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Digitizing Dispossession: A Participatory Workshop

Date and Time: 
Thursday, May 10, 2018. 03:30 PM - 05:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Humanities Center Boardroom
Worlds of Work and the Work of Networks
Meeting Description: 

Fusing theoretical explorations of debt, reciprocity, and dispossession with hands-on design, this seminar flips the typical lecture format. Before the workshop, participants will read selections from Stout’s forthcoming book, Dispossessed: How Predatory Bureaucracy Foreclosed on the American Middle Class (UC Press), and review two models of successful online digital storytelling projects. During the workshop, participants will brainstorm to lay the analytical foundation for an online, interactive digital storytelling project that traces the enduring aftermath of the 2008 foreclosure crisis in California. How can we visualize the magnitude of the more than 14 million U.S. homeowners who have lost their homes to foreclosure since the 2008 mortgage crash? How best to represent the stories of families on the brink of eviction and the byzantine call centers of corporate lenders processing their appeals? How do histories of racial, class, and gender discrimination become layered onto these stories? What techniques show how corporate lenders executed mass bank seizures through seemingly benign administrative mishaps—lost paperwork, campaigns of misinformation, and hours spent on hold? Discussion will include imagining audience, theory-to-practice, and scale and depth. Participants new to design and digital media are especially welcome, and all attendees will benefit from openness to experimentation.

Noelle Stout is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Graduate Program in Culture and Media at New York University. During 2018, Stout is in residence at Stanford as a visiting scholar in the Department of Anthropology and a research affiliate at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Stout’s research on the U.S. foreclosure crisis has appeared in scholarly journals including Cultural Anthropology and American Ethnologist, and her work has won support from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy among others. Stout’s book on the topic, Dispossessed: How Predatory Bureaucracy Foreclosed on the American Middle Class, is forthcoming with UC Press. Her earlier research focused on the intimacies of economic crisis in contemporary Cuba. Based on this work, Stout has authored the award-winning book After Love: Queer Intimacies and Erotic Economies in Post-Soviet Cuba (Duke University Press, 2014), and the prize-winning feature-length documentary film Luchando (2008).