Call for 2021-2022 Faculty Fellows: Race and Technology

Deadline for Applications

Apply by December 16, 2020

Crossposted from Data & Society
Data & Society is assembling its eighth class of fellows to join us for 10 months, starting September 1, 2021.

Our fellows program helps ensure that new connections and perspectives deepen and expand our community’s understanding of the challenges and opportunities society faces in a data-centric world. (Please meet our current and past fellows classes here.)

Data & Society fellows have pursued academic research, written code, created art, brought together communities of activists and practice, run workshops and hosted convenings, worked closely with Data & Society’s in-house research team across research initiatives and each other, and much more.

Fellows are researchers concerned with the implications of data-centric technology’s role in reconfiguring society. We are engaged, individually and together, in interrogating and articulating those implications and developing frames that can help society address emergent tensions. As we build the 2021-2022 class, we’re continuing to embrace breadth and diversity in our selection process.

2021-2022 Faculty Fellows Call

The current moment demands new thinking on the role of race in the theory, practice, and study of data-centric technologies. For the 2021-2022 program, Data & Society is seeking two to three Faculty Fellows whose research projects specifically focus on issues of race and technology. Continuing Data & Society’s history of work on fairness, equity, and civil rights, these faculty fellows will bring a justice-oriented perspective and intersectional approach to their interrogations of race and data.

Broadly, their research projects will advance our mission and complement our work by:

We invite applications from faculty of any rank and discipline who are at least two years beyond receipt of their Ph.D. by the start of the fellowship. Fields can include, but are not limited to: the humanistic social sciences, African American studies, ethnic studies, Indigenous studies, Asian American studies, gender studies, Latinx studies, computer science, information and library sciences, data science, law, journalism, and media studies.

Successful applicants should have a track record of engaging in research at the intersection of technology and race, and should be committed to working in highly interdisciplinary environments. Appreciation for different methodological approaches and ways of knowing are valued at Data & Society.

While at Data & Society, Faculty Fellows will conduct original research, publish findings in both scholarly and public-facing venues, and engage with broader constituencies across numerous disciplines and perspectives. Faculty Fellows are expected to be active members of the Data & Society community – participating in seminars, research exchange, and events; supporting and mentoring peers in research development; and helping translate scholarly knowledge for a wide range of stakeholders.

Projects and Themes

Data & Society prioritizes ambitious empirical and creative research projects that address complex socio-technical questions. We are looking for Faculty Fellows who have strong analytic, methodological, and theoretical foundations who are passionate about working alongside and with empirical researchers. Faculty Fellows may be looking to advance technical work, design policy interventions, bring historical insights into current conversations, or do new fieldwork.

Potential Faculty Fellows are invited to imagine a specific project or set of activities that they will execute to help society’s understanding of a world increasingly made of and by data. Successful fellowship projects inform, convene, intervene, or provoke – with an eye to broader impact.

We are open to a wide range of potential outputs, from scholarly articles to op-eds, events to code. We are also particularly interested in creating connections and exchange between our in-house research and Faculty Fellows’ projects. Furthermore, we love it when our fellows experiment with new ideas or stretch our work and network in unexpected directions.

Potential questions that the Race & Technology Fellows might address are:

  • What would a safe internet look like for vulnerable populations? What would it mean for marginalized communities to feel and experience real trust and safety on social media platforms?
  • How does algorithmic discrimination emerge within sociotechnnical systems?
  • How does race become a salient category in data-driven systems? How is power reinforced through data infrastructures? And how do racism and discrimination become outcomes?
  • How do health surveillance technologies impact Black, Latinx, and Indigenous populations in the United States and transnationally?
  • How might approaches to restorative justice in other discourses and contexts inform how platforms develop mechanisms for the redress of harms?
  • How do the assumptions, intentions, and ideologies of designers of online platforms contribute to the emergence of platform vulnerabilities and inequalities of access?
  • What can we learn from successful, alternative approaches to the use, storage, and circulation of data—specifically those led by vulnerable populations—to cultivating trust and safety online for Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities?
  • How can we build equity around collection, sharing, use, and privacy of health and worker data through policy and product design?
  • What might Black, Latinx, and Indigenous digital practices teach us about how systems are repurposed for pleasure, community, and activism?

We invite applications for projects that intersect, develop, or complement these topics.

Participation and Cohort

This is not a fellowship for those who want to spend a year head-down on an independent project. Rather, this is a program for people who are looking for ways to create impact both within and beyond their field as well as collaborate with researchers and practitioners. Successful candidates will see the value of their work within an interdisciplinary community and recognize the opportunities for growth from working in a dynamic environment. Faculty Fellow candidates should enjoy working on collaborative teams, mentoring junior researchers, and engaging broad audiences with research.

Fellows commit to being an active participant with Data & Society for at least two days each week, although many Faculty Fellows benefit from deeper engagement. Each fellow, over the course of their fellowship, will pursue a project or set of activities of their own design.

Fellows are also asked to engage with Data & Society—both at the organizational level and with the broader community. This engagement can take a number of different forms, from organizing seminars with visitors, to developing workshops, to working on in-house publications, and much, much more. We ask that all fellows either participate in or lead a monthly reading group, as well write a publication or report for Data & Society as well as participate in a lightweight round of regular Data & Society activities designed to strengthen community and research connections. Beyond that, the choice of where and how to participate is part of the fellowship design process between the fellow and Data & Society staff.

Beyond the in-house cohort, Data & Society fellows are also connected to past fellows, our affiliates, and a broad field of actors both in New York City and beyond engage with Data & Society for workshops, seminars, social gatherings, and talks.

Term

Residency typically runs from September 1 through June 30 of the following year. If you would like to apply for a fellowship but cannot commit to a full term, please flag that in your application, as we are open to considering and accommodating some variations on terms.

Funding

Fellows are offered a stipend of $25,000 with additional, approved project costs up to $5,000 available to them. If we are able to accommodate a fellowship period shorter than ten months, the stipend will be prorated on a monthly basis.

All fellows will have access to email addresses and other virtual communication tools and programmatic and organizational support to advance their work.

As a 501(c)(3) organization, we support fellows in applying for both federal and philanthropic grants and we work with fellows currently holding grants to craft an appropriate fellowship that allows them to honor commitments to grantors.

While we welcome applications from outside the United States, we are currently unable to support the acquisition of visas. If you are applying from outside the United States and are accepted, you will need to secure your own visa and, depending on your situation, work permit, should you decide to reside in New York City for the term of your fellowship.

 

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