Who Counts?: A Symposium on Intersectional Data


Oct 22 4:30 – 6:30 pm
Center for Digital Humanities
Firestone Library, Floor B

Data is not neutral. The ways in which it is gathered, curated, analyzed, described, stored, and communicated all serve as opportunities for bias. “Who Counts?: A Symposium on Intersectional Data” offers a forum for uncovering and analyzing the ways in which data practices—particularly those that abstract and classify individuals—replicate existing inequalities and institutionalize bias. It focuses on gaps, blanks, and absences and asks what might be done to foster practices at every stage in the data lifecycle that engage and represent the full spectrum of society.

Professor Klein (Georgia Tech) will be speaking on "Data Feminism: On Counting and Power" and Onuoha (NYU, Olin College of Engineering), a Professor and Artist, will be responding. Professor Klein has provided an abstract:

"With their ability to depict hundreds, thousands, and sometimes even millions of relationships at a single glance, visualizations of data can dazzle, inform, and persuade. It is precisely this power that makes it worth asking: "Visualization by whom? For whom? In whose interest? Informed by whose values?" These are some of the questions that emerge from what we call data feminism, a way of thinking about data and its visualization that is informed by the past several decades of feminist critical thought. Data feminism prompts questions about how, for instance, challenges to the male/female binary can also help challenge other binary and hierarchical classification systems. It encourages us to ask how the concept of invisible labor can help to expose the invisible forms of labor associated with data work. And it points to how an understanding of affective and embodied knowledge can help to expand the notion of what constitutes data and what does not. Using visualization as a starting point, this talk works backwards through the data-processing pipeline in order to show how a feminist approach to thinking about data not only exposes how power and privilege presently operate in visualization work, but also suggests how different design principles can help to mitigate inequality and work towards justice."

This event is co-sponsored by the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Program in American Studies, and the Humanities Council.