Catherine D'Ignazio

Catherine D'Ignazio is Assistant Professor of Urban Science and Planning at MIT and coauthor of Data Feminism (MIT Press).

  • Uncertain Archives

    Uncertain Archives

    Critical Keywords for Big Data

    Nanna Bonde Thylstrup, Daniela Agostinho, Annie Ring, Catherine D'Ignazio, and Kristin Veel

    Scholars from a range of disciplines interrogate terms relevant to critical studies of big data, from abuse and aggregate to visualization and vulnerability.

    This groundbreaking work offers an interdisciplinary perspective on big data and the archives they accrue, interrogating key terms. Scholars from a range of disciplines analyze concepts relevant to critical studies of big data, arranged glossary style—from abuse and aggregate to visualization and vulnerability. They not only challenge conventional usage of such familiar terms as prediction and objectivity but also introduce such unfamiliar ones as overfitting and copynorm. The contributors include a broad range of leading and agenda-setting scholars, including as N. Katherine Hayles, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Johanna Drucker, Lisa Gitelman, Safiya Noble, Sarah T. Roberts and Nicole Starosielski.

    Uncertainty is inherent to archival practices; the archive as a site of knowledge is fraught with unknowns, errors, and vulnerabilities that are present, and perhaps even amplified, in big data regimes. Bringing lessons from the study of the archive to bear on big data, the contributors consider the broader implications of big data's large-scale determination of knowledge.

    • Paperback $55.00
  • Data Feminism

    Data Feminism

    Catherine D'Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein

    A new way of thinking about data science and data ethics that is informed by the ideas of intersectional feminism.

    Today, data science is a form of power. It has been used to expose injustice, improve health outcomes, and topple governments. But it has also been used to discriminate, police, and surveil. This potential for good, on the one hand, and harm, on the other, makes it essential to ask: Data science by whom? Data science for whom? Data science with whose interests in mind? The narratives around big data and data science are overwhelmingly white, male, and techno-heroic. In Data Feminism, Catherine D'Ignazio and Lauren Klein present a new way of thinking about data science and data ethics—one that is informed by intersectional feminist thought.

    Illustrating data feminism in action, D'Ignazio and Klein show how challenges to the male/female binary can help challenge other hierarchical (and empirically wrong) classification systems. They explain how, for example, an understanding of emotion can expand our ideas about effective data visualization, and how the concept of invisible labor can expose the significant human efforts required by our automated systems. And they show why the data never, ever “speak for themselves.”

    Data Feminism offers strategies for data scientists seeking to learn how feminism can help them work toward justice, and for feminists who want to focus their efforts on the growing field of data science. But Data Feminism is about much more than gender. It is about power, about who has it and who doesn't, and about how those differentials of power can be challenged and changed.

    The open access edition of this book was made possible by generous funding from the MIT Libraries.

    • Hardcover $29.95

Contributor

  • Civic Media

    Civic Media

    Technology, Design, Practice

    Eric Gordon and Paul Mihailidis

    Examinations of civic engagement in digital culture—the technologies, designs, and practices that support connection through common purpose in civic, political, and social life.

    Countless people around the world harness the affordances of digital media to enable democratic participation, coordinate disaster relief, campaign for policy change, and strengthen local advocacy groups. The world watched as activists used social media to organize protests during the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution. Many governmental and community organizations changed their mission and function as they adopted new digital tools and practices. This book examines the use of “civic media”—the technologies, designs, and practices that support connection through common purpose in civic, political, and social life. Scholars from a range of disciplines and practitioners from a variety of organizations offer analyses and case studies that explore the theory and practice of civic media.

    The contributors set out the conceptual context for the intersection of civic and media; examine the pressure to innovate and the sustainability of innovation; explore play as a template for resistance; look at civic education; discuss media-enabled activism in communities; and consider methods and funding for civic media research. The case studies that round out each section range from a “debt resistance” movement to government service delivery ratings to the “It Gets Better” campaign aimed at combating suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth. The book offers a valuable interdisciplinary dialogue on the challenges and opportunities of the increasingly influential space of civic media.

    • Hardcover $55.00
    • Paperback $45.00