USC logo

Speaker Series

Spring 2022

Charley Johnson (Data & Society): an exploration of research opportunities for improving the capacity of government decision-makers grappling with the social implications of technology.


Dr. Rachel Moran & the University of Washington's Center for an Informed Public: a joint MASTS-CIP meeting gathering to share research projects, make individual connections, brainstorm new work that works across the two groups.


Dr. Katalin Fehér (Hungarian Academy of Sciences): a review of Dr. Fehér's Fulbright Scholarship work on patterns in how interdisciplinary scholars understand "Artificial Intelligence", and the new "AI Media Research Network" she has founded to convene researchers.


Shannon Dosemagen (Open Environmental Data Project): a discussion of where data about the environment come from, how data are managed and governed, and what collaborations such data might make possible.


Dr. Ali Pearl ("Making a Neighborhood"): a discussion of how the "Making a Neighborhood" (Los Angeles Time profile) newsletter came to be, its successes and challenges, and how local journalism can arise from residents telling stories about the histories and dynamics of where they live.


Prof Luke Stark (Western University): a discussion of Stark's book project "Ordering Emotion", a "history of the psychological and behavioral sciences’ influence on computing from World War II to the present."

Fall 2021

Professor Catherine Knight Steele (UMD College Park): a discussion and celebration of Professor Steele’s new book, Digital Black Feminism: Our Histories and Futures (2021). Black women are at the forefront of some of this century’s most important discussions about technology: trolling, online harassment, algorithmic bias, and influencer culture. But Black women’s relationship to technology began long before the advent of Twitter or Instagram. To truly “listen to Black women,” Steele's book looks to the history of Black feminist technoculture in the United States and its ability to decenter white supremacy and patriarchy in a conversation about the future of technology.


Professor Caitlin Petre (Rutgers): a discussion of Petre’s new book, All the News That’s Fit to Click: How Metrics Are Transforming the Work of Journalists (2021). Petre describes how digital metrics are a powerful but insidious new form of managerial surveillance and discipline in her eye-opening account of data-driven journalism.


Professor Dylan Mulvin (LSE): a discussion based on Mulvin’s book, Proxies: The Cultural Work of Standing In (MIT 2021), which uses the “proxy” to investigate the history and politics of knowledge through the models, prototypes, and templates that surround us.


Professor Stuart Candy (CMU): in collaboration with the USC Dornsife Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life (STPL) and the Berggruen Institute, a visit from 2021-22 Berggruen Fellow Stuart Candy (@futuryst) to discuss his work on thinking about the future using experimental methods for scholarship, activism, and everyday life.

Spring 2021

Professor Lana Swartz (UVA): A discussion of Professor Swartz’s work on Cryptocurrency Imaginaries. What are cryptocurrencies, how do they work, what’s at stake and why do they matter? Professor Swartz will also discuss her wider work on “new money” and social payment as well as her dissertation and book writing experience.


Professor Trebor Scholz (TNS): In collaboration with the Berggruen Institute, USC Dornsife Levan Institute for the Humanities, Annenberg Innovation Lab, and the USC Dornsife Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life, this event hosted Trebor Scholz in presenting his activist research on the worker cooperative as a promising economic alternative for the digital economy. Showcasing work with platform co-ops in India, Germany, Australia, Brazil, and the United States, Scholz demonstrates that a democratically-owned People’s Internet is not only possible but that it’s a promising economic alternative for the digital economy.

Fall 2020

Professor Daniel Kreiss (UNC): “Two Days after Election Day, What’s Going On?” An informal conversation about the state of the 2020 US election as it stands on November 5th as we make sense of how voters, journalists, and platforms have acted, and what the future might hold.


Dr. Joan Donovan (Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government): Former Facebook executives admit they used the tobacco industry’s playbook for addictive products. Perhaps it can also be used to undo the damage. Joan Donovan will discuss policy and regulatory responses for dealing with social media, disinformation and media manipulation.


Professor Sarah Brayne (UT Austin): In the digital age, we scatter millions of digital traces in our wake as we go about our everyday lives. A discussion of Brayne’s book Predict and Surveil: Data, Discretion, and the Future of Policing (2020), where she draws on her research with the Los Angeles Police Department to understand how the police use the digital trails we leave to deploy resources, identify criminal suspects, and conduct investigations. Although big data policing holds potential to reduce bias and increase efficiency, this research analyses how it also reproduces and deepens existing patterns of social inequality, threatens privacy, and challenges civil liberties.