Making Sense of the Presidential Election

In an effort to make sense of the historic 2016 presidential election, you may want to check out the wonderful resources curated by historians N.D.B. Connolly and Keisha N. Blain, presented as Trump Syllabus 2.0 (because the Chronicle of HIgher Education had published a Trump Syllabus that almost entirely omitted discussion of race, racism, and racial politics). The material below is from the introduction to the syllabus:

This course, assembled by historians N. D. B. Connolly and Keisha N. Blain, includes suggested readings and other resources from more than one hundred scholars in a variety of disciplines. The course explores Donald Trump’s rise as a product of the American lineage of racism, sexism, nativism, and imperialism. It offers an introduction to the deep currents of American political culture that produced what many simply call “Trumpism”: personal and political gain marred by intolerance, derived from wealth, and rooted in the history of segregation, sexism, and exploitation.

Photograph by Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Photograph by Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The readings below introduce observers to the past and present conditions that allowed Trump to seize electoral control of a major American political party. By extension, this syllabus acknowledges the intersectional nature of power and politics. The course emphasizes the ways that cultural capital like Trump’s grows best under certain socio-economic conditions. Trump’s open advocacy for race-based exclusion and politically motivated violence on matters both foreign and domestic cannot be separated from the historical and day-to-day inequalities endured by people of color, women, and religious minorities living in or migrating to the United States. Concerned less with Trump as a man than with “Trumpism” as a product of history, this course interrogates the connections between wealth, violence, and politics.

The weekly readings are organized by themes captured by Trump’s own statements on the campaign trail during the 2016 presidential election. The syllabus is built for flexibility. The recommended books may be used in whole or in part. Primary sources can work under one theme or across weeks. A collection of assignments to accompany this syllabus appears on the website of the African American Intellectual History Society—with the contributing faculty member’s name provided for attribution.

Challenging Algorithms of Oppression: Public Lecture 11/16

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble will give a public lecture on the subject, Challenging Algorithms of Oppression: Black Annihilation and the Internet, on November 16, 2016, 3:30-5PM in the Valley Library.

The circulation of surveillance videos and images of African Americans murdered or detained by police and private security has been enhanced by the spectacle of new media. This new research, building upon my previously published research about Trayvon Martin in The Black Scholar, argues that media spectacles are created by surveillance records to foster news ratings and advertising revenues at the expense of national conversations and public policy addressing racial justice. The use of digital technologies has become an enticing way of giving voice to marginalization and oppression, but technological engagements are an insufficient intervention on racist, sexist, and systemic economic oppression. In this talk, Safiya Umoja Noble will discuss the importance of the academic-activist scholarly community to offer models of intervention through research and teaching, and the importance of examining the consequences and affordances of information and technology projects.

She will also lead a workshop, Field notes from Critical Information Studies (and What Can We Learn from Google Glass), focused for graduate students. This will be held on November 16 from 11:30AM-1PM, with lunch served. You can register for the workshop here.

Utopian discourses of freedom through technology are not new. Critical information and geography scholars have written extensively about how hierarchies of power are reproduced and enacted through digital technologies, and they point to the ways in which the informationalization and digitization of everyday life heightens control and surveillance, but also establishes digital enclosures with power-laden boundaries across race, gender, and class.Technological projects are never neutral. In this workshop, Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble from the UCLA Department of Information Studies will discuss the importance of the digitally-enabled academic-activist community to offer models of intervention and resistance through research, practice and teaching. By illuminating linkages to power struggles over values, particularly in the context of the digital, we can re-examine information contexts that can engender greater responsibility and imperative to act.

Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Studies in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. She also holds appointments in the Departments of African American Studies, Gender Studies, and Education. Her research on the design and use of applications on the Internet is at the intersection of race, gender, culture, and technology. She is currently working on a monograph on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in search engines like Google (forthcoming, NYU Press). She currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, and is the co-editor of two books: The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Culture and Class Online (Peter Lang, Digital Formations, 2016), and Emotions, Technology & Design (Elsevier, 2015).

Support for this event comes from OSU Libraries & Press, the College of Engineering, the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, the School of Language, Culture and Society, Queer Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, and the Office of Institutional Diversity.

Questions about the event, including requests for accommodations, can be made to Lindsay Marlow at or by phone at (541) 737-2376.

Paul K. Chappell on Peace Literacy: 11/15

Paul Chappell, an Iraqi veteran, is Peace Literacy Director for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He will share his vision on how we can move forward together as a society in spite of our troubled times followed by four panelists – Donald Nisbett, Nana Osei-Kofi, Ann Mbake, and Joseph Orosco – who will extend, critique, and comment on peace literacy.

Whiteside Theater, Tuesday 11/15 at 7 PM