keynote panelists

Mutale Nkonde
(@mutalenkonde) is a policy analyst, based in New York City, working alongside the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee. In 2018 she was named a Data & Society Bridge Fellow where she is writing a report on racial literacy in tech.
Dr. Allissa Richardson
(@drallirich) Allissa V. Richardson, PhD, is an award-winning journalism instructor and scholar who studies how marginalized communities use mobile and social media to produce innovative forms of journalism — especially in times of crisis.
Apryl Williams
(@AprylW) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Susquehanna University. Her research focuses on race, gender, popular culture, identity, social media, and technology.


Priya Prabhakar
(@priyavprabhakar) Priya Prabhakar is from Chennai, India, and currently works as a tenant organizer in Oakland, California. Her research explores the political economy of biometric surveillance in India, with other focuses on anti-imperialism, labor struggle, film, and the politics of visual theory and design.
Adam Willems
(@functionaladam) Adam Willems studies religion and economy at Union Theological Seminary. They write Divine Innovation, a newsletter on the spiritual world of technology.
Nitin K. Ahuja
(@nitinkahuja) Nitin K. Ahuja is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Pennsylvania. His primary clinical interest is in motility and functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. His secondary research interests are in the history, literature, and culture of medicine.
Rob Arcand
(@robarcand) Rob Arcand is a writer, editor, and web developer based in Brooklyn. His work focuses on the relationship between digital platforms and the arts, and he’s published work with SPIN, Pitchfork, Vice, The Nation, and elsewhere. He recently completed an M.A. in Computational Media, Arts, and Cultures at Duke University.
Whitney Erin Boesel
(@weboesel) Whitney Erin Boesel is an independent researcher and freelance editor whose work focuses primarily on the sociology of health, medicine, and technology. Her writing has appeared in TIME, The New Inquiry, Cyborgology, and Huffington Post; she is also the Production Manager for Theorizing the Web Presents.
Adam Boffa
(@ambinate) Adam Boffa is a writer and researcher from New Jersey. His work has appeared in publications including Longreads, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Earther, and Hyperallergic.
Melanie Bumpas
(@hidden_cities) Mel’s background is in tech policy, qualitative research, and social theory, and she completed a Master of Science degree at the Oxford Internet Institute in 2017. Originally from Mississippi, she spent several years living in China and is currently based in Washington, DC. She is particularly interested in the politics of how sociotechnical systems are designed and deployed.
Elinor Carmi
(@Elinor_Carmi) Elinor Carmi is a feminist, researcher, journalist and digital rights advocate, who has been working on deviant media, internet standards, sound studies, and internet governance. Her 2nd book Media Distortions: Understanding the Power Behind Spam, Noise and Other Deviant Media will be out in early 2020 on Peter Lang.
Heather Fenby
(@_cynar) Heather Fenby has choreographed and performed in dance and experimental theater pieces for 30 years. She has a parallel career as a UX strategy consultant.
Keli L Gabinelli
Keli is an independent scholar, community organizer, and media activist located in Santa Cruz, California. Her work focuses housing and cultural ideals of the home as they intersect with social media and surveillance technologies.
Britney Gil
(@_britneygil) is an audiobook producer, co-host of the podcast Ironweeds, and producer for the Audio Edition of Real Life Magazine. Her writing has appeared in Real Life, Refinery 29, Cyborgology, and The New Inquiry.
Marianne Gunderson
(@mareinna) Marianne Gunderson is a PhD fellow in Digital Culture at the University of Bergen. Her research focuses on how machine vision is represented in speculative fiction and digital native storytelling practices.
Eileen Holowka
(@derangedpoetess) Eileen Mary Holowka is a writer, game dev, and PhD student, currently studying feminist social media practices around chronic pain and ‘invisible’ illnesses. In 2018, she created a digital narrative circuits about the difficult act of narrating sexual trauma within institutional spaces, which can be played for free online.
Sun-ha Hong
(@sunhahong) Sun-ha examines speculations and fantasies surrounding big data and smart machines. His book Technologies of Speculation: The limits of knowledge in a data-driven society (NYU Press, 2020) traces shifting standards of knowledge and certainty in the age of data-driven surveillance. Sun-ha is Assistant Professor of Communication at Simon Fraser University.
Alif Keenan Ibrahim
(@_alifibrahim) Alif Ibrahim is a writer and artist from Indonesia. His work on art, technology and culture has recently appeared on It's Nice That and in Real Life Magazine.
Zachary Kaiser
(@ZacharyKaiser) is Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Experience Architecture at Michigan State University. His current body of research questions the ideologies embedded in the design of technological products and services with which we interact and the impact of these ideologies on human intersubjectivity.
Tanya Lokot
(@tanyalokot) is an Assistant Professor at the School of Communications, Dublin City University. Her research and writing focus on the interplay between digital media and civic actors in the context of augmented protest. She also writes about internet freedom, censorship and internet governance in Ukraine and Russia.
Jessica Maddox
(@DrMadMaddox) Jess Maddox is an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Creative at the University of Alabama. She researches visual social media, internet video culture, and pop culture, and of course, you can find her dogs on Instagram at @TheMaddDogs.
Joseph Meyer
(@Hypothesiss) Joseph Meyer recently earned his PhD from UMD in American Studies. His current work explores online hate and harassment movements and the ways discourse travels across platforms, evolves, and is taken up by different groups and communities.
Leo Shaw
(@warshawshaw) Leo Shaw is a strategist and editorial worker interested in the politics of urbanism. He works at the architecture and design studio Snøhetta and is part of the team at, a member-supported platform for connecting ideas.
Victoria Simon
(@vickiisimon) is a Professorial Lecturer in the School of Communication at American University. Simon examines the history and cultural politics of technological interfaces and software industries, drawing lines between the practices of developers, identity, disability, and democracy. She has a special focus on music and sound, and is currently working on her first book manuscript, titled From Difficulty to Delight: An Archaeology of Musical Screens.
Sonja Solomun
(@SonjaSolomun) Sonja Solomun is the Research Director of the Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy at McGill University and a co-founder of the Coalition for Critical Technology. She is currently completing her PhD in the Department of Communication Studies at McGill. Sonja works on the histories and politics of platforms and the social implications of AI.
Emily Stainkamp
(@raym0ndwilliams) Emily Stainkamp is a PhD candidate in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University. Her work focuses on social media and subjectivity.
Jack Webster
is a graduate of the Web Science Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) at the University of Southampton, UK. He is interested in how platformisation is shaping the production and consumption of cultural goods.
Jenny Zhang
(@phirephoenix) Jenny Zhang is a software developer and writer interested in tech policy, digital rights, the attention economy, media studies, and social justice. When not working as a staff engineer at Mozilla, I read a lot of speculative fiction, drink too much coffee, and doomscroll.

committee members

Jonathan Flowers
(@shengokai) is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Worcester State University. His research focuses on the affective ground of experience and embodiment through American Pragmatism, Phenomenology and East-Asian Philosophy. He also focuses on Pragmatist and cross-cultural approaches to machine intelligence, consciousness, and science and technology studies broadly.
David A. Banks
(@da_banks) David A. Banks is a visiting assistant professor of geography & planning at the University at Albany, SUNY. He regularly contributes to Real Life under his "Building to Code" column where he writes about how we live among cities and each other. He is an editor for Cyborgology and a co-host of the Ironweeds podcast.