Hacking Diversity? Collectivity, Critique and Care in Open Technology Communities by Christina Dunbar-Hester, Ph.D



11 a.m., Sept. 23, 2022


Christina Dunbar-Hester is the author of Hacking Diversity: The Politics of Inclusion in Open Technology Cultures (Princeton U Press, 2020) and Low Power to the People: Pirates, Protest, and Politics in FM Radio Activism (MIT Press, 2014). She is a faculty member in the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, USA, and she holds a PhD in Science & Technology Studies from Cornell University. She is currently writing Oil Beach: How Toxic Infrastructure Threatens Life in the Ports of Los Angeles and Beyond, under contract with University of Chicago Press.


In recent years, conflicts over values and practices have emerged in hacking and free/libre and open source (FLOSS) communities, centering around diversity and inclusion. This talk features ethnographic research on feminist hacking and "diversity" efforts in mainstream hacking and FLOSS. It explores how participants work through thorny issues of inclusion in their practices with code, hardware, and one another. It illustrates how there is more at stake in "hacking diversity" than a politics of representation can capture and argues that how diversity advocates bound their interventions matters for hacking communities, for "tech" more broadly, and for critical analysis of technology-oriented cultures.