STS-UY 4504 D, Fall 2021
Prof. Arlene Ducao, arlduc [at] nyu.edu
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-3:50 PM
Jacobs Academic Bldg Rm 773
What does diversity mean in the context of technology? Do we need diversity in technology? Why?
Especially in the midst of movements like Black Lives Matter and MeToo, these questions become important as technology increasingly drives rapid societal and political change. Demographic shifts and new technologies are also increasingly changing the notion of diversity in our local, regional, national, and global societies.
This Advanced Seminar is a writing- and research-intensive course that will explore topics at the intersection of technology and demographic representation. Through research, critical analysis, writing exercises, short field trips, remote conferences, and optional projects with community partners, this course will explore the relationships between many kinds of technology and many kinds of diversity. Students will be required to use course exercises to write a peer-reviewed, 20-page research page in the second half of the semester. Student research papers will examine not only how diversity has and hasn’t impacted technology, but also how technology has and hasn’t impacted intersectional social movements toward diversity, representation, justice, and inclusion.
Prerequisites: EXPOS-1 and one TCS elective course.
This TCS Advanced Seminar is intended to be a capstone of the student’s TCS experience. The resulting research project is a way for students to start contributing valuable work (and possibly IP) to their professional field. Although some sophomores might meet the prereqs, normally it would be taken in the junior or senior year. This seminar could be paired with other engineering project courses, such as VIP.
Recommended preparation: because this course assumes some experience with technical topics, students are recommended (but not required) to have experience in tinkering with digital technology. This includes (but is not limited to) simple software development (e.g. short analysis or visualization scripts, web sites, and apps), hardware prototyping, and/or CAD-based fabrication.
- Discuss various definitions of “technology” in the context of diversity, and various definitions of “diversity” in the context of technology;
- Discuss both diversity and technology in the U.S. and International context;
- Develop techniques to use information outside the public internet;
- Train with critical analysis and information literacy tools that show how to identify and evaluate the technological oppression of marginalized groups in various contexts;
- Examine modes of technological production in a socioeconomic and cultural setting;
- Complete a project analysing technology from the perspective of an arts, humanities, or social science discipline, thus broadening understanding of the ethical, political, social, and aesthetic dimensions of students’ engineering work.
Community partners are organizations and individuals who are interested in your work. They have community-related needs that could be met through your research and creativity. In some cases, they have data that you can analyze for your research paper.
- HAART Kenya (Awareness Against Human Trafficking)
- Management science research
- Survivor (victim) tech research
- Ethical storytelling
- Information security
- Case Management
- Visual art research
- NYU Anti-Racist Make-a-thons
Course Books & Resources
There are no required texts or reading lists for this course, though many relevant books are reserved for this course and listed at the end of this syllabus. Since this is an Advanced Seminar, you will be trained to create your own bibliography of scholarly journal articles.
This is an approximate plan; guests, virtual site visits, assignments, and readings are subject to change.
This is an approximate plan that is subject to change. We will check in the Add/Drop deadline to finalize class policies. Please note that
- Weeks 3-9 will involve the most writing. Plan to write about 600 words/week during this period.
- Written peer review and revision will occur during Weeks 10-14.
- Class structure: new material during Hour 1, brainstorming, workshopping and discussion during Hour 2. Be prepared to speak substantively or write extensively for each class.
- When there’s time and the weather is good, we will take mini-field trips out of the classroom during Hour 2.
- If there’s interest, we may take field trips to Dibner and/or Bobst.
- When the weather starts getting cold, we will have some remote sessions to attend remote conferences.
- No class on October 12 (Legislative Day) and November 26 (Thanksgiving)
- Our last class: December 14.
- Pre Add/Drop: D&T basics.
- Definitions: diversity and technology
- Classroom tech
- Protected Identities, SSIs
- Community partners
- Lit Review 1
- Readings: “Diversity,” “Technology,” Protected identities
- Pre Add/Drop: D&T basics, Research basics
- Intake Form
- Finalize Syllabus
- Lit review 2: “systematic”
- D&T Writing guides
- Types of research
- Sketch your research interest. Choose a Technology, an Identity, and a research type for the semester.
- ID your D&T
- Discuss: your research interests.
- Determine out your semester plan.
- Write a 300-word abstract.
- Assemble a 300-word, 10-source annotated bibliography.
- Hypotheses (dependent and independent variables) and outlines
- Choose your variables and formulate your title.
- 300 words: Write an introduction.
- 300 words: Outline the entire paper and write the first sentences for each section.
- I will provide some basic templates, but you can alternately use published scholarly articles as models to structure your project.
- Information literacy & critical reading
- Discuss MIL: media and information literacy.
- Use MIL to add precision to your research.
- 600 words: use MIL to expand on your hypothesis, outline, and any data analysis.
- Comparative literature analysis
- Discuss: convergence and divergence.
- Discuss: what is a system?
