Part of the LSA Theme Semester Understaning Race
Contemporary digital media production centers on the Asia-Pacific region--Silicon Valley and China, sites where software and hardware are made. Asians and Asia have become racialized as digital; the “nimble fingers” of Asian women are a key resource in digital industries. However, this gendering and racialization of computer manufacture as women of colors’ work has a forgotten earlier history.
In 1970 Fairchild Corporation, a key electronics manufacturer, opened a fab plant on the Shiprock Indian reservation in New Mexico and became the largest employer of Indians in the U.S. Asian and Indian women were included in similar industrial discourses of racialized labor, lack of mobility, and docility that inform digital production cultures today.