We, the CASTAC co-chairs, web producer, public relations manager, and Platypus managing editor, believe that engaging our community in anti-racism work is just as important as voicing solidarity with our BIPOC colleagues. So, rather than simply producing a document ourselves, we asked the CASTAC membership to get actively involved in this collaborative project by taking some time to seek out and review anti-racism resources and research and then share them with the community.
Contributions are anti-racist or intersectional in nature and related to the work of CASTAC—that is related to the anthropology of science, technology, and computing. Below is the list of resources compiled by the CASTAC community. We hope that this collection is a starting point for engaging and integrating this important work into our scholarship, teaching, and careers.
We know that this work is never done. If you want to make a contribution to this collection, please email email@example.com. If you have any questions about this project or would like to report an issue, please email the co-chairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Table of Contents
- Racism in Higher Education: How can we transform academic institutions from White Public Space to Anti-Racist Public Space?
- Decolonization and Anti-Racist Curriculum and Resources
- Racism in Algorithms: How Algorithms and “Color-Blindness” of Technology Create Racist Technological Systems
- Racism in Technology: How Tech Spaces Perpetuate Ideologies of White Male Superiority
- Racism and Genetics: DNA testing, Genetics, and the Politics of Racism
- Medical Racism: Social and Political Discussions of Medical Racism
- Activism in Digital Technology: Hashtags, their Effects and Resources in Digital Activism
Racism in Higher Education: How can we transform academic institutions from White Public Space to Anti-Racist Public Space?
This literature discusses how academic institutions have normalized racism through instances of non-performativity, racial essentialism, and using academia as a white public space. Ahmed discusses how instances of non-performativity exist in sayings like “we are deeply hurt” coming from faculty and staff in institutional settings when instances of racism are enacted in academic institutions, but nothing is done to mitigate the damage or prevent racist actions. Additionally, many academic institutions are seen as “white public spaces”. This is seen in the way that white academics are often cited in articles more than their BIPOC peers, and racial essentialism is still taught and studied in a way that perpetuates social and health inequalities. Many suggestions are posed in these articles to transform white academia into an Anti-racist space, to reflect on the performance of anti-racism and turn words into real action via producing and teaching more interdisciplinary courses and curricula, and represent BIPOC in their faculty and professors.
Ahmed, Sara. 2006. “The Nonperformativity of Antiracism.” Meridians 7 (1): 104–26.
Braun, Lundy, and Barry Saunders. 2017. “Avoiding Racial Essentialism in Medical Science Curricula.” AMA Journal of Ethics 19 (6): 518–27.
Brodkin, Karen, Sandra Morgen, and Janis Hutchinson. 2011. “Anthropology as White Public Space?” American Anthropologist 113 (4): 545–56.
Chen, Diana A., Joel Alejandro Mejia, and Samantha Breslin. 2019. “Navigating Equity Work in Engineering: Contradicting Messages Encountered by Minority Faculty.” Digital Creativity 30 (4): 329–44.
Henderson, Frances B. 2021. “Advice for BIPOC Faculty for Preparing for Pandemic Instruction in the Coming Semester (opinion).” Inside Higher Education. January 8, 2021. https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2021/01/08/advice-bipoc-faculty-preparing-pandemic-instruction-coming-semester-opinion.
Mills, Mara. 2021. “Introduction: ‘Citation Networks as Antidiscriminatory Practice.’” Catalyst: Feminism Theory Technoscience 7 (2). https://doi.org/10.28968/cftt.v7i2.37645.
Pollock, Anne, Deboleena Roy, Manu O. Platt, Morgann Adams, Theophilia Dusabamoro, Chelesa Fearce, Imani Fennell, et al. 2017. “How Do Black Lives Matter in Teaching, Lab Practices, and Research?” Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience 3 (1). https://www.academia.edu/download/54770017/220-1264-1-PB.pdf.
Ray, Victor. 2019. “A Theory of Racialized Organizations.” American Sociological Review 84 (1): 26–53.
