Laura Y. Liu is Associate Professor of Urban Studies at Eugene Lang College, The New School. Her research focuses on community organizing; urban social justice; immigrant communities; race, gender, and labor politics; and the relationship between methodology and epistemology in activism. She has written on the connection between geography and industry in the art exhibit Anne Wilson: Wind/Rewind/Weave (2011); the influence of digital technologies on urban space in Situated Technologies Pamphlets 7: From Mobile Playgrounds to Sweatshop City (2010, with Trebor Scholz); and the impact of September 11 on Chinatown (Indefensible Space, 2007, Ed. Michael Sorkin). Her articles have appeared in Urban Geography; Gender, Place, and Culture; and Social and Cultural Geography. Liu is writing a book, Sweatshop City, which looks at the continuing relevance of the sweatshop in Chinatown, New York City, and other post-Fordist, globalized contexts.
Research and Practice on Feminist / Feminized Digital Labor
Bringing together scholars from locations across The New School, this session will address feminist and feminized digital labor from the perspective of both research and practice. The notion of “digital labor” we explore is deliberately broad, and includes refusing the digital as well as accommodating it. Participants will discuss a range of topics including: ethics and reciprocity in ethnographies of digital work; the race and gender politics of online courses; feminist pedagogical publics; value and labor in the digital archive; documentation as digital labor; migrants resisting digital technology; the affective labor of legitimizing subcultural work; the sacrificial labor of being studied; digital labor as reproductive labor; digital technology as state surveillance; digital labor in urban space; the digital turn in public school applications; digital labor within the fashion industry from technical designers to fashion photographers; and more. Throughout, we use “feminist” and “feminized” to signal diverse communities of feminist, transgender, queer, subcultural, ethnicized, racialized, under-resourced, minoritized, disenfranchised, unauthorized and otherwise subordinated subjects. Our questions engage directly with a range of cognate subaltern theories, methodologies, practices, and pedagogies.
Our proposed format is one of experimental dialogue, drawn loosely from the Long Table format created by performance artist Lois Weaver. Blending collaboration, presentation, workshop, and performance, and conceived of as a reappropriation of the dinner table, the arrangement creates a forum around the “etiquette” of openness, dialogue, and permeability. Our Long Table plays off the notion of feminized, un- or under-waged reproductive labor invoked by a meal. It addresses the collaborative—if uneven, shifting, or exploitative—labor involved in producing inquiry and knowledge. Because seats “at the table” can rotate, it is ideal for structuring a large group such as ours, as well as for switching roles of presenter/performer and audience. Participants will frame questions, offer comments, and possibly entertain silence.