Technology in Civic Life

I view technologies more as systems designed and maintained by social actors rather than cold machines executing tasks with absolute precision. A "technological" problem is also a social one in nature. The trolley, the tracks, and the lever are all parts of a system that embodies human intentions and power relations.

I study how the agency of technology is discursively articulated--that is, who is telling what stories about technology to advance what goals. This understanding of tech discourses offers important contexts for my other research projects, as how people talk and think about technologies have material impacts. Proprietary platforms are becoming omnipresent and constitute the technological infrastructure for communication.

I presented about "looking" on Grindr at the Crossroads Conference in 2020. In this project, I collaborated with an artist to develop a VR installation that reconstructed digital cruising.

Examining the role of technology in communication from a queer perspective, I am interested in finding out the capricious ways queerness emerge out of virtual and physical spaces. In one project, I analyzed how self-publishing technologies facilitated the self-presentation of gay porn stars and enabled them to infuse personalities into their professional profiles. An article on this project was published in Porn Studies.

Queerness is also regulated and confronted by technology. In another project, my co-authors and I looked into a controversial study that developed an "AI gaydar." We referenced the Foucauldian theory of biopolitics and exposed how the fetishization and surveillance of queer bodies were "tech-washed" in the name of scientific progress.