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DISCO Network DISCO Summit 2024

An interdisciplinary symposium about the past, present, and future of the intersection between digital technology, culture, race, disability, gender, sexuality, and liberation
Friday, June 14, 2024
9:00 AM-5:00 PM
10th Floor Weiser Hall Map
DISCO Network | DISCO Summit

Dates: Friday, June 14 – Saturday, June 15, 2024
Location: Weiser Hall, 10th Floor, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Modality: Hybrid (all events will be held in-person with an option for individuals to attend virtually via Zoom webinar)

Registration is required to attend the DISCO Summit.

The deadline for in-person registration is Tuesday, May 14, 2024. Due to limited space in the venue, in-person registration will close once we reach our maximum capacity. Register to attend in-person:

Zoom webinar registration will be open until the end of the event. Register to attend via Zoom:

Event Description:

The DISCO Summit is a two-day interdisciplinary summer symposium about digital social inequalities in celebration of the third year of the DISCO Network. The DISCO Summit will include nine panel conversations about the past, present, and future of the intersection between digital technology, culture, race, disability, gender, sexuality, and liberation.

The DISCO Network is a collaborative, intergenerational group of scholars dedicated to envisioning a new anti-racist and anti-ableist digital future. The DISCO Network comprises six labs across five universities: the Michigan Hub at the University of Michigan Digital Studies Institute (PI: Lisa Nakamura, University of Michigan), HAT Lab (PI: Rayvon Fouché; Northwestern University), DAF Lab (PI: M. Remi Yergeau, University of Michigan), Future Histories Studio (PI: Stephanie Dinkins, Stony Brook University), PREACH Lab (André Brock, Georgia Institute of Technology), and BCaT Lab (Catherine Knight Steele, University of Maryland-College Park). The DISCO Network is supported by the Mellon Foundation.

This event is free and open to the public. The DISCO Summit provides a platform for scholars, students, artists, practitioners, activists, and community members to convene and engage in dialogue about racial inequality, histories of exclusion, disability justice, techno-ableism, and digital racial politics within the academy, the technology industry, and beyond. We especially welcome individuals whose interests lie in the intersection of the digital and identity and have found difficulties pursuing their endeavors at their home institutions.

View additional information about the event:

Event Schedule:

Day 1: Friday, June 14, 2024

9:00 am - 10:15 am
Digital Optimism with Lisa Nakamura, Rayvon Fouché, Stephanie Dinkins, André Brock, Remi Yergeau, and Catherine Knight Steele
Optimism is the belief that the interval between the now and liberation is where we can act. Digital optimism is the recognition that there are elements of life that vivify and energize in the here and the now, despite and amidst the digital purgatories that we endure. Sometimes that energy is found in stillness; sometimes in refusal; and sometimes in moments of catharsis or joy. This panel will explore the concept of digital optimism as it appears in DISCO’s collaborative writing and work together.

10:30 am - 11:45 am
Digital Frictions with Remi Yergeau, David Adelman, Jeff Nagy, Aimi Hamraie, Jaipreet Virdi, and Mara Mills
In their manifesto on crip technoscience, Kelly Fritsch and Aimi Hamraie (2019) impress upon us that access production is a “frictional process,” one that requires “acknowledging that science and technology can be used to both produce and dismantle injustice.” This roundtable explores the frictional intimacies, practices, and material conditions of what it means to do the digital. In particular, panelists will consider myriad ways in which accessibility holds the potential to burn, grate, spark, and tug at new imaginings of crip futures.

1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Digital Black Feminist Pleasure and Pain Online with Catherine Knight Steele, Rianna Walcott, Brandi Pettijohn, Francesca Sobande, Kishonna Gray, and Apryl Williams
The experiences of Black women online serve as a harbinger of what digital culture affords and what is to come. This panel thinks through the relationship between pleasure and pain in the online lives of Black women and how Black feminist methods, epistemologies, and strategies may point us toward a better digital future for us all.

2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
Little Memes: Storying Race, Gender, and Disability in the Digital Studies Classroom with Remi Yergeau, Toni Bushner, Huan He, and Lida Zeitlin-Wu
How do students’ stories about themselves or others—their anecdotal relations—inform their burgeoning understandings of digital inequality and related concepts? In this session, we reflect on student interviews and instructor experiences drawn from a study of five U-M Digital Studies classes focused on race and disability.

4:00 pm - 5:15 pm
Digital Interventions: Recalibrating Optimism - A Workshop Facilitated by Catherine Knight Steele, Rayvon Fouché, Stephanie Dinkins, and Kevin Winstead [IN-PERSON ONLY]
Is optimism an antidote or salve for turmoil? Please join us in a collaborative discussion charting pathways for digital scholarship to build optimistic societal interventions that traverse the potentialities of joy, sadness, refusal, skepticism, and trust.

