media with a specific emphasis on African American culture and discourse in traditional and new media. She examines representations of marginalized communities in the media and how groups resist oppression and practice joy using online technology to create spaces of community.
Catherine’s research has been published in such journals as Social Media + Society, Information, Communication and Society, and Feminist Media Studies. Her book Digital Black Feminism examines the relationship between Black women and technology as a centuries-long gendered and racial project in the U.S.