- 600 words: look for opportunities to highlight convergence and divergence.
- Data collection and analysis
- Discuss: Are you analyzing data?
- Discuss: types of analysis
- Start to prepare figures and tables (if applicable).
- 600 words: Consider your source materials as data to continue fleshing out each section.
- Results: Discussing patterns
- Discuss: Maintaining a scholarly approach to data, analysis, inequities, and injustice.
- Discuss: Checking that the evidence supports your assertions.
- 600 words: use findings and pattern discussions to continue fleshing out your article.
- Next steps and conclusions
- Discuss: Foreseeing and addressing criticisms.
- Discuss: Are the criticisms really next steps? Or can you fix them?
- Discuss: What are the big-picture implications of your research?
- 600 words: time to wrap it up! Consider the potential criticisms and larger implications of your project to finish your draft!
- Peer review: reviewing your peers’ work
- Back to D&T basics. Are they being addressed?
- Discuss: Are there any potential harms or unintended consequences from your peer’s research?
- Discuss: Will the work need an IRB or other ethics review?
- I will assign each student a paper to peer-review.
- Unless you have a medical accommodation, you MUST have a full draft by this week.
- Discuss: feedback from your peer.
- Revise your paper.
- Possible remote conference attendance
- If there’s time: training on Microaggegession
- If there’s time: D&T movie fest
- If there’s time: Zone trainings
- Peer review: the next round!
- Back to research basics.
- Discuss: Are the article’s components clear and present? Is the writing scholarly and precise? Does the article prove/disprove its hypothesis?
- Revision: the next round!
- Discuss: feedback from your peer.
- Revise your paper.
- Possible remote conference attendance (see Week 11)
- Beyond the course: conferences, scholarly journals, news publications, and other ways to share your contribution.
- Discussions, presentations, and final revisions.
- With prizes!
For all writing due dates, 2% of the midterm grade will be deducted for every day of incompleteness. I will be commenting and checking for word count, not grading the merits of your argument.
- 80% Research article draft of about 3000 words.
- 1200 words (total) due September 30.
- 2400 words (total) due October 14.
- 3000 words (total) due October 21.
- 20% Class participation.
- Unless you have a medical accommodation, I expect you to speak substantively in every class, even if you can’t physically attend.
- I will start tracking participation after Add/Drop ends on September 15.
- 200-word make-up reflections can count toward sessions in which you don’t participate. Try to use this sparingly since you have much required writing already.
For all writing due dates, 2% of the final grade will be deducted for every day of incompleteness.
- 35% 20-page research article draft, due November 4. (Completion check and comments only.)
- 10% 20-comment Peer Review 1, due November 18.
- 10% 20-comment Peer Review 2, due November 30.
- 35% 20-page research article final draft, due December 18. I will grade the merit of your arguments and responsiveness to peer review.
- 10% Class participation. See above for policies.
Health Notes and Policies for Stressful Times
This year is causing a lot of stress, hardship, and upheaval, and I regret that you have to go through this as a student. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or just need some help.
I also encourage you to start a student group (eg on Discord, Slack, WhatsApp etc.) to help each other with situations like last minute changes, etc. I won’t be part of the group, so you can talk amongst yourselves.
If you start to feel you can’t keep up with your assignments for this class, I urge you to let me know sooner rather than later. This can be hard to do, especially for minority and marginalized people, but it’s important to ahead of the problem so I can work with you and plan accordingly. I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH. “Sooner rather than later” is an important rule of thumb for professional settings!
Covid Safety Protocols
- Seat assignments will be noted during every class.
- Masks are required at all times. Students in violation of this policy will be asked to leave and will be reported to NYU. This will also affect the student’s grade.
- Eating is not permitted.
- Brief sips of beverage are permitted. I suggest you use a straw so you don’t need to completely uncover your mouth in the classroom.
- Windows will be opened when feasible.
- We will go outside when feasible (see Schedule for more details).
Health Considerations: what if you feel unwell?
- DON’T come to class. You can still participate via Zoom (online or phone), where I will audio livestream every class. Since I always post a class agenda and assignments on senseandscale.info, you can follow along there. I will generally not videorecord class.
- Please email me by 1 PM if you plan to miss class that day.
- If you must miss multiple classes in a row due to health issues, please obtain a note from the Health Center (or other healthcare provider) and submit it to me and Tandon social worker Deanna Rayment, email@example.com.
- If you’re not in class and I don’t hear from you that day, I will email Deanna Rayment and copy you. If this happens more than once, I will ask Deanna to contact your advisor.
- If you can’t participate in a given session, please write a 200-word make-up reflection on the session’s materials. This reflection cannot be counted towards your research article.
- I will share a number at which you can text me ONLY in case of emergencies.
Health Considerations: what if I (your professor) feel unwell?
- I will email you by 11 AM that day. Class will likely be conducted remotely.
- If I can’t come to the classroom for more than 2 sessions in a row, I will work with TCS to find a substitute instructor.
Tuesday and Thursday by appointment, preferably before or after class. Ask me or e-mail arlduc [at] nyu.edu to make an appointment. Appointments can be conducted online.
If you find yourself needing additional interpersonal, professional, emotional, and/or other kinds of support in the course of this semester, I strongly encourage you to contact Deanna Rayment at the Office of Student Affairs. Professors are working with Deanna to increase the likelihood of your academic success during this stressful time.
If you are student with a disability who is requesting accommodations, please contact New York University’s Moses Center for Students with Disabilities at 212-998-4980 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You must be registered with CSD to receive accommodations. Information about the Moses Center can be found at www.nyu.edu/csd. The Moses Center is located at 726 Broadway on the 2nd floor.
NYU Compliance + Requirements
For further information on NYU guidelines for compliance, please visit the following sites. I will refer to these if we need to address larger policy issues in the class.
- NYU School Compliance and other Guidelines
- NYU Undergraduate Requirements
- NYU Tandon Student Code of Conduct
- NYU Returns (COVID-related)
🕹🎙📱📲 ☎ 📞 📟 📠🔋 🔌 💻 🖥 🖨 ⌨ 🖱 🖲 💽💾 💿 📀
All work for this class must be your own and specific to this semester. Any work recycled from other classes or from another, non-original source will be rejected with serious implications for the student. Plagiarism, knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own work in any academic exercise, is absolutely unacceptable. Any student who commits plagiarism must re-do the assignment for a grade no higher than a D. In fact, a D is the highest possible course grade for any student who commits plagiarism.
- Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor, by Virginia Eubanks (St Martins Press)
- Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age by Virginia Eubanks (MIT Press)
- Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, Edited by The Keywords Project, Colin MacCabe, and Holly Yanacek (Oxford University Press)
- Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology, by Deirdre Cooper Owens (UGA Press)
- Medical Apartheid, by Harriet A. Washington
- The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist, by Ben Barres (MIT Press)
- Diversity and Design: Understanding Hidden Consequences, Edited by Beth Tauke, Korydon Smith, Charles Davis (Routledge, e-book accessible through NYU library)
- Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, by Safiya Umoja Noble (NYU Press, e-book accessible through NYU library)
- More Work For Mother: The Ironies Of Household Technology From The Open Hearth To The Microwave by Ruth Schwartz Cowan (Basic Books)
- Race, Rigor, and Selectivity in U.S. Engineering: The History of an Occupational Color Line by Amy E. Slaton (Harvard University Press)
- Technology Choices: Why Occupations Differ in Their Embrace of New Technology By Diane E. Bailey and Paul M. Leonardi (MIT Press, e-book accessible through NYU library)
- Dominance by Design: Technological Imperatives and America’s Civilizing Mission by Michael Adas (Harvard University Press, e-book accessible through NYU library)
- Culture, Learning, and Technology: Research and Practice, Edited by Angela D. Benson, Roberto Joseph, Joi L. Moore (Routledge, e-book accessible through NYU library)
- A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet Washington (Little, Brown Spark)
- The Senses: Design Beyond Vision (design book exploring inclusive and multisensory design practices across disciplines) by Ellen Lupton (Cooper Hewitt)
- Design Meets Disability by Graham Pullin (MIT Press)
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Broadway Paperbacks)
- Medical Apartheid: the dark history of medical experimentation on Black Americans from colonial times to the present by Harriet A. Washington (Harlem Moon / Penguin Random House)
- NYU Libraries: Technology Databases, All Databases
Supplemental Books & Resources
- Gender and Diversity in STEM: An Introduction to the Intersection of Gender, Race, and Sexuality within Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math by Deena Murphy, Ashley Simons-Rudolph (Kendall Hunt Publishing)
- Plutopia: Nuclear families, atomic cities, and the great Soviet and American plutonium disasters by Kate Brown (Oxford University Press)
- The Aesthetics of Equity: Notes on Race, Space, Architecture, and Music
- Designing for Diversity: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the Architectural Profession
- Driven by Difference: How Great Companies Fuel Innovation Through Diversity by David Livermore
- The Souls of Yellow Folk: Essays 1st Edition by Wesley Yang
- Woke Gaming: Digital Challenges to Oppression and Social Injustice
- Is Science Racist? (Debating Race)
- The Urban Commons: How Data and Technology Can Rebuild Our Communities
- Diversity and Equity in Science Education: Research, Policy, and Practice (Multicultural Education Series)
- Defined by Design: The Surprising Power of Hidden Gender, Age, and Body Bias in Everyday Products and Places by Kathryn H. Anthony, foreword by Eric Schmidt (Penguin Random House)
- Diversity in the Knowledge Economy and Society: Heterogeneity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Edited by Elias G. Carayannis, Aris Kaloudis and Åge Mariussen (Edward Elgar Publishing)
For additional resources, please check out these suggestions from previous students.