My research is interested in how queer and feminist social movements use digital technologies to build alternative information infrastructures.
I focus on how these movements struggle to provide vital access to information using new digital tools, within conditions where that access is often precarious. For example, I have published on digitization strategies at queer community archives , lesbian-feminist newsletter networks, and community internet infrastructures built by AIDS activists. I study what movements do with media technologies in order to move information within crisis conditions. My research illustrates how information activism by queer and feminist social justice initiatives offers novel approaches to issues of accessibility, data-management, and participation in networked media environments.
Here is a short description of the book manuscript I am currently working on:
The Other Network: Lesbian Feminism’s Digital Past
(Under contract at Duke U.P.)
The Other Network argues that radical feminism has shaped late-20th century information-interface design, offering innovative approaches to classifying, documenting, circulating, and ultimately mobilizing information as knowledge. Focusing on U.S. lesbian feminism from the early 1970s to the present, the book develops an original approach to studying this movement’s media infrastructures. Through the histories of various organizations, the book frames a transition from paper-based methods to computing. I argue that activists have made information management and interface design into key means of building infrastructural support for social movements, and doing anti-racist and transinclusive work. Taking up the technological interventions of groups such as The Circle of Lesbian Indexers, this book expands understandings of how media and technology emerge by foregrounding the creative interventions of queer women. By bringing sexuality studies to bear on media history, the book argues that populations with precarious access to control over information respond by resourcefully appropriating common communications and archiving tools, putting into practice cultural techniques that re-shape standards in information management. This book contends that histories of sexuality and feminism must grapple with the conditions of mediation in which social movements do practical forms of communicative and technological work.