Tag Archives: danah boyd

JustPublics@365 Hosted Conference in NY Observer

National Day of Unplugging lasted from sunset on Friday, March 1 to sunset on Saturday, March 2. But judging from the smartphones, Macbooks, and tablets at the third annual Theorizing the Web conference, no attendees took them up on the challenge.

This past weekend was the first time the conference has been held in New York City, at the CUNY Graduate Center near Herald Square.

Gatherings of this sort are typically insular, academic affairs, but organizers Nathan Jurgenson and PJ Rey, both sociology grad students at the University of Maryland-College Park, have attempted to broaden the tent to include bloggers, writers, and journalists of all stripes. “We wanted to create the sort of conference we would want to attend,” said Mr. Rey.

In the opening remarks on Saturday, Mr. Jurgenson elaborated, “We would go to theory conferences, and nobody wanted to talk about the Internet.” What ties the two worlds together, he added, is a concern with social justice—public intellectualism rather than institutional prestige.

Friday’s panel, “Free Speech For Whom?” was a good example of that hybrid approach.

Panelists included social media scholar Danah Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research better known as @zephoria; Gawker staff writer Adrian Chen, an editor at The New Inquiry; and University of North Carolina professor Zeynep Tufekci, a fellow at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy. CUNY Professor Jessie Daniels, author of Cyber Racism, moderated.

You can read more of Brendan O’Connor’s article in the NY Observer here.


Making Research More Public

I was delighted to serve as moderator of last night’s panel on “Free Speech for Whom?” with danah boyd (@zephoria), Adrian Chen (@AdrianChen), and Zeynep Tufekci (@techsoc) (more about which in another post).  At the end of the panel, I asked the panelists what one thing they might change if they were going to address the issue of hate speech and other forms of offensive trolling and abusive behavior online. The closing comments came from danah boyd who urged the audience of mostly academics, activists, and web-theorizers to “be more public with your work.”  As Dorothy (@deedottiedot) tweeted:


I mention this here because danah’s call to action for the audience last night speaks directly to the core idea behind JustPublics@365.  As people who are committed to social justice, we see a lot that’s wrong with the world from hate speech, to growing economic inequality, to criminalization of large segments of the population.  We also know that there is a good deal of academic research that could speak to those persistent inequalities and entrenched inequalities that open up new ways of thinking about old problems.  JustPublics@365 is all about connecting academic research to social justice efforts already happening, and using digital media to do just that.  “Be public with your work,” well said, danah boyd.