TRIADS Speaker Series: Black Feminist Technoculture, Content Creation, and Automating Black Joy

Speaker: Catherine Knight Steele

In Digital Black Feminism (NYU Press 2021), Catherine Knight Steele details the possibilities of a Black feminist technoculture. Using the virtual beauty shop as a metaphor, she walks readers through the technical skill, communicative expertise, and entrepreneurial acumen of Black women’s labor—born of survival strategies and economic necessity—both on and offline. Indeed, Black women are at the forefront of some of this century’s most important discussions about technology: trolling, online harassment, algorithmic bias, and influencer culture. Within this context, it becomes imperative that we look to the Black feminist praxis of snatching joy online. In this talk, Steele considers our current social media landscape, the move from ‘users’ to content creators, and from online activism to the creation of activist brands and content. What does digital Black feminism have to offer to our conversations about online economies, artificial intelligence, and digital futures? Further, what place is there for ideas like Black Joy in an increasingly automated digital reality?

The TRIADS Speaker Series is co-sponsored by the Digital Intelligence & Innovation Accelerator.

Catherine Knight Steele's talk is co-sponsored by the Center for Empirical Research in the Law.


Catherine Knight Steele is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Maryland - College Park where she directs the Black Communication and Technology lab (BCaT) as a part of the Digital Inquiry, Speculation, Collaboration, & Optimism (DISCO) Network funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

Her research focuses on race, gender, and media, with a specific emphasis on Black culture and discourse and digital communication. She examines representations of marginalized communities in the media and how groups resist oppression and practice joy using online technology to create spaces of community.