Commons Conversations

Digital Dissent

Commons Conversations
25 Apr, 2017

Digital Dissent

In the last presidential election cycle, and accelerating into the first months of the new Presidency, our society has experienced as never before the unexpected, asymmetrical, and powerful effects of new, digital media on public and political life. On April 25, The Berkeley Center for New Media, in partnership with the School of Information and Graduate School of Journalism, turn to the particular role, and power, of digital tools to express and organize political dissent, and create greater institutional and political transparency. Featuring digital tools from Augmented Reality to webcrawlers, our speakers and respondents will present work that speaks to the role of digital media in political action, advocacy, and public life from the Berkeley Campus to the national stage.


Detroit Resists

Detroit Resists is a coalition of activists, artists, architects, and community members working on behalf of an inclusive, equitable, and democratic city. In 2016, Detroit Resists “occupied” the US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale through a series of augmented reality interventions in response to the exhibition’s idealized focus on “the Architectural Imagination” of Detroit at a time when architecture is being violently re-imagined by austerity politics and many residents are struggling to survive.

Andrew Herscher explores spatial politics and militant research in the context of the We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective, Detroit Resists, and the San Francisco-based Commune Research Commune. Among his publications are Violence Taking Place: The Architecture of the Kosovo Conflict (Stanford University Press, 2010); The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit (University of Michigan Press, 2012); Spatial Violence, co-edited with Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi (Routledge, 2016), and Displacements: Architecture and Refugee (Sternberg Press, forthcoming). He is currently Creative Cities Fellow at the Stanford Arts Institute and Associate Professor at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan.

Sara Dean is a San Francisco-based architect and designer. She specializes in emerging digital practices, and their implications on public engagement, urban interface, and city futures. Sara is the Assistant Chair of Graduate Design and Assistant Professor of Interaction Design at the California College of the Arts. Her collaborative research studio, VUCA, designs collective engagements, technologies, and installations with a commitment to open-access data and crowd-production. Her work has been recently exhibited in Oceania, Europe, and North America.


Veda Hlubinka-Cook is leading a project to build a worldwide infrastructure for investigative journalism with OCCRP, The Columbia School of Journalism and Meedan. She was co-founder and creator of Freebase, a massive fact database acquired by Google in 2010 as the core of the Knowledge Graph now powering much of its infrastructure. Prior to this she developed tools for government intelligence analysts.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development.

Stephanie Lacambra is a long-time indigent criminal defense trial attorney and immigration defense activist who graduated from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 2004. Before coming to EFF, she worked as a Deputy Federal Defender for two years at the Federal Defender’s Office of San Diego trying federal felony cases ranging from illegal entry into the US to drug and alien smuggling. Then she spent the next decade working at the San Francisco Public Defender’s office trying dozens of cases ranging from robbery to attempted murder. She continues to speak truth to power by protecting individual privacy rights from government overreach as part of the Civil Liberties Team at the EFF.

Anti-Milo Yiannopoulos Toolkit Authors

In 2017, Milo Yiannopoulos was invited by the College Republicans to speak at UC Berkeley. A group of students and alumni developed The Official Anti-Milo Toolkit, a digital manual to build campus resistance against the far-right provocateur. For their efforts, many of the authors had their names published on the right-wing news and commentary website Breitbart.

Beezer de Martelly is a white, non-binary, queer student organizer at UC Berkeley, where they're in their sixth year of graduate school in the ethnomusicology program. While at Berkeley, among much else, they've organized: to fight tuition hikes and reinstate free public education; to end lifetime caps on student healthcare access and for the restoration of dependent healthcare; a member-led vote for the UC student workers union UAW 2865 to become the first U.S. labor union to endorse BDS as a tactic to promote Palestine liberation (a vote with unusually high turn out and that passed by a landslide); and to form a collective called the Bathroom Brigade to redesignate more all-gender bathrooms on and off the UC Berkeley campus. Today, they're here to speak alongside other collaborators on The Official Anti-Milo Toolkit about their work to build effective campus resistance not only for deplatforming one racist, misogynist, transphobic troll, but also for dismantling the rise of white supremacy and related forms of oppression both on the far right and within leftist organizing spaces.

Julia Havard is a white queer cis third year PhD student in Performance Studies at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation is on queer burlesque and sexual performance as a form of activism, affirmation, and resistance. She is a head steward for the student workers union UAW 2865, organized with the Bathroom Brigade for all gender bathrooms on campus, co-coordinated the Survivors' Symposium to reimagine survivor-centered spaces on campus and in the community, co-organized the anti-white supremacy working group in Performance Studies, and is one of the co-authors of the Official Anti-Milo Toolkit.

Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda is a PhD candidate in the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation focuses on late 19th century critiques of the nuclear family that emerged out of the confluence of colonial anthropology and transnational literary writing across the empires of Japan and Britain. In her writing and activism she thinks broadly about queer alternatives to institutionalized forms of belonging. She lives between Berkeley, California and Tokyo, Japan.

Juliet Kunkel is a PhD student in the Berkeley Graduate School of Education, studying how logics and structures of schooling reproduce systems of oppression.

With Respondents

Chris Hoofnagle holds dual appointments as adjunct professor in the School of Law and the School of Information. He is the author of Federal Trade Commission Privacy Law and Policy (Cambridge University Press) and an elected member of the American Law Institute. At Berkeley, Hoofnagle has taught computer crime law, internet law, information privacy law, and seminars on the FTC and on education technology. Hoofnagle co-chairs the annual Privacy Law Scholars Conference. He has served on the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure. He is also a member of the San Francisco Electronic Crimes Task Force, Palantir Technology’s Council on Privacy and Civil Liberties, and InfraGard. Licensed to practice in California and Washington, D.C., Hoofnagle is of counsel to Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP.

Nicholas de Monchaux is Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design and Director of the Berkeley Center for New Media. He is the author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo (MIT Press, 2011), an architectural and urban history of the Apollo Spacesuit, winner of the Eugene Emme award from the American Astronautical Society and shortlisted for the Art Book Prize, and Local Code: 3,659 Proposals About Data, Design, and the Nature of Cities (Princeton Architectural Press, 2016). The work of de Monchaux's Oakland-based design practice has been exhibited widely, including at the Biennial of the Americas, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Lisbon Architecture Triennial, SFMOMA, and the Chicago MCA.

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