Dean’s Lecture Series: Spreadsheets for Racial Justice – Data Practices of Community Organizers

Event Start Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 12:00 pm

Event End Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 1:00 pm

Location: Virtual on Zoom

Roderic Crooks
Assistant Professor
Department of Informatics
University of California, Irvine

Community organizers create, aggregate, and visualize data in support of social movements and community-defined goals. As research in critical data studies, data activism, and human-computer interaction has argued, data can be a useful tool in terms of political action; however, this utility is attenuated by a number of factors specific to the lived conditions of Black and Latinx working-class communities. This talk reports preliminary results of ongoing interview-based research with community organizers, many of whom are engaged in forms of activism that seek to halt or change the use of data-intensive computation in law enforcement, criminal justice, financial services and other vital sites of public life. In this way, data achieves a curious duality: it provides a limited, provisional, and potentially powerful avenue of directing policy to movement goals, but it is also one of the means by which the state accomplishes the minoritization of working-class communities of color in the first place.

Roderic Crooks


Roderic Crooks is an assistant professor in the Department of Informatics at UC Irvine. His research examines how the use of digital technology by public institutions contributes to the minoritization of working-class communities of color. His current project explores how community organizers in working-class communities of color use data for activist projects, even as they dispute the proliferation of data-intensive technologies in education, law enforcement, financial services, and other vital sites of public life.




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