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Initiatives & Events

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MASTS builds projects and community in several different ways, and we strongly encourage people to convene however works best for them and their interests.

Please contact us if you're at USC and would like information on any initiative or event.

  • Our mailing list is the primary way of convening MASTS and connecting participants and it's open to anyone at USC.

  • Our core convening is a weekly meeting with rotating agendas (project groups present progress, people brainstorm new work, guests present and workshop their work, we discuss significant current events, etc). These meetings are open to anyone at USC.

  • We also host reading, working, and social groups -- e.g., the Controversies & Infrastructures Reading Group and Journalism Futures Working Group and the Science Fiction Movie Nights. We encourage people to organize groups that make sense for them -- if you're at USC and have a conversation you'd like to host or want to convene a crew, please do so!

  • Group projects form through periodic "Calls for Participation" (CFP) that are open to anyone at USC and require cross-school teams. Our first CFP (Summer 2020, now closed) focused on the theme of "mobilizing controversy" and we are preparing our second CFP on the theme of "changing infrastructures".

  • We also regularly host visits and conversations open to MASTS, USC, and sometimes beyond, including:

      • Two Days after Election Day, What's Going On? [November 2020] :: a conversation with faculty at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's UNC Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life, including Profs Daniel Kreiss, Shannon McGregor, Deen Freelon.

      • Thank You for Posting: Smoking’s lessons for regulating social media | Dr. Joan Donovan, Harvard University [October 2020] :: a discussion of the sociotechnical cultures of mis/disinformation and the work of Donovan's Technology and Social Change Project.

      • Predict and Surveil: Data, discretion, and the future of policing | Prof Sarah Brayne [October 2020] :: a talk on the role of predictive algorithms and policing cultures, focused on Brayne's new book Predict and Surveil.

      • Faces | Prof Jessica Helfand [February 2020] :: a discussion of Helfand's book Face: A Visual Odyssey and the role that social, cultural, and technological role that faces have played in different historical moments.

      • Facial Recognition and Human Security | Prof Moira Godinez [February 2020] :: a discussion of Godinez's experience as an intelligence officer and instructor leading an International Relations class on understanding and evading facial recognition technology.

      • Thing from the Future: Facial recognition | Prof Jeff Watson [January 2020] :: a creative brainstorming workshop where Watson helped the group to reimagining facial recognition as a "thing from the future," using a technique developed at the Situation Lab.

      • Online Identity | Dr. Judith Donath [November 2019] :: a discussion of how and why to represent people and groups online, focused on Donath's book The Social Machine and her recent work on facial recognition.

      • Platform Governance | Prof Nicholas Suzor [April 2018] :: a discussion with Suzor of his work on how social media platforms govern digital lives, and new approaches to platform regulation.

      • Artificial Intelligence Across Disciplines and Institutions | Prof Genevieve Bell [February 2018] :: an informal conversation with Bell, focusing on her career trajectory, work at Intel, and the focus of her 3A Institute.

      • Data & Society | Dr. danah boyd [October 2017] :: an informal conversation with boyd on her career and work at the Data & Society Institute.