CANCELED: Critical Conversations: (Big) Data, Algorithms & Interfaces

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Date: March 26, 2020
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Location: Student Center Hilberry D - 210 | Map
5221 Gullen Mall
Detroit, MI 48202
Category: Lunch

RSVP is closed.


Critical Conversations: (Big) Data, Algorithms & Interfaces 

Decolonizing Data:
Ethnocentrism, Cultural Bias, and a New Technological Ethics
Conversation Facilitated by Jennifer Hart
March 26, 12pm - 1:30
Student Center, Hilberry D - 210

As products of the economic and technological cultures of the industrial revolution and the information age, we constantly make assumptions about technology.  Our daily conversations, popular culture, policy, and systems of educational training too often assume that technologies are abstracted, decontextualized set of processes and objects.  In this critical conversation, we discuss the contributions of humanities and social science fields have made to our understanding of how technology is defined and made meaningful in context.  If, as these fields argue, technology only takes on meaning through use, how does that shape the kinds of data we collect?  And what might that mean for the way that we approach technology? 

Jennifer Hart is an Associate Professor of History and affiliate faculty in the Department of Anthropology.  She teaches courses in African History, World History, Digital Humanities, History Communication, and Science and Technology Studies.  Her first book, Ghana on the Go:  African Mobility in the Age of Motor Transportation(Indiana University Press, 2016), traced the emergence of uniquely African cultures of automobility in Ghana over the course of the 20th century.  Her current research explores how the grassroots technological designs and innovations of urban residents have shaped the development of Ghana's capital city, Accra, over the course of the 20th century.  In taking these developments seriously, she argues that we can better understand African urban pasts and imagine more inclusive and innovative futures.  A scholar committed to rigorous interdisciplinarity, she also runs the digital humanities project Accra Wala, leads a biannual field school for Wayne State students, works with engineers, urban planners, architects, entrepreneurs, and artists in Detroit and Accra, and publishes frequently in public venues including Africa is a Country.

About the Event Series:

Critical Conversations is a series of intimate, catered luncheons exploring common research agendas and practices that focus on (big) data, algorithms, and interfaces at individual, community, and societal levels. Each luncheon covers a unique topic led by a Wayne State University (WSU) faculty currently conducting related research. Topics are intentionally open and broad to invite researchers from across campus to join and partake in the conversation. Lunch will be provided.

For more information visit



April 16: Fabrice Smieliauskas: Disparities in Genomic Medicine

Monthly luncheons will be hosted on Thursdays 12pm – 1:30pm. Lunch will be provided.


Critical Conversations is sponsored by the Provost’s Office.



Jessica Rajko




Academic staff, Current students, Faculty