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Accepted Paper:

Data in the Electronic Frontier: Settler Colonial Techno-Infrastructures and Bioinformation in the U.S.  
Sarah Montoya (UCLA)

Paper short abstract:

This paper utilizes Black and Indigenous feminist texts in the field of settler colonial studies to interrogate the establishment of telecommunications infrastructures which (re)produce bioinformation within settler colonial ontological schemas in the United States.

Paper long abstract:

Broadly, this paper utilizes critical texts in settler colonial studies authored by Black and Indigenous feminists to interrogate the historical development of telecommunications infrastructures which (re)produce bioinformation within settler colonial ontological schemas in the United States. More specifically, my work links the development of the telegraph, telephone, and early internet infrastructures in the U.S. to the creation and maintenance of data schemas which reflect settler colonial ontological orders and categorizations. I argue a web of networked settler logics emerges through this linkage of telecommunications nodes and data produced and reproduced through its circuitry. As part of this work, I discuss how access to the category of “the human” was and remains articulated through discourses of scientific racism and consider how settler colonial binaries of animacy and intimacy may limit that which constitutes bioinformation. The close of this paper asks us to consider how to confront and dismantle narratives of settler (technological) supremacy. Discourses couched in the rhetoric of democratic ideals, the public good, or the commons, abound with little critique or attention to the settler colonial ideologies these concepts are predicated upon. As a result, discourses couched in such logics are inherently limited by their reliance on settler state juridical interventions and fail to recognize their own investment in neoliberal progressive politics. The use of settler colonial studies as a robust framework asks us to reorient our arguments and to re-evaluate how we might imagine anti-colonial uses of computational technologies and data futures.

Panel P05a
Plastic Data – bioinformation, coloniality and the promise of data futures
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -