Cyborg Literacy for the 21st Century

Learn a key framework for analyzing technology and society, and explore its applications to your research and product or service development projects.

Wednesday, May 8, 11:00 am–12:00 pm Pacific Time / 8–9:00 pm CEST
This session is FREE for EPIC Members during Learning & Networking Week

In this session, Laura Forlano and Danya Glabau will teach participants how to apply Critical Cyborg Literacy to ethnographic studies of technology. This approach, described in their new book, Cyborg (MIT Press, 2024), foregrounds how power dynamics and social and cultural factors such as gender, race, nationality, and disability shape how technology is imagined, developed, used, and resisted. Danya and Laura will present examples from current developments in digital tech. Then, participants will work together to develop new approaches to problems or challenges in their own research practice.


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Laura Forlano is Professor in the College of Arts, Media and Design and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at The Burnes Center for Social Change at Northeastern University. She is a also an Affiliated Fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Forlano’s research is focused on the intersection of design and emerging technologies. She has used participatory workshops, collaborative games, exhibitions, speculative videos, prototypes and performances to imagine alternative futures for living with data and computation. Over the past fifteen years, she has studied the materialities and futures of socio-technical systems such as autonomous vehicles and smart cities; 3D printing, local manufacturing and innovation ecosystems; automation, distributed labor practices and the future of work; and, computational fashion, smart textiles and wearable medical technologies. Forlano is a coeditor of three books: “digitalSTS,” “Bauhaus Futures” and “From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen”. She received her Ph.D. in communications from Columbia University.


Professor of Art + Design and Communication Studies, Northeastern University

Danya Glabau is a medical anthropologist and STS scholar researching patient activism, the medical economy, and how human bodies become valuable data. She has been Faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research since 2015. She has also consulted with biotechnology start-ups and conducted research on VR and online harassment with non-profit organizations. She is the author of “Food Allergy Advocacy: Parenting and the Politics of Care” (University of Minnesota Press) and “Cyborg” (MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series). She earned her PhD from the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at Cornell University.

Danya Glabau

Industry Assistant Professor of Technology, Culture and Society, New York University