Day 2: Saturday, June 15, 2024

9:00 am - 10:15 am
Black Innovation with Rayvon Fouché, Aaron Dial, Ron Eglash, Michael Bennett, Aria Halliday, Tonia Sutherland, and Ngozi Harrison
Black folks have a tradition of being innovative in ways not understood and expected by traditional markets, dominant cultural formations, or information platforms. As the world is enamored, fascinated, enraptured, troubled, or simply confused by the potentiality of generative AI, is there a place and a role for Blackness to participate, contribute, or intervene in this next technoscientific atmospheric river? What will Black innovation and creativity look like in a world propelled by a network of AI trained on past utterances that did not see Blackness as meaningful? How can Blackness and Black innovation and creativity disrupt expected technoscientific futures?

10:30 am - 11:45 am
Digital Possibilities with Stephanie Dinkins, Hagar Masoud, Ria Rajan, Cezanne Charles, and Audrey Bennet
"Digital Possibilities" presents an intergenerational panel of arts practitioners who explore the critical role deliberate exploration and practical research play in understanding and shaping digital technologies and culture. The panel showcases the transformative power deeply engaging digital technologies can have on molding practical, aspirational, and equitable understandings of self and society. Panelists discuss how practice can leverage discovery, curiosity, out-of-the-box thinking, and leadership to mine and challenge opportunities, or the lack thereof, for beauty, potentiality, subjugation, and liberation that digital technologies often carry. The panel also engages thought about how future, present, and past technologies combined with narratives centering on underutilized, underrecognized communities can be coaxed or developed to produce technological ecosystems that produce nuanced, open, and equitably informed digital tools, platforms, and collaborators.

1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Majority World Digital Infrastructures with Lisa Nakamura, Huan He, Jasmine Banks, Marisa Duarte, Ivan Chaar Lopez, and Meryem Kamil
Digital infrastructure shapes access, representation, and cultural politics. Indigenous, Asian and Southeast Asian, Palestinian, U.S. Mexico border, and women of color uses of digital networks are often represented as niche or marginal, sequestered in area studies, ethnic studies, and women studies, yet the U.S. and Western Europe are the numerical minority.

2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
Legibility and Community in Digital Studies with Huan He, Kevin Winstead, David Adelman, Aaron Dial, Jeff Nagy, Rianna Walcott, Brandy Pettijohn, and Lida Zeitlin-Wu
As junior scholars, the Digital Inquiry Speculation Collaboration Optimism (DISCO) Network postdoctoral fellows faced unique challenges negotiating the tensions of being legible for academic employment and serving digital studies projects that foster collaboration and community. This panel discusses best practices for being young career scholars in critical identity and digital studies.

We would like to thank the following co-sponsors:
- Department of Afroamerican and African Studies
- Department of American Culture
- Department of Communication and Media
- Department of English Literature and Language
- Department of Film, Television, and Media
- Department of History
- Department of History of Art
- Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies
- Science, Technology, and Society Program
- University of Michigan Initiative on Disability Studies
- Center for Racial Justice
- Science, Technology, and Public Policy
- Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs
- Spectrum Center
- Marsal Family School of Education Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Justice, and Equity
- Computer Science and Engineering
- School of Information Center for Ethics, Society, and Computing
- Institute for Research on Women & Gender

Accessibility statement: We strive to make our events accessible to all participants.
- Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) services will be provided.
- All attendees are requested to wear well-fitting masks. Masks will be provided at the event space.
- The event space is ADA-compliant.
- Gender-neutral and accessible restrooms are available in the event space.
- A quiet space will be available nearby.
- The event planning team has worked to mitigate potential sensory triggers, such as loud buzzing sounds or flickering lights, in the event space. Individuals with sensory sensitivities should be aware that there is a possibility of unpredictable sound or lighting changes during the event.
- Per the request of our speakers, all attendees are requested to refrain from using scented products, such as perfume or cologne. Unscented products (e.g., soap, hand sanitizer) will be provided at the event space.
- A digital copy of the event program will be made available at least a week prior to the event.
- For those who are unable to attend the event in-person, a livestream viewing option is available.
- More detailed information about the event space (including how to access it and how the space will be arranged) will be made available on our website.
- If there are additional ways that we can meet your access needs, please indicate this in the registration form. Please register as soon as possible as some accommodations may require advance coordination.

For all inquiries related to the DISCO Summit, please contact Cherice Chan, DISCO Network Program Coordinator, at
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Conference / Symposium
Tags: Activism, african and african american studies, american culture, Artificial Intelligence, artists, Communication, Computational Social Science, Culture, Data Science, Digital Culture, Digital Cultures, digital humanities, Digital Media, Digital Studies, Digital Studies Institute, digital technology, digitalization, digitization, Disability, Diversity, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Feminism, Humanities, Interdisciplinary, Science, Social Justice, spectrum, spectrum center, spectrumcenter
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Digital Studies Institute, Spectrum Center, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, History of Art, School of Education, Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) Program, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, School of Information, Department of Film, Television, and Media, Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, Computer Science and Engineering Division, Department of American Culture, Science, Technology & Society, Department of History, Multi Ethnic Student Affairs - MESA, Communication and Media, University of Michigan Initiative on Disability Studies, Department of English Language and Literature, Interdepartmental Program in Ancient Mediterranean Art and Archaeology, Center for Racial Justice
Upcoming Dates:
Friday, June 14, 2024 9:00 AM-5:00 PM