Decolonization and Anti-Racist Curriculum and Resources
The following resources discuss how university academics can use their privilege to improve their professional standards and teach anti-racist and decolonizing material. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and racial injustices, academics can use this time to teach concepts such as worlds of anthropologies and decolonize their course materials. The “world anthropologies framework” takes a decolonial lens in recognizing and teaching anthropology from a non-western perspective. Similarly, Ahmed, Pandian, and Reardon discuss ways in which anti-racist material can be embedded into course material by incorporating BIPOC community members into the classroom and valuing their contributions by putting them on the forefront.
Ansari, Ahmed. 2020. “Modernity + Coloniality: A Free Online Summer Seminar on Coloniality and Decoloniality.” 2020. https://modernitycoloniality.com/.
Pandian, Anand. 2020. “Anthropology in Times of Radical Unease.” Visual and New Media Review, Fieldsights, June 4. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/anthropology-in-times-of-radical-unease.
Reardon, Jenny, and Kim Tallbear. 2012. “‘Your DNA Is Our History’: Genomics, Anthropology, and the Construction of Whiteness as Property.” Current Anthropology 53 (S5): S233–45.
Restrepo, Eduardo, and Arturo Escobar. 2005. “‘Other Anthropologies and Anthropology Otherwise’: Steps to a World Anthropologies Framework.” Critique of Anthropology 25 (2): 99–129.
Racism in Algorithms: How Algorithms and “Color-Blindness” of Technology Create Racist Technological Systems.
Algorithms perpetuate an illusion of infinite and casual realities in which everyone is represented and included on the internet. When in reality, algorithms are inherently racist mechanisms that build on stereotypes and hegemonic systems that are as damaging on the internet as they are in face-to-face interactions. These algorithmic systems illuminate how corporations can deny their influence and culpability in the promotion of discrimination and racism. These resources offer solutions to fix racial bias and use research, policymakers, and industry practitioners to mitigate racist AI harms and biases.
Amrute, Sareeta. 2020. “Bored Techies Being Casually Racist: Race as Algorithm.” Science, Technology & Human Values 45 (5): 903–33.
Benjamin, Ruha. 2019. Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. John Wiley & Sons.
Buolamwini, Joy, Nicole Hughes, and Sasha Costanza-Chock. n.d. “Algorithmic Justice League.” Accessed 2021. https://www.ajl.org/.
Noble, Safiya Umoja. 2018. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. NYU Press.
Pollock, Anne. 2015. “On the Suspended Sentences of the Scott Sisters: Mass Incarceration, Kidney Donation, and the Biopolitics of Race in the United States.” Science, Technology & Human Values 40 (2): 250–71.
Racism in Technology: How Tech Spaces Perpetuate Ideologies of White Male Superiority
Among modern digital technology elites, myths of white male supremacy and intellectual power are used to marginalize the voices of BIPOC and women. This technological bias tends to disproportionately allocate resources to white men and takes these resources away from people of color, predominantly African Americans, Black Americans, Latino/as and Native Americans. Moreover, these resources offer a critique of victorian scientific history and evolution teachings that are perpetuated through technological systems. Technological surveillance mechanisms also criminalize and punish BIPOC communities at a higher rate than white people, and promote capitalist agendas that continue to cause harm and inequality.
Barany, Michael J. 2014. “Savage Numbers and the Evolution of Civilization in Victorian Prehistory.” British Journal for the History of Science 47 (173 Pt 2): 239–55.
Jefferson, Brian. 2020. Digitize and Punish: Racial Criminalization in the Digital Age. University of Minnesota Press.
Karkazis, Katrina, and Rebecca Jordan-Young. 2020. “Sensing Race as a Ghost Variable in Science, Technology, and Medicine.” Science, Technology & Human Values 45 (5): 763–78.
Noble, Safiya Umoja, and Sarah T. Roberts. 2019. “Technological Elites, the Meritocracy, and Postracial Myths in Silicon Valley.” In Racism Postrace, edited by Roopali Mukherjee, Sarah Banet-Weiser, and Herman Gray, 25:113–29. Duke University Press.
McMillan Cottom, Tressie. 2020. “Where Platform Capitalism and Racial Capitalism Meet: The Sociology of Race and Racism in the Digital Society.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 6 (4): 441–49.
