Databite 108: Gabriella Coleman

03.21.18 - 4:00 pm

Data & Society Research Institute
36 W 20th Street
New York, New York, 10011

Anonymous before and after Anonymous

Data & Society welcomes Gabriella Coleman, “the world’s foremost scholar on Anonymous,” for this talk about the pre-history of Anonymous and the post-history of the protest Anonymous collective in light of the far right’s historical trajectory and contemporary ascendancy. Coleman will be joined in conversation by Data & Society’s Media Manipulation/Platform Accountability Research Lead Joan Donovan.

Anonymous thundered into public consciousness in 2011 as activists of different stripes and backgrounds used the name to protest injustices home and abroad, hack companies searching for damning information to leak, and aid social movements unfurling across the globe. Following a series of arrests, the collective waned in visibility around 2014 and 2015 just as the far right started to be more present in the public sphere.

Coleman and Donovan will ask a series of questions about the admirable uses and abuses of anonymity among these entities, the particular processes of politicization that transformed each from proto-political swarms into full-fledged and intentional political movements, the role of 4chan in birthing and shaping the evolution of these movements, and the distinct tactics used by each to recruit members and reshape public conversations.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 21, 2018
WHERE: Data & Society

3:30pm Doors open.
4-5pm Public talk + Q&A.
5-7pm Reception: light snacks and drinks provided.

LIMN ISSUE NUMBER EIGHT: Hacks, Leaks, and Breaches, edited by E. Gabriella Coleman and Christopher M. Kelty and featuring work by Joan Donovan, will be available for sale after the talk.

While the event is SOLD OUT, you can watch the livestream here.

About the Speakers

Gabriella (Biella) Coleman is an anthropologist, academic, an author whose work focuses on hacker culture and online activism, particularly Anonymous. Her first book on Free Software, “Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking” has been published with Princeton University Press. Her latest book is, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, published by Verso. She currently holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific & Technological Literacy at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

After completing her PhD in Sociology and Science Studies at the University of California San Diego, Joan Donovan was a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics, where she researched white supremacists’ use of DNA ancestry tests, social movements, and technology. For several years, Joan has conducted action research with different networked social movements in order to map and improve the communication infrastructures built by protesters. In her role as a participant, she identifies information bottlenecks, decodes algorithmic behavior, and connects organizations with other like-minded networks. At Data & Society, she is the project lead on media manipulation.

About Data & Society

Data & Society’s Databites speaker series is geared toward engaging our network and the broader public on unresolved questions and timely topics of interest to the D&S community.

Questions about Databite No. 108? Contact Data & Society Research Institute at [email protected]

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