Video, PodcastMay 29 2020

On Race and Technoculture

André Brock

Databite No. 132

André Brock discusses his book Distributed Blackness: African American Cybercultures with Data & Society’s Director of Research Sareeta Amrute. Brock’s book asks where Blackness manifests in the ideology of Western technoculture. Using critical technocultural discourse analysis (Brock, 2018), Afro-optimism, and libidinal economic theory, this talk employs Black Twitter as an exemplar of Black cyberculture: digital practice and artifacts informed by a Black aesthetic.

Technoculture is the American mythos (Dinerstein, 2006) and ideology; a belief system powering the coercive, political, and carceral relations between culture and technology. Once enslaved, historically disenfranchised, never deemed literate, Blackness is understood as the object of Western technical and civilizational practices. This critical intervention for internet research and science and technology studies (STS) reorients Western technoculture’s practices of “race-as- technology” (Chun 2009) to visualize Blackness as technological subjects rather than as “things.” Hence, Black technoculture.

This talk was recorded on May 29, 2020.



About the Speaker

Dr. André Brock is an associate professor of media studies at Georgia Tech. His scholarship examines racial representations in social media, video games, Black women and weblogs, whiteness, and technoculture, including innovative and groundbreaking research on Black Twitter. His first book, titled Distributed Blackness: African American Cybercultures (NYU Press, February 2020), theorizes Black everyday lives mediated by networked technologies.

About Databites

Data & Society’s “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.