Rajagopalan, R., A. Nelson, and J. H. Fujimura. 2016. “Race and Science in the 21st Century.” In The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, edited by Ulrike Felt, Rayvon Fouché, Clark A. Miller, and Laurel Smith-Doerr, 349–78. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Racism and Genetics: DNA testing, Genetics, and the Politics of Racism
The collection of biodata has been used to reinforce white supremacy based on their inadequate and out-of-context understanding of genetic information such as the use of SNP’s (parts of our DNA) that are used to highlight genetic differences in a racist way. These resources point out how biological data websites and scientists have used genetics to reinforce white supremacy narratives and must be collected using informed consent to protect individuals’ agency and privacy. These DNA-based techniques can be used to help grapple with the unfinished business of slavery: to foster reconciliation, to establish ties with African ancestral homelands, to rethink and sometimes alter citizenship, and to make legal claims for slavery reparations specifically based on ancestry instead of reinforcing notions of white supremacy.
Artz, Matt. 2021. “DNA Testing of Immigrants Is Unethical.” Anthropology News Website, January 26, 2021.
Fujimura, Joan H., Deborah A. Bolnick, Ramya Rajagopalan, Jay S. Kaufman, Richard C. Lewontin, Troy Duster, Pilar Ossorio, and Jonathan Marks. 2014. “Clines Without Classes: How to Make Sense of Human Variation.” Sociological Theory 32 (3): 208–27.
Fujimura, Joan H., and Ramya Rajagopalan. 2011. “Different Differences: The Use of ‘Genetic Ancestry’ versus Race in Biomedical Human Genetic Research.” Social Studies of Science 41 (1): 5–30.
Fullwiley, Duana. 2014. “The ‘Contemporary Synthesis’: When Politically Inclusive Genomic Science Relies on Biological Notions of Race.” Isis: an International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences 105 (4): 803–14.
Nelson, Alondra. 2016. The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome. Beacon Press.
Panofsky, Aaron, and Joan Donovan. 2019. “Genetic Ancestry Testing among White Nationalists: From Identity Repair to Citizen Science.” Social Studies of Science 49 (5): 653–81.
Rajagopalan, Ramya M., and Joan H. Fujimura. 2018. “Variations on a Chip: Technologies of Difference in Human Genetics Research.” Journal of the History of Biology 51 (4): 841–73.
Rutherford, Adam. 2020. How to Argue With a Racist: What Our Genes Do (and Don’t) Say About Human Difference. The Experiment.
TallBear, Kim. 2013. Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science. University of Minnesota Press.
Medical Racism: Social and Political Discussions of Medical Racism
Medical racism has a long and horrible history that is still actively diminishing and harming the life of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Using the Spirometer, racial fiction, blood sugar levels, and heart disease as examples, there is an ever-present narrative of neglecting the human right of medical care to BIPOC communities. Medical racism must be addressed by the medical field and the scientific community to create more just and equitable communities.
Benjamin, Ruha. 2016. “Racial Fictions, Biological Facts: Expanding the Sociological Imagination through Speculative Methods.” Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience 2 (2).
Braun, Lundy. 2014. Breathing Race into the Machine: The Surprising Career of the Spirometer from Plantation to Genetics. University of Minnesota Press.
Hatch, Anthony Ryan. 2016. Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America. University of Minnesota Press.
Nelson, Alondra. 2011. Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination. University of Minnesota Press.
Pollock, Anne. 2012. Medicating Race: Heart Disease and Durable Preoccupations with Difference. Duke University Press.
Activism in Digital Technology: Hashtags, their Effects and Resources in Digital Activism
The increased use and availability of technology has provided marginalized and racialized populations with the tools to share anit-racist resources and the ability to document incidents of police brutality and violence committed on racialized bodies and marginalized communities. Resources from Black and African American voices are collected in a database to provide support and media to increase awareness and advocacy.
Bonilla, Yarimar, and Jonathan Rosa. 2015. “#Ferguson: Digital Protest, Hashtag Ethnography, and the Racial Politics of Social Media in the United States.” American Ethnologist 42 (1): 4–17.
LaGrone, Carlyn, and Mary Hudson. 2020. “Overhaul of Advocacy.” 2020. https://www.overhaulofadvocacy.com/.
Williams Bianca. 2015. “#BlackLivesMatter: Anti-Black Racism, Police Violence, and Resistance.” Fieldsights, Hot Spots series. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/series/blacklivesmatter-anti-black-racism-police-violence-and-resistance.